Gender different sign languages...Irish Sign Language in S ignWritin g

Angus B. Grieve-Smith grvsmth at UNM.EDU
Mon Feb 16 04:51:13 UTC 2004

On Sun, 15 Feb 2004, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> I am no expert on the history of Irish Sign Language, but I remember
> learning about the fact that they had residential schools for the deaf,
> in Ireland, and that some of those schools were segregated by religion
> (Catholic or Protestant) and gender (boys and girls schools). So it
> makes sense, that the different schools taught different dialects of
> signing...creating quite an interest from the linguistic community!

        My understanding is that there's an even more extreme situation
in the origins of LSQ (Quebec Sign Language).  Apparently the monks who
ran the boys' school had studied ASL, but the nuns who ran the girls'
school had studied LSF, so the Deaf men and women grew up with different
(though related) languages, and that LSQ emerged as a creole from their
contact.  Unfortunately, I don't have a source for this story...

                                        -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
                                        Linguistics Department
                                        University of New Mexico
                                        grvsmth at
                                        grvsmth at

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