Positive attempts to improve communication for the disadvantaged


India’s First Sign Language ISL Dictionary

Speech and hearing impaired have difficulty in communicating to the people. They use hands and other gestures. Their communication through ‘ sign language’ is a common way of expression of ideas. In an effort to remove communication bottlenecks, the country’s first of its kind sign language Dictionary with around 3,000 Hindi and English words has been released all over the country. (Www.dnaindia.com , published March23,2018). The Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary has been developed by Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre(ISLRTC). The Dictionary is available i both print and video formats. This will help about 50 lakh deaf people and about 20 lakh people with speech disabilities. It includes legal, medical, academic and technical terms ( thehindu.com, published March 23, 2018). It also has graphic representations and subtitled videos of various signs.


This dictionary can be read by normal people also so that they can effectively develop rapport with hearing and speech impaired and thereby, reduce their loneliness. If many words are added, they can express all their feelings and ordinary people can respond to their queries without communication gap. If the visually impaired learn the sign language and the meanings ascribed to each sign, they can also communicate to some extent. This effort of standardising words will make the disabled communicate easily in any part of the country.

Gondi Dictionary

The tribal people of central India who are almost a crore, speak ‘ Gondi ‘ language which has very little literature of its own. The ministry of culture has extended support to develop ‘ standard Dictionary of Gondi language by IGNCA and CGNet Swara , the Indian based voice portals which allow report of local news.( in.news.yahoo.com). It consists of about 3,500 words. For almost four years, 80 to 100 people worked on the project. ( yourstory.com, posted 26, March 2018). Since the words and meanings differed extensively from one part of the region to other, many discussions were needed to standardize words and their meanings.


The project will help Gond Adivasis to know each other well and remove difficulties in knowing meanings of each other’s words by learning the words and their meanings. “This is a project for the Gond Advasis by the Gond Adivasis, thus making it one of the most unique public participation projects “, said K. M. Metry, a professor from Department of Tribal studies, Kannada University, Hampi, who hails from the same community.( livemint.com, published March26 ,2018). Sher singh Achala, though old at 78, has been working on the project despite illness.

Laudable efforts

Compiling dictionaries is a commendable effort irrespective of the involvement of organisations because the project serves in connecting people who have been isolated and faced difficulties. Such efforts will go a long way in bringing hearing and speech impaired persons and tribals to the mainstream. These dictionaries must be used by normal people too to get acquainted with the languages. This will help interaction between people possible. The normal people will have more chances of knowing the sufferings of disabled and tribal people very clearly and exactly .

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere


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