In my last blog I recorded my observations from regular visits to the Deaf Cultural Centre (for their excellent lunches). While some of the deaf people there were clearly using full BSL (British Sign Language) – quietly and undemonstratively communicating with their hands, others (including the friendly people who tried to teach some signs to my friend and me) were clearly using something quite different. These signs were not arbitrary but clearly related to the gestures and imitative movements that hearing people would use.
Alf Stewart, who fulfils various roles at the Centre, explained to me that this language is Sign Supported English, quite different from BSL but a lot easier to learn for limited everyday uses than BSL. It all goes to show how ingenious people are at overcoming handicaps to communication.