World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Penang Sign Language

Article Id: WHEBN0001072253
Reproduction Date:

Title: Penang Sign Language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Malaysian Sign Language, Sign language, Deaf-community sign language, Village sign language, Polish manual alphabet
Collection: Endangered Language Isolates, Languages of Malaysia, Sign Language Isolates
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Penang Sign Language

Penang Sign Language
Bahasa Isyarat Pinang
Native to Malaysia
Region originally, but not limited to, Penang
Native speakers
1,000 older signers  (no date)[1]
most bilingual in Malaysian Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3 psg
Glottolog pena1248[2]

Penang Sign Language was developed in Malaysia by deaf children, outside the classroom, when oralism was predominant. It is now mainly used by older people, although many younger people can understand it.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Penang Sign Language began when the first school for the deaf, Federation School for the Deaf (FSD), was established by Lady Templer, the wife of the British High Commissioner in Malaya, in 1954. Deaf students went to FSD, to learn oral skills, not sign language. However, the students would sign by themselves in the dormitory of FSD every night.

In the 1960s, Tan Yap went to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. to learn deaf culture and sign language. He brought an ASL book back with him to Malaysia. But Tan Yap's suggestions were rejected by the Government.

An American, Professor Frances Parsons, travelled around the world in 1976 in order to introduce Total Communication and Sign Language to poor schools for the deaf, in order to better prepare them for education. In the same year, Frances Parsons went to Kuala Lumpur to meet with Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the Minister of Education. After a 45-minute discussion, Dr Mahathir agreed with Parsons's suggestions and theory. In the next few days, Dr. Mahathir announced new legislation that obliged schools in Malaysia to teach Total Communication and Sign Language. Manchester-trained teachers were unhappy with the new law and protested Mohamad's decision. As a result, BIM (Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia) or MSL (Malaysian Sign Language) became similar to American Sign Language after 1976.

See also


  1. ^ Penang Sign Language at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Penang Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 

External links

  • TODAY article
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.