The Mauritian Sign Language

A history of the sign language used in Mauritius.

Sign language is the natural language of the Deaf community. Every country has its own sign language, based on its culture and tradition. The UN supports the Linguistic Human rights for the Deaf which include their right to the sign language of their country.

The project on the Development of Mauritian Sign Language (MSL) started in August 2002 through the NCRD and the Ministry of Social Security. Mr Alain Gebert, Teacher for the Deaf at the INJS, Paris and Dr Dany Adone, professor of Linguistics at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, are the principal investigators of the project.

A preliminary evaluation of the existing signs was carried out by Mr Gebert. Development and validation of the signs have taken place through several Missions of the experts.

The Ministry of Social security set up a Steering committee to monitor the project progress and its implementation. This committee is chaired by Prof Vinesh Hookoomsing, Pro VC, University of Mauritius.

Launching of the first volume of the MSL dictionary took place on the 25 th August 2005. The dictionary will be available on the market in January 2006.

On 12 March 2005, the National Anthem was officially launched and broadcast on national TV. Introduction of sign language at school level has started and the MBC has started a short program to teach MSL to the public at large (sept 2005).



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