ELEMENTS OF SIGN LANGUAGE LEARNT IN AN INFORMAL SETTING: THE EVOLUTION OF AN INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE DIALECT - Anuj Gupta Introduction • Learning of Sign Language in an informal setting rather than study of non standard elements. • Basic approach is similar to observing Colloquialism in any Language. • The distinct elements should better be characterized as ‘colloquial’ rather than ‘non standard’. Motivation • Nicaraguan Sign language development. For the first time the evolution of a new Language was observed. • Researchers got interested only after about 25 years of actual evolution. • I tried to investigate the very grass root level elements that initiate development of a new word or phrase in sign language. Elements of Dataset • • • • • Alphabets Words: nouns, verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs Phrases: nouns with adjectives and adverbs. Sentences: tenses Event telling and paragraphs: description of small incidents • Story telling: understanding a story, reconstruction • Drawing Inference from other sign language. Observation • As proposed by Noam Chomsky that all languages are governed by a ‘universal grammar’. The Sign Language (both standard and non standard) follow it. • Sentiments such as suspicion though difficult to express to them but were identifiable. • The elements that were different were (according to the data that I could evaluate) due to alien nature of the element rather than their vocabulary. All such elements were related to the nearest similarity in their knowledge. Side observations • Highly developed observation skills. • Understanding and inference drawing skills were highly developed. • Better understanding by combination of picture and keywords rather than using only sentences. • Street smartness and practical outlook. Limitation • Subjects were exposed to verbal training. • Very low education level. Experienced kids were trained and the less experienced ones were not able to express themselves to us. • Tests were performed in very much formal settings rather than in natural environment.