Leena Savolainen, Finnish Association of the Deaf Sign language

Leena Savolainen, Finnish Association of the Deaf
Sign language teaching in families & sign language research
In today's Finland Suvi, the online dictionary of Finnish Sign Language (FinSL), is
expected to fulfill needs that may even contradict each other. Part of the users
wish to get a thorough description of the lexicon of FinSL and Finland-Swedish
Sign Language (FinSSL) and also diverse examples of language usage. Another
part of the users, however, would like to see the signer sign and speak
simultaneously and would like the dictionary entries be simpler, following a "one
word – one sign principle". These differing expectations quite obviously reflect
the present situation where most of the deaf children have a cochlear implant
and many of them are using signed Finnish or Swedish or supporting signs
instead of FinSL or FinSSL, and some of them use no sign communication at all.
At the same time sign language in Finland is developing and strengthening in
those areas of life where Deaf are actively using their language. Their and e.g.
interpreter's need and interest in getting linguistic descriptions on our sign
languages is constantly growing.
The idea of the workshop is to offer an opportunity for a discussion between
three parties: dictionary makers, teachers of sign language, signed speech and
signs, and families in which sign language or some form of sign communication is