A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

Why there is no universal sign language, and how the embrace of non-verbal communication is a welcome sign of the times

Sign languages are different around the world, and even exhibit regional variants, but they are increasingly being accepted as official means of communication

A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
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Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim has worked in Singapore, Britain, Amsterdam and Sri Lanka, and until June 2018 was Associate Professor and Head of the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where she still holds an Honorary position. She now is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney. She is co-editor of the journal Language Ecology, founder of the website linguisticminorities.hk, and co-author of Languages in Contact (Cambridge University Press, 2016).