Campus News

College of Education lecturer discusses evolution of sign language

Brian Leffler

Brian Leffler, a lecturer of sign language in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s communication sciences and special education department, was recently quoted in the Gainesville Times in an article about the evolution of sign language.

Just like spoken word, sign language has had to contend with the emergence of technology. From mobile phones to social media, signs have had to be created for the members of the hearing disabled community to stay current.

“Just like with any language, sign language can change over time,” Leffler shared through a video relay service interpreter. “It’s not static; it’s not archaic. It’s very dynamic like any other language, and it can change.”

The article also discusses how the language can be regional, saying that people can sometimes tell where others are from based on the way that they sign. A local example of this is the sign for “Go Dawgs.”

“It’s where the index and the pinky are the only fingers sticking up and the thumb is over the two middle fingers,” Leffler said. “So, the two outside fingers look like the ears of the dog. It’s particular to this location. We know that means, ‘Go Dawgs.’ It’s tied to this school and not everyone knows that particular sign. So, there are definitely dialects that are used in different communities.”