Türk İşaret Dili (Turkish Sign language)

Turkish Sign Language (TİD) dates back to the Ottoman period. Between the 16th and 18th centuries there was apparently a large group of deaf people in the Ottoman palace who helped officials in secret gatherings and carried out various other official and diplomatic tasks.

The first school for the deaf in Turkey, the Yildiz Deaf School in Istanbul, was set up in 1902. A second deaf school was later opened in Izmir. These schools taught both sign language and Turkish.

In 1953 the Turkish Ministry of Education banned the teaching of sign language in deaf schools in order to promote oral education, a policy promoted by a German academic, who believed that teaching sign language would slow down the learning of spoken language. Since then deaf children in Turkey have learnt sign language from their peers. As a result, there is considerable variation in individual signs and grammar throughout Turkey.

According to an article on Today’s Zaman, there are plans to unify sign language in Turkey. The Prime Ministry Administration on Disabled People and the Turkish Language Institute, Turkish Scientific and Technical Council (TÜBİTAK) are going to undertake a two-year research project to set up a unified national Turkish Sign Language System which will be taught in deaf schools.

You can see an example of Turkish Sign Language in action here

12 thoughts on “Türk İşaret Dili (Turkish Sign language)

  1. well i watched the movie but it doesn’t tell much! ……… from my side after looking at some signs in BSL and ASL …. I would say ASL is unqiue and better to be learned. It is somehow designed for practicality as I can see. I learnt some but I didn’t go deep in it!
    German sign language as far as i remember is almost like the american one but with some additional signs for the extra letters in the alphabet!

  2. I’ve found a few resources that may be of interest to Simon and other reviewing this entry:

    Sign Language Alphabets from around the World:
    (Interestingly, this is maintained by a deaf-blind individual who cannot make use of the excellent resources he has collected.)

    Arabic Manual Alphabet
    (Click on “Arabic-alpha” for the alphabet; “Arab-numbers” for the numbers.)

    — Joe / Atlanta / USA

  3. >> BG there are techniques to do that …….. maybe you need to see Sue Thomas FBeye 🙂

  4. BG–It depends. Not everybody wishes to do so, but for those who do, some may use residual hearing they have. Even if one is completely deaf, it’s still possible to learn. But just like any other physical skill, people vary in both their inclination and their ability, so it really is up to the individual.

  5. I kinda get it now know, but it still seems like it would pretty difficult for a completely deaf person to learn the spoken language.

  6. it is …… but once they are expert in it ……. believe u wouldn’t want to say anything with anydeaf person around u ………. they are usually experts in lips reading 🙂

  7. BG: It is difficult, and they might never be able to speak well since they can’t hear what they say nor how others say things. Here in the UK (and I presume it’s similar in other parts of the world), the average deaf person has a reading ability in English that’s only equivalent to an average 8 year old child. I really feel for the people who are brought up as monolingual English speakers because as a baby we pick up the language with speaking and listening — something a deaf individual cannot easily do — so they miss a crucial part of picking up their first language. I wonder if people who are brought up using BSL and English at the same time have higher reading ages for English…

  8. I’m profoundly Deaf and am fluent in English and British Sign Language.

    I learned to speak through speech therapy my entire school life and now I’m able to speak very well (although there are certain sounds that I can never pronounce properly since I didn’t acquire them at a young age).

    I was taught to speak using visual cards with pictures of the mouth cavity so I could see where the tongue should be in order to pronounce a sound and then place my hand on my throat and my speech therapist’s throat to compare.

    Many Deaf people don’t speak simply because they don’t know how to produce the right sounds (usually those who have no concept of sounds).

    In the UK, many Deaf people’s English is very poor because the government didn’t recognise BSL as a language in its own right. As a result, they weren’t taught English in BSL. They were taught English… in English as if it was assumed their native language.

  9. On Turkish SL. Some historical evidence for Sign Language at the Ottoman court, and probably also among one or more groups of deaf people in Istanbul city, continues from the 1520s through to the end of the Ottoman era in the 1920s, and there is little reason to think that the modern Turk Isaret Dili (Turkish Sign Language) is not the same sign language use in the Ottoman era, though of course with some continued development.

    The idea has got around that it all stopped in 1700, perhaps because I published a paper in 2000 which referred to the period 1500-1700. In fact, I stopped at 1700 for two reasons: (i) the paper was already way over the word limit for the journal concerned (Disability & Society, vol. 15: pp. 115-134); (ii) by 1700, a lot of travellers were obviously plagiarising earlier accounts, and were adding little or no new information. It is very likely that the use of deaf servants at court reduced steadily through the 18th century, but they were certainly still there in the 1820s, and the numbers rose again towards the end of the 19th century.

    If you would like to see a paper showing the evidence (containing quotes in English, French, German, Italian, and Latin), email me. I hope to post most of the evidence on the web later this year, subject to pressure of other work. (‘Most’, not ‘all’, because there are often some aspects of historical texts that can be framed in language that could now seem quite offensive and provocative in modern Turkey. There are also some items that are perhaps plausible, but really need corroboration before giving them public exposure.)

    best, miles

  10. My name is Judy Barfell and I am the author of “Learn and Sign Funtime” Books. The books are creative sign language books for the hearing and hearing impaired children. These are finger spelling exercises in the books starting out with the ABC’s and numbers. At this point the books have been published in English, Spanish, Creole, Lakota, Australian Sign Language and the British Sign Language. I am working on one being published in German at this time. It has been brought to my attention that possibly you might be interested in purchasing these books and implementing them into your curriculum. If you feel that you might be interested in purchasing this type of book for your school, I can give you a substantial discount. My web site is http://www.learnandsignfuntime.com if you would care to look the books over and you can “Search Inside” the book at Amazon.com Feel free to contact me at any of the below. Thank you for your time.

    Judy Barfell
    email: learnandsign@aol.com
    phone 574-867-4443
    fax 574-966-2060
    url http://www.learnandsignfuntime.com

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