Glossary (Version 8.4)

The relationship between a sign and the thing it represents, such as the sign for BABY looking like a person rocking a baby in their arms.

Fully-transparent sign - A sign with a visual-relationship so clear that non-signers could guess the meaning, such as the sign for DRINK, where the handshape looks like a person holding a cup and drinking.

Translucent sign - A sign with some relationship between form and meaning but not obvious to a non-signer, such as the sign for FLOWER.

Arbitrary sign - A sign that has no relationship to the referent, such as the sign for THING.

A person’s conception and expression of individuality or group affiliation, self-concept and self-representation. Identity is closely connected to both culture and language. Thinking and talking about the self is influenced by the cultural frames offered by different languages and cultural systems. Identity is not fixed. Language learners’ experiences with different linguistic and cultural systems introduces them to alternative ways of considering the nature and the possibilities associated with identity and community affiliation.

A subset of verbs which can have their start or end location modified or be moved around in space to show who, what or where is involved in the verb.

directional indicating verbs can be moved meaningfully in space

locatable indicating verbs cannot change direction but can be meaningfully signed in a non-neutral location.

An ability to understand and to engage in relationship between language, culture and people from diverse backgrounds and experience. This involves understanding the dynamic and interdependent nature of both language and culture, that communicating and interacting in different languages involves interacting with values, beliefs and experiences as well as with signs, words and grammars. An intercultural capability involves being open to different perspectives, being flexible and curious, responsive and reflective; being able to de-centre, to look objectively at one’s own cultural ways of thinking and behaving, and at how these affect attitudes to others, shade assumptions and shape behaviours. Characteristics of an intercultural capability include cognitive and communicative flexibility and an orientation and ability to act in ways that are inclusive and ethical in relation to diversity and difference.

An orientation to language teaching and learning that informs current curriculum design; framed by the understanding that language and culture are dynamic, interconnected systems of meaning-making; that proficiency in an additional language involves cultural and intercultural as well as linguistic capabilities. The focus is on developing communicative proficiency and on moving between language–culture systems. It includes the reflexive and reciprocal dimension of attention to learners’ own language(s) and cultural frame(s).

A class of word or sign that occur on their own and express an emotion such as wow or surprise.

A pidgin form of communication used, for example, by deaf people at international gatherings when there is no shared sign language known by all participants. An organised system of signs, gestures and non-manual signals that consist of some conventional lexical items and a number of borrowed elements from several signed languages, including highly visually motivated forms of signs and gestures. International Sign is endorsed by the World Federation of the Deaf.

In the context of school based language learning, interpret refers to two distinct processes:

  • the act of translation from one language to another
  • the process of understanding and explaining; the ability to conceive significance and construct meaning, and to explain to self or others.

Irish Sign Language.