A new sign language dictionary has been published in Zimbabwe. It has been welcomed by deaf people, as previous sign language dictionaries were often compiled by people who were not deaf, who included signs and gestures that no-one actually used in real life.
Zimbabwe has a number of signing dialects so, for instance, the same sign means 'shoe' in Harare, and 'pig' in Bulawayo. The dictionary is designed to end this confusion. Other signs have originally come from other countries' sign languages, and they do not necessarily apply to the Zimbabwean situation. The sign for 'girl', for instance, is a gesture of pulling a long lock of hair, but long hair is rare on Zimbabwean women -- that sign has come from the US.
The dictionary has proved popular, and now Lesotho, Mozambique and Botswana are all preparing similar dictionaries.
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