Adamorobe Sign Language
|Adamorobe Sign Language|
|Region||eastern Ghana, Adamorobe village|
|30 deaf (2003)
About 1,370 hearing villagers (2003) sign to varying degrees
Village sign language, West African gestural area
The Adamorobe community is notable for its unusually high incidence of hereditary deafness (genetic recessive autosome). Currently (2012) about 1.1% of the total population is deaf, but the percentage was as high as 11% in 1961 before the local chief instituted a policy prohibiting deaf people to marry other deaf. Deaf people are fully incorporated into the community.
Under these circumstances, AdaSL has developed an indigenous sign language, fully independent from the country's standard Ghanaian Sign Language (which is related to American Sign Language). AdaSL shares signs and prosodic features with some other sign languages in the region, such as Bura Sign Language, but it has been suggested these similarities are due to culturally shared gestures rather than a genetic relationship. AdaSL has features that set it apart from the sign languages of large deaf communities studied so far, including the absence of the type of classifier construction that expresses motion or location (sometimes called "entity classifiers"). Instead, AdaSL uses several types of serial verb constructions also found in the surrounding spoken language, Akan. Frishberg suggests that AdaSL may be related to the "gestural trade jargon used in the markets throughout West Africa". Thus AdaSL provides an interesting domain for research on cross-linguistic sign languages.
For over a decade, the deaf children of the village have attended a boarding school in Mampong-Akuapem, where the ASL based Ghanaian Sign Language is used. As a consequence, this language has become the first language of these children and their command of AdaSL is decreasing. This is likely to lead to a complete shift of the deaf community in Adamorobe to Ghanaian Sign Language. As such, AdaSL is an endangered sign language.
- Nyst, Victoria (2007) 'A descriptive analysis of Adamorobe Sign Language' Utrecht: LOT, PhD thesis University of Amsterdam
- Nyst, Victoria (2003). "The phonology of name signs: a comparison between the sign languages of Uganda, Mali, Adamorobe and The Netherlands". In Baker et al. Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Hamburg: Signum.
- Nyst, Victoria (2004). "Verbs of motion in Adamorobe Sign Language". Colloquium on African Languages & Linguistics 34, Leiden, August 2004; Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 8, University of Barcelona, 1 October 2004.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Adamorobe Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Kusters, Annelies (2012). ""The Gong Gong Was Beaten"—Adamorobe: A "Deaf Village" in Ghana and its Marriage Prohibition for Deaf Partners". Sustainability 4 (12): 2765–2784. doi:10.3390/su4102765.
- Nancy Frishberg (1987). Ghanaian Sign Language. In: Cleve, J. Van (ed.) Gallaudet encyclopaedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw-Gill Book Company.
- Adamorobe – annotated picture gallery, several pages by Elena Rue.
- Summary of linguistic thesis Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) on Youtube, by Victoria Nyst