Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language

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A language of Trinidad and Tobago

Alternate Names
TSL, TTSL, Trinidad Sign Language, Trinidadian Sign Language
Population

2,000 (2008 E. Parks).

Location

Scattered.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

younger TTSL (ASL, TTASL), older TTSL. The name Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language (TTSL) refers to a continuum ranging from an older variety that is now gradually disappearing to a younger variety which is similar to Signed English in the United States, although with incorporation of elements from the older variety, with various mixed varieties in between (2016 B. Braithwaite). Although on structural terms, the extreme forms of the two varieties could be considered separate languages, there is not a clear boundary between them, and most people are familiar with different varieties so communication occurs. Some older Deaf do not understand standard ASL from the United States. Sometimes, the name TTSL is reserved for the older variety, and the younger variety is referred to as ASL or TTASL.

Language Use

All ages. Also use American Sign Language [ase].

Language Development
Dictionary.
Other Comments

First residential school opened in 1947, which gave opportunity for TTSL to develop. Some early influence from British Sign Language [bfi]. Educational philosophy was oralist until 1975 when Total Communication was introduced along with ASL [ase], leading to development of the younger variety (Braithwaite 2015).

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