Scottish Finger Signing

In keeping with the sign language theme this week, we thought we’d share something that’s not American Sign Language, but a different kind of signing.

It took a while for standard sign language to reach Scotland and the Deaf had to communicate with one another and the hearing community long before that. (The earliest records of sign language in Britain date to 1575.) So how did they do it? Finger signing! It seems like it would take a really long time to spell out every word you want to say, but once you get used to it, those fingers really fly.

However, now American Sign Language is the most common way for Deaf Scots to communicate; only the older populations are still reliant on finger-signing. Before the language disappears altogether in daily use, documentarians are working to preserve it for posterity. The Highland Language Council hopes the film will not only be educational, but provide that portion of the Deaf community with a sense of pride in their traditions and heritage.


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