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What is Dactylology?

Two sign language speakers

At Joseph Blain Inc., we offer several ready-to-use solutions to facilitate the mutual understanding between people of all origins, all fields of activity and, of course, all languages! Among our interpretation services is dactylology. Read on to learn more about this sometimes-overlooked sign language.

Dactylology: A Means of Communication... at Your Fingertips! Also known as the "manual alphabet", "sign alphabet", "digital alphabet" or " dactylological alphabet", dactylology consists of the gestural representation of each letter of the alphabet. It is used to spell words for the deaf and hard of hearing. Why Spell Words Instead of Interpreting Them in Sign Language? Dactylology is useful when certain words have not yet found an equivalent in sign language. In the world of information and communication technology, for example, new terms appear almost every month! In addition, dactylology is necessary for spelling proper nouns (such as individual names or place names). Finally, if a person has not yet mastered the subtleties of sign language, typing will enable them to cope with most situations. Is Dactylology Universal? Just like sign language, typing differs from country to country. Deaf people and interpreters in Britain, France and Quebec, for example, do not use the same gestures to represent the 26 letters of the alphabet - although there are many similarities. Interesting Facts:

  • Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) and American Sign Language (ASL) share the same hand script;

  • Some people (e.g., the British) use both hands to represent the letters of the alphabet;

  • Some people (e.g., the British) use their two hands to represent the letters of the alphabet;

  • People who are deaf invent "name signs" to refer to each other, so that they do not have to spell out the names of people around them;

  • According to the Canadian Association of the Deaf, nearly 357,000 Canadians are completely deaf;

  • The Quebec Foundation for the Deaf has developed a free visual dictionary of the LSQ. With this user-friendly tool, you can learn how to "sign" several hundred words!

Looking for a Competent Translator or Interpreter in Montreal? For the simultaneous interpretation of a conference or for the translation of an official document, a certificate, a technical manual or a legal text, trust our expertise. Contact us - at Joseph Blain Inc.


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