Deaf Student Developed 100 New Sign Language Terms For Scientific Words

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It can already be hard to say a scientific word like “deoxyribonucleotide” let alone spell it out in sign language—but that I why this determined young university student is being praised for inventing new ways for deaf scientists to communicate.

Deaf Student Developed 100 New Sign Language Terms For Scientific Words

Photo by University of Dundee


It can already be hard to say a scientific word like “deoxyribonucleotide” let alone spell it out in sign language—but that I why this determined young university student is being praised for inventing new ways for deaf scientists to communicate.


Liam Mcmulkin was born deaf. He was the first person in his family to pursue a higher education after enrolling at the University of Dundee to study life sciences in 2015.


Like most first-year students, he had already been anxious about managing to keep up a college workload. As he was also the only deaf student at the university, he feared that he’d have trouble keeping up with the course lectures.


Although there are some British Sign Language (BSL) translations for scientific vocabulary words, the lexicon becomes somewhat limited for college-level communication. As he continued studying in university, Mcmulkin became more and more frustrated by how his translator would be forced to spell out long, complicated words.


Mcmulkin finally developed a whole new set of BSL vocabulary words for himself and future life sciences students. To date, he has created more than 100 new signs for scientific words which have been officially recognized in formal BSL, which is used by about 87,000 people across the United Kingdom.


As Mcmulkin is preparing to study for his master’s degree in September 2019 to eventually become a researcher, he’s excited to see his new words ease the struggles of other deaf scientists that are following in his footsteps.


Watch the interview below:


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Thinking Humanity: Deaf Student Developed 100 New Sign Language Terms For Scientific Words
Deaf Student Developed 100 New Sign Language Terms For Scientific Words
It can already be hard to say a scientific word like “deoxyribonucleotide” let alone spell it out in sign language—but that I why this determined young university student is being praised for inventing new ways for deaf scientists to communicate.
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