Indonesia: how to “speak” a deafness-plagued village’s unique sign language

The World

Via Australia's new online outlet The Global Mail, here's a guided tour of one of the world's most obscure modes of human communication: a Balinese sign language invented by a village plagued by rampant deafness.

The language, Kata Kolok, is "spoken" by fewer than 3,000 inhabitants of an Indonesian hamlet beset by congential hearing loss for eight generations running. (This Balinese university study attributes the widespread problem to recessive genes, which can achieve dominance through intermarriage.)

Judging from this quick tour of the language, it's rather blunt. 

"Thought" is expressed by pointing toward your noodle.

"Japanese" is expressed quite directly: by tugging one eye into a squint. According to the article, the word "Westerners" is evoked by mimicking a long nose with one's fingers.

My personal favorite is "great," a hearty thumbs-up.

Village of the Deaf, Bali from Digital Global Mail Limited on Vimeo.

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