Sign Systems, Methodical

Signes méthodiques, that is, methodical signs, is the name Abbé Charles-Michel de l’Épée gave to the visuo-gestural means by which he taught his deaf pupils. It was a sign system that he himself distinguished clearly from the sign language used by the contemporary Parisian Deaf community. It is sometimes said that de l’Épée’s signing was nothing more than signed French; others would have it that, quite on the contrary, he was the inventor of French Sign Language. Although erroneous, both interpretations may stem from de l’Épée’s huge impact. He was the first historical person known to gather numerous deaf people at his house for schooling, an endeavor that later was to become the famous Paris School for the Deaf, which laid the basis for the ...

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