There is no database of city signs for the Deaf Culture in Canada; I have met members of the D/deaf community who do not know their local city signs or their neighboring city signs. Hearing that people in their towns do not know the name sign is troublesome. Think about it, if you are Deaf, can you name three nearby cities' name signs? And if you are Hearing, do you know your city's name sign?
In addition, some cities have name signs while others do not, making it hard to ask for directions and travel from city to city. A lot of the time, people in the D/deaf community have to resort to fingerspelling; some members can finger spell fast, while others finger spell slowly.
Using an ASL dictionary when traveling is a good idea. However, there are not many Canadian dictionaries out there. A perfect one is a dictionary I received while studying the D/deaf culture Canadian Dictionary of ASL. This dictionary is the only dictionary that shows the provincial dialects and differences. This is helpful for both D/deaf and ASL travelers and people who are local and do not know the language. It can be incredibly frustrating for both the traveler, as well as the locals, not to know local and provincial sign dialects.
While this book only comes in a BIG size, a good option would also be purchasing a Pocket dictonary for ASL. However, there is no Canadian ASL pocket dictionary that I have seen. Therefore the dictionary would only show USA dialects, and some words may not be understood in Canada.
For example, in the video below, I am showing you the differences between British Columbia signs and various provincial dialects for everyday words. You can see how the signs are extremely different and could be misinterpreted. And these are basic signs for some of the words that change from province to province.
This is finger spelling; while it is not ideal for long conversations as finger spelling is hard to understand often, you can spell simple words and attempt to communicate. For example, I can finger spell really fast, as ASL is my first language. However, I struggle reading finger spelling a lot of the time as I struggle to spell and make sounds, so knowing what someone is finger spelling sometimes takes time.
While ASL, LSQ, and Indigenous Sign Languages have been recognized as official languages in Canada since June 21, 2019, there are still too many people who do not know their local signs, no database to educate both hearing people and D/deaf people on the signs. Nor is there a lot of knowledge of Provincial Dialects of the language.
More and more people are starting to recognize the need and learn their local city signs as well as learning the basic ABCs so, at the very least, you can finger spell for the D/deaf visitor. I want to encourage everyone to find out their local city signs and share them with the community, both hearing and D/deaf! When a D/deaf person enters a business and the owner can sign or can use basic signs, it not only makes the person's day but suddenly they feel a bit less like an outsider and more included in the experience!
For example, when I entered the Moon Shadows Campground in Merritt, B.C., and started to tell the owner my story of using ASL to communicate, she began to sign. Everyone who was in that room would agree; not only did the owner get excited, but I did as well, we both turned off our voices and just started signing, and that is something I will never forget!
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I had no idea there were so many differences in dialects within Canada, or that place names weren't clearly defined. Thank yo ufor sharing this! I wonder how goegraphical place names could be standardized to make things simpler?