Focality and the evolution of language culture that is Swiss

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In a controversial election, Donald Trump has beaten off stiff competition from “Netflix”, “vegan” and “deportation” to be chosen as “sign of the year” by the Swiss Deaf Association.

“The deciding factor was the sign’s simplicity, i.e. mimicking Trump’s extraordinary thatch of hair,” said Christian Gremaud, who led the organisation’s campaign. “And also the fact that the sign has really established itself in just a short period of time across Switzerland.”

It is the first time the Swiss Deaf Association has awarded a sign of the year.

The association explained that names or terms in the media are at first spelt out using a finger alphabet, but once the word establishes itself, deaf people come up with a sign for it. Like spoken words, if it proves popular or useful, it spreads.

Every year some 250 new signs are added to the deaf dictionary. These are decided by a commission of experts, which includes teachers, linguists and researchers.

Here is the Swiss link, via Michelle Dawson.

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