Hearing-impaired people may soon be able to discuss science as naturally as their "normal-hearing" counterparts, once sign-language equivalents of scientific terms are standardized.
An article on science website io9.com cited a New York Times report that movements are now ongoing to expand the scientific lexicon of sign languages to improve sign-language communication about scientific topics.
In the United Kingdom, researchers for the Scottish Sensory Centre's British Sign Language Glossary Project added 116 new physics and engineering terms to the British Sign Language (BSL).
The British Sign Language Glossary Project develops tools for students with visual and auditory impairments.
Lexicographers in the United States are more democratic, with the University of Washington launching the ASL-STEM Forum to crowdsource new signs for scientific terms for the American Sign Language (ASL).
"Users can submit, comment on, and vote on terms, and as members of the scientific community, as well as folks at historically deaf institutions like Gallaudet University, use them, the hope is that more standard terminology will develop," io9.com said.
Presently, io9.com said ASL and BSL lack single, standard words for basic scientific terminology.