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Western ZEI: Iranian Sign Language in Kermanshah

Deposit page image for the collection "Western ZEI: Iranian Sign Language in Kermanshah"

Deposit page image for the collection “Western ZEI: Iranian Sign Language in Kermanshah”. Click on image to access collection.

Language Zaban Eshareh Irani (ZEI)
Depositor Yassaman Choubsaz
Affiliation Razi University of Kermanshah
Location Iran
Deposit ID 0598
Grant ID SG0561
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online


Summary of the deposit

Zaban Eshareh Irani (ZEI) is a sign language used by Iranian deaf community. It has not been investigated whether there are variants of ZEI or not, but it seems likely that different variants of sign language exist in different parts of Iran. The deposit will include records of native signers living across Kermanshah province. The recordings will start with an elicitation task including items for (cultural) concepts such as color, wedding, birth, food, death, funerals, etc. Subsequently, the participants will be asked to watch short movies and then they will be asked to retell the story. Later, the participants will be asked to have conversations in pairs about a topic chosen by themselves in order to have more sign elicitation in a more natural context. The data will be recorded by Yassaman Choubsaz, linguist and principle investigator along with Hadis Moosavi, a sign language interpreter and Mahdi Fattahi (a male linguist and colleague for considering gender issues) . In order to annotate the data, a group consisting of two linguists (Yassaman Choubsaz and Sara Siyavoshi) and one deaf linguist (Farzaneh Soleinmanbeigi) will collaborate.


Group represented

Kermanshah province is located in the west of Iran and it consists of 14 towns (Shahrestan). The population of Kermanshah is 1.952.000 with deaf community of 5.949 people. The hearing family of deaf children normally do not use ZEI and support lip-reading , speech therapy, and cochlear implant if it is financially possible for them. With no language, the children are sent to schools where the faulty education system and the emphasis on oralist approach have adverse effects on the academic development of children considering the delay in their acquisition of language. There are only 3 schools for the deaf students in Kermanshah: two high schools and one elementary school. As small as this number is, there is no such school to be found in other towns of the whole province, where deaf students are ,instead, sent to special schools with only one class dedicated to the deaf and the rest consisting of the students of other disability groups. The deaf child (of a hearing parent) can acquire ZEI if he/she is exposed to ZEI through having long enough communications with peers – whose their levels of proficiency may vary. However, sending them to ordinary schools or special schools with one class dedicated to the deaf would minimize their chance of acquiring ZEI from peers. There are two local community centers in Kermanshah where the deaf community meet each other in cultural events or religious occasions. With this background, it seems that less and less people are using sign language in this city and that’s why doumenting ZEI is very important.


Special characteristics

This deposit is important because Zaban Eshareh Irani (ZEI) is an undocumented sign language. Also it seems that elicitation tasks will reveal interesting facts about cultural differences between variants of ZEI.


Deposit contents

The majority of bundles in this collection are video recordings. There will be :

  • 20 hours of video recordings
  • 1 IMDI of metadata per bundle
  • 1 hour of ELAN (translated into Persian and English and glossed)
  • photographs

We will provide more details as we proceed through the project.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of collection should acknowledge Yassaman Choubsaz as the principal investigator and data collector. Users should also acknowledge Yassman Choubsaz, Sara Siyavoshi, and Farzaneh Soleimanbeigi as researchers. Please note that the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme is the funder of the project. Any other colleague who contributed to this project as an interpreter, data collector, translator, or in any other way should be acknowledged by name.

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Choubsaz, Yassaman. 2020. Western ZEI: Iranian Sign Language in Kermanshah. London: SOAS University of London, Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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