Research findings create awareness about sign languages in the Pacific


The School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE) at The University of the South Pacific (USP) hosted a seminar earlier this month that focused on studies of negation and noun phrases in Fiji Sign Language (FJSL).

Presenters Krishneer Sen and Inise Tawaketini discussed their research findings during the seminar that was attended by SPACE students, especially those with Linguistic majors.

Both Sen and Tawaketini recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in Sign Linguistics.

Signing during the seminar, Sen emphasised that there is no universal sign language as each country has its own linguistic variety. He explained that their study of sign languages and their acquisition made them realise that there is still so much to learn about FJSL.

Sen added, “The research we’ve done should pave the way for Fiji and the Pacific to prioritise sign language education to encourage inclusive societies. As it is, there is little known about the grammar of our very own FJSL.”

Given the limited existing research on sign languages in the Pacific, Sen and Tawaketini’s contribution to the field becomes critically important and sets the foundation for more work to be undertaken in this field.

As part of USP’s commitment to promoting sign language this semester, the university offers a six-week free class twice weekly.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in learning more about SPACE and its programmes, or if you’re keen to expand your knowledge about linguistics and languages, join us for the Vodafone USP Open Day on September 29, 2023, at any of our three Fiji Campuses (Lautoka, Labasa and Laucala) or visit

The Open Day is also an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about Linguistics, as it is a pathway to explore other languages spoken across the Pacific.


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