York & North Yorkshire

York toddler group changes Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sign

A York toddlers group has changed a potentially offensive sign language gesture in a nursery rhyme.

The signs for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star contains a symbol that could be misinterpreted as female genitalia.

Staff at the Sure Start centre in Acomb made the change after attending a sign language course and realising the action for diamond had a dual meaning.

A sign language interpreter said: "There are quite a few signs that can be misinterpreted".

Jill Hodges, assistant director, education, children and young people's services, City of York Council, said: "The decision was taken to prevent deaf children or deaf parents being offended by the use of the gesture and to ensure that the correct signal was used.

"However, parents have not been banned from using the other sign and City of York Council does not have a policy over this matter."

Natalie Jackson, who is a sign language interpreter based in York, said: "It's quite interesting, there are quite a few signs that can be misinterpreted.

"There are also variations. There is a Scottish sign that in English sign language can be misconstrued and can be very rude as well."

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