History of British Sign Language


Laffon de Ladebat

Laffon de Ladebat, one of the French visitors to the Braidwood's school, provides a vivid description of Clerc's meeting with the deaf children in a book written in both English and French- A collection of the Most Remarkable Definitions and Answers of Massieu and Clerc, Deaf and Dumb, (1815).

As soon as Clerc beheld this sight [of the children at dinner] his face became animanted; he was as agitated as a traveller of sensibility would be on meeting all of a sudden in distant regions, a colony of his own countrymen … Clerc approached them. He made signs and they answered him by signs. The unexpected communication cause a most delicious sensation in them and for us was a scene of expression and sensibility that gave us the most heart-felt satisfaction.