History of British Sign Language



Digiti-lingua, or, the most compendious, copious, facile, and secret way of silent Converse ever yet discovered. Shewing, how any two persons may be capable, in half an hours time, to discourse together by their fingers only, and as well in the dark as the light… By a person who has conversed no otherwise in above nine years, Anonymous, 1698 (Action on Hearing Loss Library).

The anonymous author was "obliged (thro' an unfortunate impediment) to these, or some such like methods of Converse, for now near ten years last past". He critiques the "pretty piece of Ingenuity, intituled Sermo Mirabilis" as slower & less easy to follow, saying "All that can be done by the directions given in Sermo Mirabilis, may be more quick, free, and easily done, by the Alphabets here delivered, and much more".