Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bardic Sign Language

There's plenty of evidence to show that the old Welsh bards had a sign language. No doubt this was useful in communicating information in the crowded great halls and taverns the bards frequented, it would have fitted in well with the esoteric nature of much of bardic learning.

Sion Ceri, the sixteenth century bard who operated a good deal in and around Radnorshire, has a poem in which he describes this bardic sign language. Rather than finger signing it is mainly based on touching various parts of the face and upper body. Here are a few examples:

A - thumb up, C - cheek, E - the eye, F - the wrist, FF - two fingers on the wrist, O - forehead T - the nose, Y - the elbow



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure these bards weren't bookies on the side? Sounds like an old bardic tic-tac, or should that be tac-tic?

F and FF are a bit like 5/4 and C is a bit like 6/4.

Does it say what "Buy something from a local shop and bugger off back to England" is in sign language?

kjj said...

Interesting .... maybe those bards moved on to the gambling trade after their aristocratic patrons went all Englishified