Sibaji Panda

Senior Lecturer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

School of Language and Global Studies

Vernon Annexe, VE006

Sibaji Panda was born in India into a hearing family with a deaf sibling. He became deaf post-lingually and graduated with a BA from the mainstream educational system in India.

Sibaji is research active within the area of language, linguistics, culture and society and is a member of the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies. In addition he is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Full Profile

At an early stage in his career he worked as a sign language trainer at the National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, and was the first person to teach Indian Sign Language interpreters and sign language teachers in a formal classroom in India. He later received a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of New England, Australia, and has worked in the Sign Language Typology Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands.

His research areas are applied sign language studies, sociolinguistics, literacy acquisition, and village sign languages. He is now working on data collection and analysis for the sign-speaking and sign-switching strands of the Multisign project. Sibaji is also carrying out research in a southern Indian “deaf village” (Alipur), which was initiated under the Endangered Language Documentation Programme and the EuroBabel project. He has done extensive fieldwork in India, including for studies of deaf literacy, and collected Indian Sign Language data for a number of projects. He is the course leader of UCLan’s BA (Hons) Applied Sign Language Studies programme, which is taught in India.

Sibaji also has leading roles in several NGOs. He serves on the World Federation of the Deaf expert committee on developing countries, and is on the board of trustees for Ishara Foundation, which aims to improve the educational achievement of Deaf children and adults in India. He is also the vice president of the All India Federation of the Deaf and general secretary of the Deaf Empowerment Foundation.


Zeshan, Ulrike, Escobedo Delgado, Cesar Ernesto, Dikyuva, Hasan, Panda, Sibaji and de Vos, Connie (forthc.) Cardinal numerals in village sign languages: Approaching cross-modal typology. Linguistic Typology

Panda, Sibaji (2012) Alipur Sign Language: A sociolinguistic and cultural profile. In: Zeshan, U. & de Vos, C. (eds.) Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and linguistic insights. Sign Language Typology Series No. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton and Nijmegen: Ishara Press, pp. 353-360.

Dikyuva, Hasan, Escobedo Delgado, Ernesto, Panda, Sibaji & Zeshan, Ulrike (2012) Working with village sign language communities – Deaf classrooms and linguistic heritage. In: Zeshan, U. & de Vos, C. (eds.) Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and linguistic insights. Sign Language Typology Series No. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton & Nijmegen: Ishara Press, pp. 313-344.

Panda, Sibaji & Zeshan, Ulrike (2011) Reciprocal constructions in Indo-Pakistani Sign Language. In Evans, N., Gaby, A., Levinson, S.C. & Majid, A. (eds.) Reciprocals and Semantic Typology. Typological Studies in Language Series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 91-114.

More publications



Selected Conference Presentations

EUROBABEL final conference, European Science Foundation, Leiden, Netherlands (August 2012)

‘Typological variation in numeral systems among village sign languages’ presented with Hasan Dikyuva, Cesar Ernesto Escobedo Delgado and Ulrike Zeshan, University of Central Lancashire, UK

National Conference of the Deaf, Chandigarh, India (May 2012)

(1) ‘Bilingualism in Deaf Education’

(2) ‘Diversity in Deaf community’

Invited speaker at International Conference of Indian Association of Rehab Professionals, New Delhi, (March 2012)

‘Communication options in deaf education-Approaches for the 21st century’

Sign5 Conference, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey (October 2011)

(1) Literacy development in Alipur: a village sign language community in India.

(2) Higher Education Opportunities.

(3) Partisan politics within Deaf community, issues and concerns (panel presentation) in a workshop titled ‘“Partnership between Deaf Communities, Academia and NGOs in Deaf Empowerment”

EuroBabel Workshop on Kinship and Numeral Systems from Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Modal Perspectives, UCLan, Preston, UK (September 2011)

“The subtractive number system of Alipur Village Sign Language”.

National Workshop for Indian Sign Language Interpreters, Indore, India (3-4 September 2011) “Expectations of Interpreters” and “Challenges faced by interpreters in India”.

International Association of Applied Linguistics Congress, Beijing, China (August 2011)

“Peer tutors and online resources for teaching English literacy to deaf students in India” (co-presented with Professor Ulrike Zeshan and Dharmesh Kumar).

National Meeting of Rehabilitation Experts, Chandigarh, Punjab, India (March 2011)

“Vision 2020” (I was invited to present at this meeting by the Rehabilitation Council of India).

Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR 10), Purdue University, U.S.A. (September 2010) “The number system in Alipur Village Sign Language”. – TISLR is the most important international conference series in sign language linguistics

Sign4 Conference, IGNOU, New Dehli (December 2009)

“The number and counting system in Alipur Village Sign Language”.

Sign3 Conference, UCLan, Preston, UK (February 2008)

“Minority sign language in India: The research priorities, methodologies and future directions”.

World Federation of the Deaf 15thCongress, Madrid, Spain (July 2007)

“The acquisition of English literacy skills by deaf adults in a bilingual classroom setting in India”. – This is the most important international conference of Deaf organizations

European Deaf Sign Language Researchers Workshop, Jyväskylä University, Finland (Sept 2007) “Sign language research in the Indian context”.

Workshop on Bilingual Deaf Education, AYJNIHH, Mumbai, India (May 2006)

“Communication development in the classroom”.