- WHAT IS SIGN LANGUAGE?
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, Sign Language is “a system of hand and body movements representing words, used by and to people who cannot hear or talk”.
2. A BIT OF HISTORY
Charles Michel De L’Eppe, a French cleric, was considered to be the “Father of Sign Language and Deaf Education” since he built up the first free public school for the deaf people in Paris. One day he saw two deaf sisters speaking with each other through gestures and understood the deaf people could be instructed by a sign language. He institutionalized a sign language alphabet for French language and incorporated it in a sign language dictionary that additionally included symbolic gestures that conveyed concepts as opposed to just letters. His sign language dictionary, his work on signing, and his work on educating the deaf community influenced sign language across the world.
3. THERE IS NOT A UNIVERSAL SIGN LANGUAGE.
Each country has its own sign language. Sign languages, as in the case of spoken languages, developed naturally out of groups of people interacting with each other. There are around 300 different sign languages spoken all over the world. The most used is the American Sign Language. There are about 70 million deaf people who use the sign language as their first language and it has been around as long as the spoken language. Nobody has invented them, yet they have emerged spontaneously through time with unlimited connections among people who use them as an essential communication system.
Just like the spoken language, signing has developed and changed throughout time as words, meanings, and talks have changed. Even though there is not a worldwide sign language, there are universal gestures in sign languages, which helps people to communicate with each other all over the world.
4. SIGN LANGUAGE DOES NOT REFLECT SPOKEN LANGUAGE
Because of the fact that sign languages developed within deaf communities, they are independent of spoken languages. For instance, even though English is the spoken language in the United Kingdom and the United States, the American Sign Language is very different from the British Sign Language.
All things considered, there is a great deal of contact between sign language and spoken language, because deaf people read, write and lipread in the surrounding language of their area, and sign language mirrors this.
5. IMPROVISED GESTURES CAN EVOLVE INTO A FULL LANGUAGE
A good example of this was presented when, in the 1980s, the first Nicaraguan school for the deaf people opened and the students who had been previously isolated from the other deaf people showed that they created their own gestures at home, and they created a sort of pidgin sign with each other. Despite it worked for communication, it was not a consistent language. Nevertheless, the next generation of students learned that pidgin sign and it began to be regularized, they created rules and consistent grammatical methods. Over time, it stabilized, and it became the Nicaraguan Sign Language.
6. SIGN LANGUAGES HAVE THEIR OWN GRAMMAR
The same as spoken languages sign languages have a structure that can be analysed and divided into smaller fragments. Sign Languages are utilized by grammars that can be portrayed with the help of rules.
For instance, sign language utilizes the space before the signer to indicate who did what to whom by pointing. Nonetheless, a few verbs point to both the subject and object of the verb, some direct just toward the object, and some don’t point by any means.
Another rule, specifically in ASL, is the way eyebrows are positioned. In the event that you were wondering, up-eyebrows are for yes/no inquiries and down-eyebrows are for questions identifying with who/why/when/what.
7. CHILDREN ACQUIRE SIGN LANGUAGE, IN THE SAME WAY, THEY ACQUIRE SPOKEN LANGUAGE
The phases of sign language acquisition are the same as those for spoken language. Infants begin by “babbling” with their hands. When they first begin creating words, they substitute simpler handshapes for more troublesome ones, making for adorable “child elocutions.” They begin making sentences by hanging signs together and just later gain the power of all the syntactic standards. In particular, they learn through natural communication with the people around them.
8. BRAIN DAMAGE AFFECTS SING LANGUAGE, IN THE SAME WAY, IT AFFECTS SPOKEN LANGUAGE
At the point when fluent signers have a stroke or brain damage, they may lose the capacity to sign, yet not to make imitative or non-sign motions. They might have the capacity to deliver signs, however not place them in the right syntactic setups. They might have the capacity to deliver sentences, yet with the signs shaped inaccurately, making an abnormal accent. We know from studying speaking people that “making sounds” is very not quite the same as “utilizing language” in light of the fact that these capacities are affected distinctively by brain damage. The same is valid for signers. Neurologically, making gestures is different from using sign language.
by Alba Malagon Diaz