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Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fledged natural languages with their own grammar and lexicon. Sign languages are not universal and they are not
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
with each other, although there are also striking similarities among sign languages. Linguists consider both spoken and signed communication to be types of
natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Professionals in this branch of psychology often focus on ...
, meaning that both emerged through an abstract, protracted aging process and evolved over time without meticulous planning. Sign language should not be confused with
body language Body language is a type of nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and bo ...

body language
, a type of
nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. In human beings Humans (''Homo sapi ...
. Wherever communities of
deaf Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing loss Hearing loss is a partial or total inability to Hearing, hear. Hearing loss may be present at birth or acquired ...
people exist, sign languages have developed as useful means of communication, and they form the core of local
Deaf culture Deaf culture is the set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In m ...
s. Although signing is used primarily by the deaf and
hard of hearing Hearing loss is a partial or total inability to hear. Hearing loss may be present at birth or acquired at any time afterwards. Hearing loss may occur in one or both ears. In children, hearing problems can affect the ability to acquire spoken la ...
, it is also used by hearing individuals, such as those unable to physically speak, those who have trouble with spoken language due to a disability or condition (
augmentative and alternative communication Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. AAC is used by th ...
), or those with deaf family members, such as
children of deaf adults A child of deaf adult, often known by the acronym "coda", is a person who was raised by one or more deaf parents or guardians. Millie Brother coined the term and founded the organization CODA, which serves as a resource and a center of community for ...
. The number of sign languages worldwide is not precisely known. Each country generally has its own native sign language, and some have more than one. The 2021 edition of ''
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicatio ...
'' lists 150 sign languages, while the SIGN-HUB Atlas of Sign Language Structures lists over 200 and notes that there are more which have not been documented or discovered yet. As of 2021, Indo Sign Language is the most used sign language in the world, and
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicatio ...
ranks it as the 151th most "spoken" language in the world. Some sign languages have obtained some form of
legal recognition Legal recognition of some status or fact in a jurisdiction is formal acknowledgement of it as being true, valid, legal, or worthy of consideration and may involve approval or the granting of rights. For example, a nation or territory may require a ...
. Linguists distinguish natural sign languages from other systems that are precursors to them or obtained from them, such as invented manual codes for spoken languages,
home sign Home sign (or kitchen sign) is a gestural communication system, often invented spontaneously by a deaf child who lacks accessible linguistic input. Home sign systems often arise in families where a deaf child is raised by hearing parents and is isol ...
, " baby sign", and signs learned by non-human primates.


History

Groups of deaf people have used sign languages throughout history. One of the earliest written records of a sign language is from the fifth century BC, in
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
's ''
Cratylus Cratylus ( ; grc, Κρατύλος, ''Kratylos'') was an History of Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher from the mid-late 5th century BCE, known mostly through his portrayal in Plato's Dialogues of Plato, dialogue ''Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus'' ...
'', where
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
says: "If we hadn't a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn't we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body, just as dumb people do at present?" Until the 19th century, most of what is known about historical sign languages is limited to the manual alphabets (fingerspelling systems) that were invented to facilitate the transfer of words from a spoken language to a sign language, rather than documentation of the language itself.
Pedro Ponce de León 150px, Dom Pedro Ponce de León teaching a pupil(Detail of a monument in Madrid, Spain.) Dom (title), Dom Pedro Ponce de Leon, O.S.B., (1520–1584) was a Spanish people, Spanish Order of St. Benedict, Benedictine monk who is often credited as be ...
(1520–1584) is said to have developed the first manual alphabet. In 1620,
Juan Pablo Bonet Juan Pablo Bonet Juan Pablo Bonet (c.1573–1633) was a Spanish priest and pioneer of education for the deaf. He published the first book on deaf education in 1620 in Madrid Madrid (, ) is the capital and most-populous city of Spain , ...

Juan Pablo Bonet
published ('Reduction of letters and art for teaching mute people to speak') in Madrid. It is considered the first modern treatise of sign language phonetics, setting out a method of oral education for deaf people and a manual alphabet. In Britain, manual alphabets were also in use for a number of purposes, such as secret communication, public speaking, or communication by deaf people. In 1648,
John Bulwer John Bulwer (baptised 16 May 1606 – buried 16 October 1656 ) was an English physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, ...
described "Master Babington", a deaf man proficient in the use of a manual alphabet, " on the of his fingers", whose wife could converse with him easily, even in the dark through the use of
tactile signing Tactile signing is a common means of communication used by people with deafblindness Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful hearing Hearing, or auditory perception, is the ability to perceive sounds by detecting vibration ...
. In 1680,
George Dalgarno George Dalgarno (c. 1616 – 1687) was a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish Engl ...
published ''Didascalocophus, or, The deaf and dumb mans tutor'', in which he presented his own method of deaf education, including an "arthrological" alphabet, where letters are indicated by pointing to different joints of the fingers and palm of the left hand. Arthrological systems had been in use by hearing people for some time; some have speculated that they can be traced to early
Ogham Ogham ( , Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the population's until the late 18th century. Although has been the first language o ...

Ogham
manual alphabets. The
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
s of this alphabet have survived in the modern alphabets used in
British Sign Language British Sign Language (BSL) is a sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination wit ...
,
Auslan Auslan () is the majority of the . The term ''Auslan'' is a of "Australian Sign Language", coined by in the 1980s, although the itself is much older. Auslan is related to (BSL) and (NZSL); the three have descended from the same , and tog ...
and
New Zealand Sign Language New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL ( mi, te reo Turi) is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the No ...
. The earliest known printed pictures of consonants of the modern two-handed alphabet appeared in 1698 with (Latin for ''Language'' r ''Tongue''''of the Finger''), a pamphlet by an anonymous author who was himself unable to speak. He suggested that the manual alphabet could also be used by mutes, for silence and secrecy, or purely for entertainment. Nine of its letters can be traced to earlier alphabets, and 17 letters of the modern two-handed alphabet can be found among the two sets of 26 handshapes depicted. Charles de La Fin published a book in 1692 describing an alphabetic system where pointing to a body part represented the first letter of the part (e.g. Brow=B), and vowels were located on the fingertips as with the other British systems. He described such codes for both English and Latin. By 1720, the British manual alphabet had found more or less its present form. Descendants of this alphabet have been used by deaf communities (or at least in classrooms) in former British colonies India, Australia, New Zealand, Uganda and South Africa, as well as the republics and provinces of the former Yugoslavia, Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean, Indonesia, Norway, Germany and the United States. During the Polygar Wars against the British, Veeran Sundaralingam a joint exercise communicated with
Veerapandiya Kattabomman Veerapandiya Kattabomman was an 18th-century Tamil Palayakarrar and chieftain in Tamil Nadu, India. He refused to accept the sovereignty of the British East India Company and waged a Polygar War, war against them. He was captured by the British ...
mute younger brother
Oomaithurai Oomathurai (real name Kumarasamy), was an Indian Poligar Polygar (also spelled Palegara, Palaiyakkarar, Poligar, Palegaadu, Palegar or Polegar) was the feudal title for a class of territorial administrative and military governors appointed by ...
by using their own sign language, first suicide bomb later two were hanged lastly in 1801. Frenchman
Charles-Michel de l'Épée The Abbé Charles-Michel de l'Épée (; 24 November 1712 – 23 December 1789) was a philanthropy, philanthropic educator of 18th-century France who has become known as the "Father of the Deaf". Overview Charles-Michel de l'Épée was born to a wea ...
published his manual alphabet in the 18th century, which has survived largely unchanged in France and North America until the present time. In 1755, Abbé de l'Épée founded the first school for deaf children in Paris;
Laurent Clerc Louis Laurent Marie Clerc (; 26 December 1785 – 18 July 1869) was a French teacher called "The Apostle of the Deaf Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing ...
was arguably its most famous graduate. Clerc went to the United States with
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (December 10, 1787 – September 10, 1851) was an American educator. Along with Laurent Clerc and Mason Cogswell, he co-founded the first permanent institution for the education of the deaf in North America N ...

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
to found the
American School for the Deaf The American School for the Deaf (ASD) originally ''The American Asylum, At Hartford, For The Education And Instruction Of The Deaf And Dumb'' is the oldest permanent school for the deaf in the United States, and the first school for children wi ...
in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817. Gallaudet's son,
Edward Miner Gallaudet Edward Miner Gallaudet (February 5, 1837 – September 26, 1917), son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, was the first president of Gallaudet University Gallaudet University is a University charter#Federal, federally ...
, founded a school for the deaf in 1857 in Washington, D.C., which in 1864 became the National Deaf-Mute College. Now called
Gallaudet University Gallaudet University is a private university, private University charter#Federal, federally chartered research university for the education of the Hearing loss, deaf and hard of hearing. It is located in Washington, D.C., on a campus. Founded ...

Gallaudet University
, it is still the only liberal arts university for deaf people in the world. Sign languages generally do not have any linguistic relation to the spoken languages of the lands in which they arise. The correlation between sign and spoken languages is complex and varies depending on the country more than the spoken language. For example, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US all have English as their dominant language, but
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Pr ...

American Sign Language
(ASL), used in the US and English-speaking Canada, is derived from
French Sign Language French Sign Language (french: langue des signes française, LSF) is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spok ...
whereas the other three countries use varieties of British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language, which is unrelated to ASL. Similarly, the sign languages of Spain and Mexico are very different, despite Spanish being the national language in each country, and the sign language used in
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
is based on ASL rather than any sign language that is used in any other Spanish-speaking country. Variations also arise within a 'national' sign language which do not necessarily correspond to dialect differences in the national spoken language; rather, they can usually be correlated to the geographic location of residential schools for the deaf.
International Sign International Sign (IS) is a pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are li ...
, formerly known as Gestuno, is used mainly at international deaf events such as the
Deaflympics The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. Unlike the athletes in other IOC-san ...
and meetings of the
World Federation of the Deaf The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several large landmass ...
. While recent studies claim that International Sign is a kind of a
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
, they conclude that it is more complex than a typical pidgin and indeed is more like a full sign language. While the more commonly used term is International Sign, it is sometimes referred to as Gestuno, or International Sign Pidgin and International Gesture (IG). International Sign is a term used by the
World Federation of the Deaf The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several large landmass ...
and other international organisations.


Linguistics

In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any spoken language, despite the common misconception that they are not "real languages". Professional
linguists Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonet ...

linguists
have studied many sign languages and found that they exhibit the fundamental properties that exist in all languages. Klima, Edward S.; & Bellugi, Ursula. (1979). ''The signs of language''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. .Sandler, Wendy; & Lillo-Martin, Diane. (2006). Sign Language and Linguistic Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Such fundamental properties include duality of patterning and
recursion Recursion (adjective: ''recursive'') occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type. Recursion is used in a variety of disciplines ranging from linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning tha ...

recursion
. Duality of patterning means that languages are composed of smaller, meaningless units which can be combined to larger units with meaning (see below). The term recursion means that languages exhibit grammatical rules and the output of such a rule can be the input of the same rule. It is, for example, possible in sign languages to create
subordinate clause A subordinate clause, dependent clause or embedded clause is a clause that is embedded inside another clause. For instance, in the English sentence "I know that Bette is a dolphin", the clause "that Bette is a dolphin" occurs as the complement (ling ...
s and a subordinate clause may contain another subordinate clause. Sign languages are not
mime #REDIRECT Mime artist A mime artist or just mime (from Greek , , "imitator, actor") is a person who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed ...

mime
—in other words, signs are conventional, often arbitrary and do not necessarily have a visual relationship to their referent, much as most spoken language is not
onomatopoeic Onomatopoeia is the process of creating a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Such a word itself is also called an onomatopoeia. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as " oink", "meow ...
. While
iconicity In functional-cognitive linguistics Cognitive linguistics is an interdisciplinary branch of linguistics, combining knowledge and research from cognitive science, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, cognitive anthropology ...
is more systematic and widespread in sign languages than in spoken ones, the difference is not categorical. The visual modality allows the human preference for close connections between form and meaning, present but suppressed in spoken languages, to be more fully expressed. This does not mean that sign languages are a visual rendition of a spoken language. They have complex
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
s of their own and can be used to discuss any topic, from the simple and concrete to the lofty and abstract. Sign languages, like spoken languages, organize elementary, meaningless units into meaningful
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
units. This type of organization in natural language is often called duality of patterning. As in spoken languages, these meaningless units are represented as (combinations of)
features Feature may refer to: Computing * Feature (CAD), could be a hole, pocket, or notch * Feature (computer vision), could be an edge, corner or blob * Feature (software design) is an intentional distinguishing characteristic of a software item ( ...
, although coarser descriptions are often also made in terms of five "parameters":
handshape In sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign langu ...
(or ''handform''),
orientation Orientation may refer to: Positioning in physical space * Map orientation, the relationship between directions on a map and compass directions * Orientation (housing), the position of a building with respect to the sun, a concept in building design ...
,
location In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. Th ...
(or ''place of articulation''),
movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as movement Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Movement (short story), "Movement", a shor ...
, and non-manual expression. (These meaningless units in sign languages were initially called
chereme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midl ...
s, from the Greek word for ''hand'', by analogy to the
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s, from Greek for ''voice'', of spoken languages. Now they are sometimes called phonemes when describing sign languages too, since the function is the same, but more commonly discussed in terms of "features" or "parameters".) More generally, both sign and spoken languages share the
characteristics Characteristic (from the Greek word for a property, attribute or wikt:trait, trait of an wikt:entity, entity) may refer to: In physics and engineering, any characteristic curve that shows the relationship between certain input and output parameters ...
that linguists have found in all natural human languages, such as transitoriness,
semanticitySemanticity is one of Charles Hockett Charles Francis Hockett (January 17, 1916 – November 3, 2000) was an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by h ...
,
arbitrariness Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle". It is also used to refer to a choice made without any specific criterion or restraint. Arbitrary decisions are not necessar ...
,
productivity Productivity is the efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do th ...
, and
cultural transmission Cultural learning is the way a group of people or animals within a society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or soci ...
. Common linguistic features of many sign languages are the occurrence of classifier constructions, a high degree of
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
by means of changes of movement, and a
topic-comment In linguistics, the topic, or theme, of a sentence is what is being talked about, and the comment (rheme or Focus (linguistics), focus) is what is being said about the topic. This division into old vs. new content is called information structure ...
syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntax
. More than spoken languages, sign languages can convey meaning by simultaneous means, e.g. by the use of
space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Gre ...
, two manual articulators, and the signer's face and body. Though there is still much discussion on the topic of iconicity in sign languages, classifiers are generally considered to be highly iconic, as these complex constructions "function as predicates that may express any or all of the following: motion, position, stative-descriptive, or handling information". It needs to be noted that the term classifier is not used by everyone working on these constructions. Across the field of sign language linguistics the same constructions are also referred with other terms. Today, linguists study sign languages as true languages, part of the field of linguistics. However, the category "sign languages" was not added to the ''Linguistic Bibliography/Bibliographie Linguistique'' until the 1988 volume, when it appeared with 39 entries.


Relationships with spoken languages

There is a common misconception that sign languages are somehow dependent on spoken languages: that they are spoken language expressed in signs, or that they were invented by hearing people. Similarities in
language processing in the brain Language processing refers to the way humans use words to communicate ideas and feelings, and how such communications are processed and understood. Language processing is considered to be a uniquely human ability that is not produced with the same ...
between signed and spoken languages further perpetuated this misconception. Hearing teachers in deaf schools, such as
Charles-Michel de l'Épée The Abbé Charles-Michel de l'Épée (; 24 November 1712 – 23 December 1789) was a philanthropy, philanthropic educator of 18th-century France who has become known as the "Father of the Deaf". Overview Charles-Michel de l'Épée was born to a wea ...
or
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (December 10, 1787 – September 10, 1851) was an American educator. Along with Laurent Clerc and Mason Cogswell, he co-founded the first permanent institution for the education of the deaf in North America N ...

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
, are often incorrectly referred to as "inventors" of sign language. Instead, sign languages, like all natural languages, are developed by the people who use them, in this case, deaf people, who may have little or no knowledge of any spoken language. As a sign language develops, it sometimes borrows elements from spoken languages, just as all languages borrow from other languages that they are in contact with. Sign languages vary in how much they borrow from spoken languages. In many sign languages, a
manual alphabet Fingerspelling (or dactylology) is the representation of the letter (alphabet), letters of a writing system, and sometimes numeral systems, using only the hands. These manual alphabets (also known as finger alphabets or hand alphabets) have often b ...
(fingerspelling) may be used in signed communication to borrow a word from a spoken language, by spelling out the letters. This is most commonly used for proper names of people and places; it is also used in some languages for concepts for which no sign is available at that moment, particularly if the people involved are to some extent bilingual in the spoken language. Fingerspelling can sometimes be a source of new signs, such as initialized signs, in which the handshape represents the first letter of a spoken word with the same meaning. On the whole, though, sign languages are independent of spoken languages and follow their own paths of development. For example,
British Sign Language British Sign Language (BSL) is a sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination wit ...
(BSL) and
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Pr ...

American Sign Language
(ASL) are quite different and mutually unintelligible, even though the hearing people of the United Kingdom and the United States share the same spoken language. The grammars of sign languages do not usually resemble those of spoken languages used in the same geographical area; in fact, in terms of syntax, ASL shares more with spoken
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
than it does with English. Similarly, countries which use a single spoken language throughout may have two or more sign languages, or an area that contains more than one spoken language might use only one sign language.
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
, which has 11 official spoken languages and a similar number of other widely used spoken languages, is a good example of this. It has only one sign language with two variants due to its history of having two major educational institutions for the deaf which have served different geographic areas of the country.


Spatial grammar and simultaneity

Sign languages exploit the unique features of the visual medium (sight), but may also exploit tactile features ( tactile sign languages). Spoken language is by and large linear; only one sound can be made or received at a time. Sign language, on the other hand, is visual and, hence, can use a simultaneous expression, although this is limited articulatorily and linguistically. Visual perception allows processing of simultaneous information. One way in which many sign languages take advantage of the spatial nature of the language is through the use of classifiers. Classifiers allow a signer to spatially show a referent's type, size, shape, movement, or extent. The large focus on the possibility of simultaneity in sign languages in contrast to spoken languages is sometimes exaggerated, though. The use of two manual articulators is subject to motor constraints, resulting in a large extent of symmetry or signing with one articulator only. Further, sign languages, just like spoken languages, depend on linear sequencing of signs to form sentences; the greater use of simultaneity is mostly seen in the
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
(internal structure of individual signs).


Non-manual elements

Sign languages convey much of their
prosody Prosody may refer to: * Sanskrit prosody, Prosody (Sanskrit), the study of poetic meters and verse in Sanskrit and one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies * Prosody (Greek), the theory and practice of Greek versification * Prosody (Lati ...
through non-manual elements. Postures or movements of the body, head, eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, and mouth are used in various combinations to show several categories of information, including lexical distinction,
grammatical In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
structure, adjectival or
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ...

adverb
ial content, and
discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful d ...

discourse
functions. At the lexical level, signs can be lexically specified for non-manual elements in addition to the manual articulation. For instance, facial expressions may accompany verbs of emotion, as in the sign for ''angry'' in
Czech Sign Language Czech Sign Language is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign la ...
. Non-manual elements may also be lexically contrastive. For example, in ASL (American Sign Language), facial components distinguish some signs from other signs. An example is the sign translated as ''not yet'', which requires that the tongue touch the lower lip and that the head rotate from side to side, in addition to the manual part of the sign. Without these features the sign would be interpreted as ''late''.
Mouthing In sign language, mouthing is the production of visual syllables with the mouth while signing. That is, signers sometimes say or mouth a word in a spoken language at the same time as producing the sign for it. Mouthing is one of the many ways in wh ...
s, which are (parts of) spoken words accompanying lexical signs, can also be contrastive, as in the manually identical signs for ''doctor'' and ''battery'' in Sign Language of the Netherlands. While the content of a signed sentence is produced manually, many grammatical functions are produced non-manually (i.e., with the face and the torso). Such functions include questions, negation, relative clauses and topicalization. ASL and BSL use similar non-manual marking for yes/no questions, for example. They are shown through raised eyebrows and a forward head tilt.Baker, Charlotte, and Dennis Cokely (1980). ''American Sign Language: A teacher's resource text on grammar and culture.'' Silver Spring, MD: T.J. Publishers.Sutton-Spence, Rachel, and Bencie Woll (1998). ''The linguistics of British Sign Language.'' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Some adjectival and adverbial information is conveyed through non-manual elements, but what these elements are varies from language to language. For instance, in ASL a slightly open mouth with the tongue relaxed and visible in the corner of the mouth means 'carelessly', but a similar non-manual in BSL means 'boring' or 'unpleasant'. Discourse functions such as turn taking are largely regulated through head movement and eye gaze. Since the addressee in a signed conversation must be watching the signer, a signer can avoid letting the other person have a turn by not looking at them, or can indicate that the other person may have a turn by making eye contact.


Iconicity

Iconicity In functional-cognitive linguistics Cognitive linguistics is an interdisciplinary branch of linguistics, combining knowledge and research from cognitive science, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, cognitive anthropolog ...
is similarity or analogy between the form of a sign (linguistic or otherwise) and its meaning, as opposed to
arbitrariness Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle". It is also used to refer to a choice made without any specific criterion or restraint. Arbitrary decisions are not necessar ...

arbitrariness
. The first studies on iconicity in ASL were published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many early sign language linguists rejected the notion that iconicity was an important aspect of sign languages, considering most perceived iconicity to be extralinguistic. However, mimetic aspects of sign language (signs that imitate, mimic, or represent) are found in abundance across a wide variety of sign languages. For example, when deaf children learning sign language try to express something but do not know the associated sign, they will often invent an iconic sign that displays mimetic properties. Though it never disappears from a particular sign language, iconicity is gradually weakened as forms of sign languages become more customary and are subsequently grammaticized. As a form becomes more conventional, it becomes disseminated in a methodical way phonologically to the rest of the sign language community. Nancy Frishberg concluded that though originally present in many signs, iconicity is degraded over time through the application of natural grammatical processes. In 1978, psychologist Roger Brown was one of the first to suggest that the properties of ASL give it a clear advantage in terms of learning and memory. In his study, Brown found that when a group of six hearing children were taught signs that had high levels of iconic mapping they were significantly more likely to recall the signs in a later memory task than another group of six children that were taught signs that had little or no iconic properties. In contrast to Brown, linguists Elissa Newport and Richard Meier found that iconicity "appears to have virtually no impact on the acquisition of American Sign Language". A central task for the pioneers of sign language linguistics was trying to prove that ASL was a real language and not merely a collection of gestures or "English on the hands." One of the prevailing beliefs at this time was that 'real languages' must consist of an arbitrary relationship between form and meaning. Thus, if ASL consisted of signs that had iconic form-meaning relationship, it could not be considered a real language. As a result, iconicity as a whole was largely neglected in research of sign languages for a long time. However, iconicity also plays a role in many spoken languages. Spoken
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
for example exhibits many words mimicking the sounds of their potential referents (see
Japanese sound symbolism Japanese has a large inventory of sound symbolic or mimetic words, known in linguistics as ideophone Ideophones are words that evoke an idea in sound, often a vivid impression of certain sensations or sensory perceptions, e.g. sound (onomatop ...
). Later researchers, thus, acknowledged that natural languages do not need to consist of an arbitrary relationship between form and meaning. The visual nature of sign language simply allows for a greater degree of iconicity compared to spoken languages as most real-world objects can be described by a prototypical shape (e.g., a table usually has a flat surface), but most real-world objects do not make prototypical sounds that can be mimicked by spoken languages (e.g., tables do not make prototypical sounds). It has to be noted, however, that sign languages are not fully iconic. On the one hand, there are also many arbitrary signs in sign languages and, on the other hand, the grammar of a sign language puts limits to the degree of iconicity: All known sign languages, for example, express lexical concepts via manual signs. From a truly iconic language one would expect that a concept like smiling would be expressed by mimicking a smile (i.e., by performing a smiling face). All known sign languages, however, do not express the concept of smiling by a smiling face, but by a manual sign. The
cognitive linguistics Cognitive linguistics is an interdisciplinary branch of linguistics, combining knowledge and research from cognitive science, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, cognitive anthropology and linguistics. Models and theoretical ...
perspective rejects a more traditional definition of iconicity as a relationship between linguistic form and a concrete, real-world referent. Rather it is a set of selected correspondences between the form and meaning of a sign.Taub, S. (2001). ''Language from the body''. New York : Cambridge University Press. In this view, iconicity is grounded in a language user's mental representation (" construal" in
cognitive grammar Cognitive grammar is a cognitive approach to language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
). It is defined as a fully grammatical and central aspect of a sign language rather than a peripheral phenomenon. The cognitive linguistics perspective allows for some signs to be fully iconic or partially iconic given the number of correspondences between the possible parameters of form and meaning. In this way, the
Israeli Sign Language Israeli Sign Language, or ISL, is the most commonly used sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...
(ISL) sign for ''ask'' has parts of its form that are iconic ("movement away from the mouth" means "something coming from the mouth"), and parts that are arbitrary (the handshape, and the orientation). Many signs have
metaphoric A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between two different ideas. Metaphors are often compared with ...
mappings as well as iconic or metonymic ones. For these signs there are three-way correspondences between a form, a concrete source and an abstract target meaning. The ASL sign LEARN has this three-way correspondence. The abstract target meaning is "learning". The concrete source is putting objects into the head from books. The form is a grasping hand moving from an open palm to the forehead. The iconic correspondence is between form and concrete source. The metaphorical correspondence is between concrete source and abstract target meaning. Because the concrete source is connected to two correspondences linguistics refer to metaphorical signs as "double mapped".


Classification

Although sign languages have emerged naturally in deaf communities alongside or among spoken languages, they are unrelated to spoken languages and have different grammatical structures at their core. Sign languages may be classified by how they arise. In non-signing communities,
home sign Home sign (or kitchen sign) is a gestural communication system, often invented spontaneously by a deaf child who lacks accessible linguistic input. Home sign systems often arise in families where a deaf child is raised by hearing parents and is isol ...
is not a full language, but closer to a
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
. Home sign is amorphous and generally idiosyncratic to a particular family, where a deaf child does not have contact with other deaf children and is not educated in sign. Such systems are not generally passed on from one generation to the next. Where they are passed on,
creolization Creolization is the process through which creole languages and cultures emerge. Creolization was first used by linguists to explain how contact languages Language contact occurs when speakers of two or more languages A language is a structure ...
would be expected to occur, resulting in a full language. However, home sign may also be closer to full language in communities where the hearing population has a gestural mode of language; examples include various
Australian Aboriginal sign languages Many Australian Aboriginal cultures have or traditionally had a manually coded language, a sign language, signed counterpart of their oral language. This appears to be connected with various avoidance speech, speech taboos between certain kin or ...
and gestural systems across West Africa, such as Mofu-Gudur in Cameroon. A village sign language is a local indigenous language that typically arises over several generations in a relatively insular community with a high incidence of deafness, and is used both by the deaf and by a significant portion of the hearing community, who have deaf family and friends. The most famous of these is probably the extinct Martha's Vineyard Sign Language of the US, but there are also numerous village languages scattered throughout Africa, Asia, and America. Deaf-community sign languages, on the other hand, arise where deaf people come together to form their own communities. These include school sign, such as Nicaraguan Sign Language, which develop in the student bodies of deaf schools which do not use sign as a language of instruction, as well as community languages such as Bamako Sign Language, which arise where generally uneducated deaf people congregate in urban centers for employment. At first, Deaf-community sign languages are not generally known by the hearing population, in many cases not even by close family members. However, they may grow, in some cases becoming a language of instruction and receiving official recognition, as in the case of ASL. Both contrast with speech taboo, speech-taboo languages such as the various Aboriginal Australian sign languages, which are developed by the hearing community and only used secondarily by the deaf. It is doubtful whether most of these are languages in their own right, rather than manual codes of spoken languages, though a few such as Yolngu Sign Language are independent of any particular spoken language. Hearing people may also develop sign to communicate with users of other languages, as in Plains Indian Sign Language; this was a contact signing system or
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
that was evidently not used by deaf people in the Plains nations, though it presumably influenced home sign. Language contact and creole language, creolization is common in the development of sign languages, making clear family classifications difficult – it is often unclear whether lexical similarity is due to borrowing or a common parent language, or whether there was one or several parent languages, such as several village languages merging into a Deaf-community language. Contact occurs between sign languages, between sign and spoken languages (contact sign, a kind of pidgin), and between sign languages and gesture, gestural systems used by the broader community. One author has speculated that Adamorobe Sign Language, a village sign language of Ghana, may be related to the "gestural trade jargon used in the markets throughout West Africa", in vocabulary and areal features including prosody and phonetics.Wittmann, H. (1991). Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement. ''Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée'', 10(1), 88. * British Sign Language, BSL,
Auslan Auslan () is the majority of the . The term ''Auslan'' is a of "Australian Sign Language", coined by in the 1980s, although the itself is much older. Auslan is related to (BSL) and (NZSL); the three have descended from the same , and tog ...
and NZSL are usually considered to be a language known as BANZSL. Maritime Sign Language and South African Sign Language are also related to BSL. * Danish Sign Language and its descendants Norwegian Sign Language and Icelandic Sign Language are largely mutually intelligible with Swedish Sign Language. Finnish Sign Language and Portuguese Sign Language derive from Swedish SL, though with local admixture in the case of mutually unintelligible Finnish SL. Danish SL has French SL influence and Wittmann (1991) places them in that family, though he proposes that Swedish, Finnish, and Portuguese SL are instead related to
British Sign Language British Sign Language (BSL) is a sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination wit ...
. * Indian Sign Language ISL is similar to Pakistani Sign Language. (ISL fingerspelling uses both hands, similarly to British Sign Language.). * Japanese Sign Language, Taiwanese Sign Language and Korean Sign Language are thought to be members of a Japanese Sign Language family. * French Sign Language family. There are a number of sign languages that emerged from
French Sign Language French Sign Language (french: langue des signes française, LSF) is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spok ...
(LSF), or are the result of language contact between local community sign languages and LSF. These include:
French Sign Language French Sign Language (french: langue des signes française, LSF) is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spok ...
, Italian Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language,
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Pr ...

American Sign Language
, Irish Sign Language, Russian Sign Language, Dutch Sign Language (NGT), Spanish Sign Language, Mexican Sign Language, Brazilian Sign Language, Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), Catalan Sign Language, Ukrainian Sign Language, Austrian Sign Language (along with its twin Hungarian Sign Language and its offspring
Czech Sign Language Czech Sign Language is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign la ...
) and others. ** A subset of this group includes languages that have been heavily influenced by American Sign Language (ASL), or are regional varieties of ASL. Bolivian Sign Language is sometimes considered a dialect of ASL. Thai Sign Language is a mixed language derived from ASL and the native sign languages of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and may be considered part of the ASL family. Others possibly influenced by ASL include Ugandan Sign Language, Kenyan Sign Language, Philippine Sign Language and Malaysian Sign Language. ** According to an SIL report, the sign languages of Russia, Moldova and Ukraine share a high degree of lexical similarity and may be dialects of one language, or distinct related languages. The same report suggested a "cluster" of sign languages centered around
Czech Sign Language Czech Sign Language is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign la ...
, Hungarian Sign Language and Slovak Sign Language. This group may also include Romanian Sign Language, Romanian, Bulgarian Sign Language, Bulgarian, and Polish Sign Language, Polish sign languages. * German Sign Language (DGS) gave rise to Polish Sign Language; it also at least strongly influenced
Israeli Sign Language Israeli Sign Language, or ISL, is the most commonly used sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...
, though it is unclear whether the latter derives from DGS or from Austrian Sign Language, which is in the French family. * Lyons Sign Language may be the source of Flemish Sign Language (VGT) though this is unclear. * Sign languages of Jordanian Sign Language, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq (and possibly Saudi Sign Language, Saudi Arabia) may be part of a sprachbund, or may be one dialect of a larger Eastern Arabic Sign Language. * Known Language isolate#Sign language isolates, isolates include Nicaraguan Sign Language, Turkish Sign Language, Kata Kolok, Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language and Providence Island Sign Language. The only comprehensive classification along these lines going beyond a simple listing of languages dates back to 1991. The classification is based on the 69 sign languages from the 1988 edition of
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicatio ...
that were known at the time of the 1989 conference on sign languages in Montreal and 11 more languages the author added after the conference. In his classification, the author distinguishes between primary and auxiliary sign languages as well as between single languages and names that are thought to refer to more than one language. The prototype-A class of languages includes all those sign languages that seemingly cannot be derived from any other language.These are Adamorobe Sign Language, Armenian Sign Language,
Australian Aboriginal sign languages Many Australian Aboriginal cultures have or traditionally had a manually coded language, a sign language, signed counterpart of their oral language. This appears to be connected with various avoidance speech, speech taboos between certain kin or ...
, Hindu mudra, the Monastic sign languages, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language, Plains Indian Sign Language, Urubú-Kaapor Sign Language, Chinese Sign Language, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language (Pakistani SL is said to be R, but Indian SL to be A, though they are the same language), Japanese Sign Language, and maybe the various Thai Hill-Country sign languages,
French Sign Language French Sign Language (french: langue des signes française, LSF) is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spok ...
, Lyons Sign Language, and Mayan sign languages, Nohya Maya Sign Language. Wittmann also includes, bizarrely, Chinese characters and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Prototype-R languages are languages that are remotely modelled on a prototype-A language (in many cases thought to have been French Sign Language) by a process Kroeber (1940) called "stimulus diffusion".These are Providencia Island Sign Language, Providencia Island, Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia (manually signed Malay), German Sign Language, German, Ecuadorian Sign Language, Ecuadoran, Salvadoran Sign Language, Salvadoran, Gestuno, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language, Indo-Pakistani (Pakistani SL is said to be R, but Indian SL to be A, though they are the same language), Kenyan Sign Language, Kenyan, Brazilian Sign Language, Brazilian, Spanish Sign Language, Spanish, Nepali Sign Language, Nepali (with possible admixture), Penang Sign Language, Penang, Rennellese Sign Language, Rennellese, Saudi Sign Language, Saudi, the various Sri Lankan sign languages, and perhaps BSL, Peruvian Sign Language, Peruvian, Tijuana Sign Language, Tijuana (spurious), Venezuelan Sign Language, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan Sign Language, Nicaraguan sign languages. The families of BANZSL, BSL, German Sign Language, DGS, Japanese Sign Language, JSL, French Sign Language, LSF (and possibly Lyons Sign Language, LSG) were the products of creolization and relexification of prototype languages. Creolization is seen as enriching overt morphology in sign languages, as compared to reducing overt morphology in spoken languages.


Typology

Linguistic typology (going back to Edward Sapir) is based on word structure and distinguishes Morphology (linguistics), morphological classes such as Agglutination, agglutinating/concatenating, Inflexion, inflectional, polysynthetic, incorporating, and isolating ones. Sign languages vary in word-order typology. For example, Austrian Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language and Indo-Pakistani Sign Language are Subject-object-verb while ASL is Subject-verb-object. Influence from the surrounding spoken languages is not improbable. Sign languages tend to be incorporating classifier languages, where a classifier handshape representing the object is incorporated into those transitive verbs which allow such modification. For a similar group of intransitive verbs (especially motion verbs), it is the subject which is incorporated. Only in a very few sign languages (for instance Japanese Sign Language) are agents ever incorporated. In this way, since subjects of intransitives are treated similarly to objects of transitives, incorporation in sign languages can be said to follow an ergative pattern. BrentariBrentari, Diane (1998) ''A prosodic model of sign language phonology''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press classifies sign languages as a whole group determined by the medium of communication (visual instead of auditory) as one group with the features monosyllabic and polymorphemic. That means, that one syllable (i.e. one word, one sign) can express several morphemes, e.g., subject and object of a verb determine the direction of the verb's movement (inflection). Another aspect of typology that has been studied in sign languages is their systems for Cardinal number (linguistics), cardinal numbers. Typologically significant differences have been found between sign languages.


Acquisition

Children who are exposed to a sign language from birth will acquire it, just as hearing children acquire their native spoken language. The Critical Period hypothesis suggests that language, spoken or signed, is more easily acquired as a child at a young age versus an adult because of the brain plasticity, plasticity of the child's brain. In a study done at the University of McGill, they found that American Sign Language users who acquired the language natively (from birth) performed better when asked to copy videos of ASL sentences than ASL users who acquired the language later in life. They also found that there are differences in the grammatical morphology of ASL sentences between the two groups, all suggesting that there is a very important critical period in learning signed languages. The acquisition of non-manual features follows an interesting pattern: When a word that always has a particular non-manual feature associated with it (such as a wh- question word) is learned, the non-manual aspects are attached to the word but don't have the flexibility associated with adult use. At a certain point, the non-manual features are dropped and the word is produced with no facial expression. After a few months, the non-manuals reappear, this time being used the way adult signers would use them.


Written forms

Sign languages do not have a traditional or formal written form. Many deaf people do not see a need to write their own language. Several ways to represent sign languages in written form have been developed. * Stokoe notation, devised by Dr. William Stokoe for his 1965 ''Dictionary of American Sign Language'',Stokoe, William C.; Dorothy C. Casterline; Carl G. Croneberg. 1965. ''A dictionary of American sign language on linguistic principles''. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet College Press is an abstract phonemic notation system. Designed specifically for representing the use of the hands, it has no way of expressing facial expression or other non-manual features of sign languages. However, his was designed for research, particularly in a dictionary, not for general use. * The Hamburg Notation System (HamNoSys), developed in the early 1990s, is a detailed phonetic system, not designed for any one sign language, and intended as a transcription system for researchers rather than as a practical script. * David J. Peterson has attempted to create a phonetic transcription system for signing that is ASCII-friendly known as th
Sign Language International Phonetic Alphabet (SLIPA)
* SignWriting, developed by Valerie Sutton in 1974, is a system for representing sign languages phonetically (including mouthing, facial expression and dynamics of movement). The script is sometimes used for detailed research, language documentation, as well as publishing texts and works in sign languages. * si5s is another orthography which is largely phonemic. However, a few signs are logogram, logographs and/or ideographs due to regional variation in sign languages. * ASL-phabet is a system designed primarily for education of deaf children by Dr. Samuel James Supalla, Sam Supalla which uses a minimalist collection of symbols in the order of Handshape-Location-Movement. Many signs can be written the same way (homograph). *The Alphabetic Writing System for sign languages (, SEA, by its Spanish name and acronym), developed by linguist Ángel Herrero Blanco and two deaf researchers, Juan José Alfaro and Inmacualada Cascales, was published as a book in 2003 and made accessible in Spanish Sign Language on-line. This system makes use of the letters of the Latin alphabet with a few diacritics to represent sign through the morphemic sequence S L C Q D F (bimanual sign, place, contact, handshape, direction and internal form). The resulting words are meant to be read by signing. The system is designed to be applicable to any sign language with minimal modification and to be usable through any medium without special equipment or software. Non-manual elements can be encoded to some extent, but the authors argue that the system does not need to represent all elements of a sign to be practical, the same way written oral language doesn't. The system has seen some updates which are kept publicly on a wiki page. The Center for Linguistic Normalization of Spanish Sign Language has made use of SEA to transcribe all signs on its dictionary. So far, there is no consensus regarding the written form of sign language. Except for SignWriting, none are widely used. Maria Galea writes that SignWriting "is becoming widespread, uncontainable and untraceable. In the same way that works written in and about a well developed writing system such as the Latin script, the time has arrived where SW is so widespread, that it is impossible in the same way to list all works that have been produced using this writing system and that have been written about this writing system." In 2015, the Federal University of Santa Catarina accepted a dissertation written in Brazilian Sign Language using Sutton SignWriting for a master's degree in linguistics. The dissertation "The Writing of Grammatical Non-Manual Expressions in Sentences in LIBRAS Using the SignWriting System" by João Paulo Ampessan states that "the data indicate the need for [non-manual expressions] usage in writing sign language".


Sign perception

For a native signer, American Sign Language, sign Categorical perception, perception influences how the mind makes sense of their visual language experience. For example, a handshape may vary based on the other signs made before or after it, but these variations are arranged in perceptual categories during its development. The mind detects handshape contrasts but groups similar handshapes together in one category. Different handshapes are stored in other categories. The mind ignores some of the similarities between different perceptual categories, at the same time preserving the visual information within each perceptual category of handshape variation.


In society


Deaf communities and Deaf culture

When Deaf people constitute a relatively small proportion of the general population, Deaf communities often develop that are distinct from the surrounding hearing community. These Deaf communities are very widespread in the world, associated especially with sign languages used in urban areas and throughout a nation, and the cultures they have developed are very rich. One example of sign language variation in the Deaf community is Black ASL. This sign language was developed in the Black Deaf community as a variant during the American era of segregation and racism, where young Black Deaf students were forced to attend separate schools than their white Deaf peers.


Teaching country's sign languages in schools

Due to much exposure to sign language-interpreted announcements on national television, more schools and universities are expressing interest in incorporating sign language. In the US, enrollment for ASL (American Sign Language) classes as part of students' choice of second language is on the rise. In New Zealand, one year after the passing of NZSL Act 2006 in parliament, a NZSL curriculum was released for schools to take NZSL as an optional subject. The curriculum and teaching materials were designed to target intermediate schools from Years 7 to 10,
NZ Herald
2007).


Use of sign languages in hearing communities

On occasion, where the prevalence of deaf people is high enough, a deaf sign language has been taken up by an entire local community, forming what is sometimes called a "village sign language" or "shared signing community". Typically this happens in small, tightly integrated communities with a closed gene pool. Famous examples include: * Martha's Vineyard Sign Language, United States * Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, Israel * Kata Kolok, Bali * Adamorobe Sign Language, Ghana * Mayan Sign Language#Yucatec Mayan Sign Language, Yucatec Maya Sign Language, Mexico In such communities deaf people are generally well-integrated in the general community and not socially disadvantaged, so much so that it is difficult to speak of a separate "Deaf" community. Many
Australian Aboriginal sign languages Many Australian Aboriginal cultures have or traditionally had a manually coded language, a sign language, signed counterpart of their oral language. This appears to be connected with various avoidance speech, speech taboos between certain kin or ...
arose in a context of extensive speech taboos, such as during mourning and initiation rites. They are or were especially highly developed among the Warlpiri Sign Language, Warlpiri, Warumungu people, Warumungu, Dieri, Kaytetye people, Kaytetye, Arrernte people, Arrernte, and Warlmanpa language, Warlmanpa, and are based on their respective spoken languages. A
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
sign language arose among tribes of Native Americans in the United States, American Indians in the Great Plains region of North America (see Plains Indian Sign Language). It was used by hearing people to communicate among tribes with different spoken languages, as well as by deaf people. There are especially users today among the Crow tribe, Crow, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Unlike Australian Aboriginal sign languages, it shares the spatial grammar of deaf sign languages. In the 1500s, a Spanish expeditionary, Cabeza de Vaca, observed natives in the western part of modern-day Florida using sign language, and in the mid-16th century Francisco de Coronado, Coronado mentioned that communication with the Tonkawa using signs was possible without a translator. Whether or not these gesture systems reached the stage at which they could properly be called languages is still up for debate. There are estimates indicating that as many as 2% of Native Americans are seriously or completely deaf, a rate more than twice the national average. Sign language is also used by some people as a form of alternative or augmentative communication by people who can hear but cannot use their voices to speak.


Legal recognition

Some sign languages have obtained some form of legal recognition, while others have no status at all. Sarah Batterbury has argued that sign languages should be recognized and supported not merely as an accommodation for the disabled, but as the communication medium of language communities.


Telecommunications

One of the first demonstrations of the ability for telecommunications to help sign language users communicate with each other occurred when AT&T Corporation, AT&T's videophone (trademarked as the Picturephone) was introduced to the public at the 1964 New York World's Fair – two deaf users were able to freely communicate with each other between the fair and another city.Bell Laboratories RECORD (1969
A collection of several articles on the AT&T Picturephone
(then about to be released) Bell Laboratories, Pg.134–153 & 160–187, Volume 47, No. 5, May/June 1969;
However, video communication did not become widely available until sufficient bandwidth for the high volume of video data became available in the early 2000s. The Internet now allows deaf people to talk via a video link, either with a special-purpose videophone designed for use with sign language or with "off-the-shelf" videotelephony, video services designed for use with broadband and an ordinary computer webcam. The List of video telecommunication services and product brands, special videophones that are designed for sign language communication may provide better quality than 'off-the-shelf' services and may use data compression methods specifically designed to maximize the intelligibility of sign languages. Some advanced equipment enables a person to remotely control the other person's video camera, in order to zoom in and out or to point the camera better to understand the signing.


Interpretation

In order to facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people, sign language interpreters are often used. Such activities involve considerable effort on the part of the interpreter, since sign languages are distinct
natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Professionals in this branch of psychology often focus on ...
s with their own
syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntax
, different from any spoken language. The interpretation flow is normally between a sign language and a spoken language that are customarily used in the same country, such as
French Sign Language French Sign Language (french: langue des signes française, LSF) is the sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spok ...
(LSF) and spoken French in France, Spanish Sign Language (LSE) to spoken Spanish in Spain,
British Sign Language British Sign Language (BSL) is a sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination wit ...
(BSL) and spoken English in the U.K., and
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Pr ...

American Sign Language
(ASL) and spoken English in the US and most of anglophone Canada (since BSL and ASL are distinct sign languages both used in English-speaking countries), etc. Sign language interpreters who can translate between signed and spoken languages that are not normally paired (such as between LSE and English), are also available, albeit less frequently. With recent developments in artificial intelligence in computer science, some recent deep learning based machine translation of sign languages, machine translation algorithms have been developed which automatically translate short videos containing sign language sentences (often simple sentence consists of only one clause) directly to written language.


Remote interpreting

Interpreters may be physically present with both parties to the conversation but, since the technological advancements in the early 2000s, provision of interpreters in remote locations has become available. In video remote interpreting (VRI), the two clients (a sign language user and a hearing person who wish to communicate with each other) are in one location, and the interpreter is in another. The interpreter communicates with the sign language user via a video telecommunications link, and with the hearing person by an audio link. VRI can be used for situations in which no on-site interpreters are available. However, VRI cannot be used for situations in which all parties are speaking via telephone alone. With video relay service (VRS), the sign language user, the interpreter, and the hearing person are in three separate locations, thus allowing the two clients to talk to each other on the phone through the interpreter.


Interpretation on television

Sign language is sometimes provided for television programmes that include speech. The signer usually appears in the bottom corner of the screen, with the programme being broadcasting, broadcast full size or slightly shrunk away from that corner. Typically for press conferences such as those given by the Mayor of New York City, the signer appears to stage left or right of the public official to allow both the speaker and signer to be in frame at the same time. Paddy Ladd initiated deaf programming on United Kingdom, British television in the 1980s and is credited with getting sign language on television and enabling deaf children to be educated in sign. In traditional analogue broadcasting, many programmes are repeated, often in the early hours of the morning, with the signer present rather than have them appear at the main broadcast time. This is due to the distraction they cause to those not wishing to see the signer. On the BBC, many programmes that broadcast late at night or early in the morning are signed. Some emerging television technologies allow the viewer to turn the signer on and off in a similar manner to subtitles and closed captioning. Legal requirements covering sign language on television vary from country to country. In the United Kingdom, the Broadcasting Act 1996 addressed the requirements for blind and deaf viewers, but has since been replaced by the Communications Act 2003.


Language endangerment and extinction

As with any spoken language, sign languages are also vulnerable to becoming Endangered languages, endangered. For example, a sign language used by a small community may be endangered and even abandoned as users Language shift, shift to a sign language used by a larger community, as has happened with Hawai'i Sign Language, which is almost extinct except for a few elderly signers. Even nationally recognised sign languages can be endangered; for example, New Zealand Sign Language is losing users. Methods are being developed to assess the language vitality of sign languages. ;Endangered sign languages: *Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) *Ban Khor Sign Language (BKSL) *Benkala Sign Language (KK) *Finland-Swedish Sign Language (FinSSL) *Hawai'i Sign Language (HPSL) *Inuit Sign Language (IUR) *Jamaican Country Sign Language (KS) *Maritime Sign Language (MSL) *Old Bangkok Sign Language (OBSL) *Old Chiangmai Sign Language (OCSL) *Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL) *Providencia Sign Language (PSL) *Rennellese Sign Language (RSL) ;Extinct sign languages: * Angami Naga Sign Language * Belgian Sign Language (BGT) * Henniker Sign Language * Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL) * Ngarrindjeri language#Sign, Ngarrindjeri sign language * Old French Sign Language (VLSF) * Old Kentish Sign Language (OKSL) * Pitta Pitta language#Sign, Pitta Pitta sign language * Plateau Sign Language * Sandy River Valley Sign Language * Warluwarra language#Sign, Warluwarra sign language


Communication systems similar to sign language

There are a number of communication systems that are similar in some respects to sign languages, while not having all the characteristics of a full sign language, particularly its grammatical structure. Many of these are either precursors to natural sign languages or are derived from them.


Manual codes for spoken languages

When Deaf and Hearing people interact, signing systems may be developed that use signs drawn from a natural sign language but used according to the grammar of the spoken language. In particular, when people devise one-for-one sign-for-word correspondences between spoken words (or even morphemes) and signs that represent them, the system that results is a manual code for a spoken language, rather than a natural sign language. Such systems may be invented in an attempt to help teach Deaf children the spoken language, and generally are not used outside an educational context.


"Baby sign language" with hearing children

Some hearing parents teach signs to young hearing children. Since the muscles in babies' hands grow and develop quicker than their mouths, signs are seen as a beneficial option for better communication. Babies can usually produce signs before they can speak. This reduces the confusion between parents when trying to figure out what their child wants. When the child begins to speak, signing is usually abandoned, so the child does not progress to acquiring the grammar of the sign language. This is in contrast to hearing children who grow up with Deaf parents, who generally acquire the full sign language natively, the same as Deaf children of Deaf parents.


Home sign

Informal, rudimentary sign systems are sometimes developed within a single family. For instance, when hearing parents with no sign language skills have a deaf child, the child may develop a system of signs naturally, unless repressed by the parents. The term for these mini-languages is
home sign Home sign (or kitchen sign) is a gestural communication system, often invented spontaneously by a deaf child who lacks accessible linguistic input. Home sign systems often arise in families where a deaf child is raised by hearing parents and is isol ...
(sometimes "kitchen sign"). Home sign arises due to the absence of any other way to communicate. Within the span of a single lifetime and without the support or feedback of a community, the child naturally invents signs to help meet his or her communication needs, and may even develop a few grammatical rules for combining short sequences of signs. Still, this kind of system is inadequate for the intellectual development of a child and it comes nowhere near meeting the standards linguists use to describe a complete language. No type of home sign is recognized as a full language.


Primate use

There have been several notable examples of scientists teaching signs to non-human primates in order to communicate with humans, such as chimpanzees,Plooij, F.X. (1978) "Some basic traits of language in wild chimpanzees?" in A. Lock (ed.) ''Action, Gesture and Symbol'' New York: Academic Press.Gardner, R.A., Gardner, B.T., and Van Cantfort, T.E. (1989), ''Teaching Sign Language to Chimpanzees'', Albany: SUNY Press.Terrace, H.S. (1979). ''Nim: A chimpanzee who learned Sign Language'' New York: Knopf. gorillasPatterson, F.G. and Linden E. (1981), ''The education of Koko'', New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston and orangutans.Miles, H.L. (1990) "The cognitive foundations for reference in a signing orangutan" in S.T. Parker and K.R. Gibson (eds.) ''"Language" and intelligence in monkeys and apes'': Comparative Developmental Perspectives. Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 511–539. . However, linguists generally point out that this does not constitute knowledge of a human ''language'' as a complete system, rather than simply signs/words. Notable examples of animals who have learned signs include: * Chimpanzees: Washoe (chimpanzee), Washoe, Nim Chimpsky and Loulis (chimpanzee), Loulis * Gorillas: Koko (gorilla), Koko and Michael (gorilla), Michael


Gestural theory of human language origins

One theory of the evolution of human language states that it developed first as a gestural system, which later shifted to speech. An important question for this gestural theory is what caused the shift to vocalization.Blondin-Massé, Alexandre; Harnad, Stevan; Picard, Olivier; and St-Louis, Bernard (2013
Symbol Grounding and the Origin of Language: From Show to Tell
In, Lefebvre, Claire; Cohen, Henri; and Comrie, Bernard (eds.) ''New Perspectives on the Origins of Language.'' Benjamin


See also

* Animal language * Body language * Braille * Fingerspelling * Phoneme#Chereme, Chereme * Chinese number gestures * Gang signal * Gestures * Intercultural competence *
International Sign International Sign (IS) is a pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are li ...
* Legal recognition of sign languages * List of international common standards * List of sign languages * List of sign languages by number of native signers * Manual communication * Metacommunicative competence * Modern Sign Language communication * Origin of language * Origin of speech * Sign language glove * Sign language in infants and toddlers * Sign language media * ''Sign Language Studies'' (journal) * Sign name * Sociolinguistics of sign languages * Tactile signing * Machine translation of sign languages


References


Bibliography

* * Branson, J., D. Miller, & I G. Marsaja. (1996). "Everyone here speaks sign language, too: a deaf village in Bali, Indonesia." In: C. Lucas (ed.): Multicultural aspects of sociolinguistics in deaf communities. Washington, Gallaudet University Press, pp. 39+ * Deuchar, Margaret (1987). "Sign languages as creoles and Chomsky's notion of Universal Grammar." ''Essays in honor of Noam Chomsky'', 81–91. New York: Falmer. * Karen Emmorey, Emmorey, Karen; & Harlan Lane, Lane, Harlan L. (Eds.). (2000). ''The signs of language revisited: An anthology to honor Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima''. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. . * Fischer, Susan D. (1974). "Sign language and linguistic universals." ''Actes du Colloque franco-allemand de grammaire générative'', 2.187–204. Tübingen: Niemeyer. * * Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2003), ''The Resilience of Language: What Gesture Creation in Deaf Children Can Tell Us About How All Children Learn Language'', Psychology Press, a subsidiary of Taylor & Francis, New York, 2003 * Gordon, Raymond, ed. (2008). ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'', 15th edition. SIL International, . Sections for primary sign language

and alternative one

* Groce, Nora E. (1988). ''Everyone here spoke sign language: Hereditary deafness on Martha's Vineyard''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. . * Healy, Alice F. (1980). "Can Chimpanzees learn a phonemic language?" In: Sebeok, Thomas A. & Jean Umiker-Sebeok, eds, Speaking of apes: a critical anthology of two-way communication with man. New York: Plenum, 141–43. * Kamei, Nobutaka (2004). ''The Sign Languages of Africa'', "Journal of African Studies" (Japan Association for African Studies) Vol. 64, March, 2004. [NOTE: Kamei lists 23 African sign languages in this article]. * * Judy Kegl, Kegl, Judy, Senghas A., Coppola M (1999). "Creation through contact: Sign language emergence and sign language change in Nicaragua." In: M. DeGraff (ed.), ''Comparative Grammatical Change: The Intersection of Language Acquisition, Creole Genesis, and Diachronic Syntax'', pp. 179–237. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. * Judy Kegl, Kegl, Judy (2004). "Language Emergence in a Language-Ready Brain: Acquisition Issues." In: Jenkins, Lyle (ed.), ''Biolinguistics and the Evolution of Language''. John Benjamins. * Kendon, Adam. (1988). ''Sign Languages of Aboriginal Australia: Cultural, Semiotic and Communicative Perspectives.'' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * * Lane, Harlan L. (Ed.). (1984). ''The Deaf experience: Classics in language and education''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. . * Lane, Harlan L. (1984). ''When the mind hears: A history of the deaf''. New York: Random House. . * Madell, Samantha (1998). ''Warlpiri Sign Language and Auslan – A Comparison''. M.A. Thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. * Madsen, Willard J. (1982), ''Intermediate Conversational Sign Language''. Gallaudet University Press. . * O'Reilly, S. (2005). ''Indigenous Sign Language and Culture; the interpreting and access needs of Deaf people who are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in Far North Queensland''. Sponsored by ASLIA, the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association. * Carol Padden, Padden, Carol; & Tom Humphries, Humphries, Tom. (1988). ''Deaf in America: Voices from a culture''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. . * Pfau, Roland, Markus Steinbach & Bencie Woll (eds.), ''Sign language. An international handbook (HSK – Handbooks of linguistics and communication science).'' Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. * Poizner, Howard; Klima, Edward S.; & Bellugi, Ursula. (1987). ''What the hands reveal about the brain''. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. David Premack, Premack, David, & Ann J. Premack (1983). ''The mind of an ape''. New York: Norton. * * Oliver Sacks, Sacks, Oliver W. (1989). ''Seeing Voices, Seeing voices: A journey into the world of the deaf''. Berkeley: University of California Press. . * Sandler, Wendy (2003). "Sign Language Phonology". In William Frawley (Ed.), The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Linguistic

* Sandler, Wendy & Lillo-Martin, Diane (2001). "Natural sign languages". In M. Aronoff & J. Rees-Miller (Eds.), ''Handbook of linguistics'' (pp. 533–562). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. . * Stiles-Davis, Joan; Kritchevsky, Mark; & Bellugi, Ursula (Eds.). (1988). ''Spatial cognition: Brain bases and development''. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates. ; . * William C. Stokoe, Stokoe, William C. (1960, 1978). ''Sign language structure: An outline of the visual communication systems of the American deaf''. Studies in linguistics, Occasional papers, No. 8, Dept. of Anthropology and Linguistics, University at Buffalo. 2d ed., Silver Spring: Md: Linstok Press. * William C. Stokoe, Stokoe, William C. (1974). Classification and description of sign languages. Current Trends in Linguistics 12.345–71. * Twilhaar, Jan Nijen, and Beppie van den Bogaerde. 2016. ''Concise Lexicon for Sign Linguistics''. John Benjamins Publishing Company. * Valli, Clayton, Ceil Lucas, and Kristin Mulrooney. (2005) ''Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction'', 4th Ed. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. * Van Deusen-Phillips S.B., Goldin-Meadow S., Miller P.J., 2001. ''Enacting Stories, Seeing Worlds: Similarities and Differences in the Cross-Cultural Narrative Development of Linguistically Isolated Deaf Children'', Human Development, Vol. 44, No. 6. * Wilbur, R.B. (1987). ''American Sign Language: Linguistic and applied dimensions''. San Diego, CA: College-Hill.


Further reading

* Margalit Fox, Fox, Margalit (2007) ''Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind '', Simon & Schuster * Quenqua, Douglas
Pushing Science's Limits in Sign Language Lexicon
''The New York Times'', December 4, 2012, p. D1 and published online at NYTimes.com on December 3, 2012. Retrieved on December 7, 2012.


Academic journals related to sign languages

* ''American Annals of the Deaf'', Gallaudet University Press *
Journal of American Sign Language and Literature
'
ASLized!
* ''Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education'', Oxford University Press * ''Sign Language Studies'', Gallaudet University Press *
Sign Language & Linguistics
', John Benjamins Publishing Company


External links

''Note: the articles for List of sign languages, specific sign languages (e.g. American Sign Language, ASL or British Sign Language, BSL) may contain further external links, e.g. for learning those languages.''
Langue:Signes du Monde
directory for all online Sign Languages dictionaries


The MUSSLAP Project
Multimodal Human Speech and Sign Language Processing for Human-Machine Communication * Mallery, Garrick. 1879–1880

]''. Project Gutenberg.'' * Pablo Bonet, J. de (1620) [http://bibliotecadigitalhispanica.bne.es:80/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIGITOOL-3&owner=resourcediscovery&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=180918 ], (BNE).
Watch the Bible and other video publications in 99 sign languages
Bibles and sign-language study material by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Science in Sign
(video, 3 min. 48 secs.), by Davis, Leslye & Huang, Jon & Xaquin, G.V.; interpreted by Callis, Lydia, on NYTimes.com website, December 4, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012. The video translates a shortened version of a ''N.Y. Times'' science article on how new signs are being developed to enhance communication in the sciences, extracted from: ** Quenqua, Douglas

''The New York Times'', December 4, 2012, p.D1 and published online at NYTimes.com on December 3, 2012. Retrieved on December 7, 2012.
signlangtv.org
a project documenting sign language television shows for the deaf around the world * {{DEFAULTSORT:Sign Language Sign language, Sign languages, Language Deafness Deaf culture Education for the deaf Articles containing video clips