Sign Languages

Eight Facts About Sign Languages

  1. Sign languages are natural languages, originating spontaneously in deaf communities and spreading across generations by the people who uses them. They are not artificial or invented languages!
  2. They are different around the world, and independent of surrounding spoken languages. For example, British Sign Language is different from American Sign Language.
  3. Sign languages are organised at the same syntactic, semantic, phonological and morphological levels of spoken language.
  4. They are different from gestures and pantomime.
  5. They are perceived in the visuo-spatial modality.
  6. Signs are created by articulations of the hands, arms and face.
  7. Each sign is a combination of specific phonological units, including handshape, hand-location and hand-movement.
  8. They use space for grammatical purposes. Examples include establishing linguistic relationships between entities or designating points in space to specific objects in a discourse.
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