Jump to content
Linguaholic
Improve your knowledge of any language online

Is there one universal sign language?


True2marie
 Share

Recommended Posts

By now, I am sure most people heard about the fiasco at Nelson Mandela's memorial service. The sign language interpreter messed up royally and conveyed gibberish through his signing.  This whole event got me thinking.  Is there one universal sign language?  Maybe he was using a different form of sign language?

nelson-mandela-interprete-448108.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Around the world there are many different types of sign language just like there are many different languages.  the ASL or American sign language is not a universal language but other countries do incorporate a lot of it, at least in terms of some of the basic and more common signs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I studied with deaf and dumb kids, and as far as I know there isn't an universal sign language. Sign language is as complex as your average spoken language, they even have slang words, those slang words have their own sign.  I remember I learn the sign alphabet.  The sign language is a really rich one, make no mistake :)  Hehehe, they swore a lot at each other in that class!

By the way, they believe that guy at Mandela's memorial has mental issues.  I hope he gets the help he obviously needs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would assume that most of the signs would at least be similar, but I really don't think that there is one universal sign language. I guess we would really need to get a person that is deaf to ring in on that one, in fact, I have a couple friends that are deaf and I will ask them about it.

The sign language that I know a little bit of is ASL (American Sign Language). I would think that it would be called USL if it was universal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many types, even in each country...

However, most people understanding basic motions like pointing, thumbs up, etc. That's how I get by in countries where I don't speak the language  :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As others have mentioned above, there isn't one universal sign language. Even in Switzerland alone there are many different types of sign language. At first I was really surprised, as I also had this thought that maybe there could be a universal sign language or maybe at least one dominant European Sign Language, a major american one and maybe an Asian standard.

I've also heard about the fiasco at Nelson Mandelas memorial service but I have yet to see the video! Thank you for providing the link, I will definitely give it a go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Universal sign language would be. . .

Some gestures that can interpreted to mean a particular thing anywhere in the world. If for example you don't speak the language but badly need something you could act out what you want. At worst your audience will mistake you for a idiot or you may pass across the message.

The same thing applies with sign language. While they may learn some form of universal sign language, this can only be understood by those who know that language. So, these people with disabilities must learn to improvise. I guess that would account for why there are so many different sign languages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am really surprised with this, what's the reason not to have a universal sign language? Is sign language a "transition" from the sounds of the national language?

What happened with Mandela was from another world, I do agree with Trellum, that guys must have mental issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow, now this is a mind boggling question! Since I do not know sign language, this question has never crossed my mind. But I would assume that since there are different languages, there would be some form of difference in sign language. Just my opinion, never researched it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never knew that there are different sign languages. I'm always under the impression that there is only one type of sign language like braille. If it's true then what's the point in learning them if what you learned might not be understood by another?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...