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Linguaholic

Sign Language!


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This would be difficult to converse with and practice here, of course, without videos or massive photo embeds.

Still...it is a language that I'd like to learn to fluency one day.

I know that there's a difference between U.K. sign language and American sign language in the alphabet, at least.

When I lived in Indonesia, I had a neighbor who spoke in sign language (she was deaf-mute), and the speaking neighbor of mine who lives with her (they were relatives) said that a relative of theirs from Russia, also a deaf-mute, tried to speak sign language with her but it was different.

Was it just the gestures giving a different and indecipherable "accent"?

Or are there truly as many kinds of sign language as there are spoken and written languages within a region?

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I know that there's a bit of a  difference between American and UK, but I'm not sure about the rest..I imagine the reason it wasn't the same because different regions have different signs, along with the "accents", that they use.

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It could be difficult indeed to learn a sign language depending on which area you are living. But then again, it could be easy if you do it your own way. The technical stuff are most difficult than the practical ones if you know what I mean.

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Oh I've also heard that there's a difference depending on country/area. I do think some words are pretty similar in sign language. I'm basing this on just some initial research I've done about it. I'm pretty interested on being able to sign fluently some day.  :smile:

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I used to go to school with people who used sign language daily.  They were referred as ''special'' students'.  I knew some of them well, but there was a language barrier between us.  I never felt inclined to learn that language tho, because I didn't think I'd ever use it again!

I learned a few words in sign language, but mostly swear words!  That's all I learnt in that classroom, lol.  I don't think I will ever learn sign language, since it's of no use for me!

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You'll never know when you might meet someone whose perspective would better your life, but we can't access because of a language barrier. Or-- heavens forbid-- some day any of us might lose the privilege of a voice, and then sign language can prove to be faster than writing out what we mean to say.

I wish sign language were as commonly taught in schools as reading and writing. Not only for the benefit of deaf-mutes, but so that in situations where silence must be observed then people could still communicate. I suppose we'd sooner be taught Morse code, though...  :smile:

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I think that the later is true. I too would like to one day master American sign language. I once saw a documentary where the deaf and mute of that region did not have a language. Out of being smart, they developed one among themselves and now have a language in which they could communicate and they intern are teaching others of their region their language.

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From what I've understood, sign language is nothing more than a "transcription" of the sounds of a certain language, that is why there are so many sign languages as regular languages. Or am I wrong here?

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I think sign language is much more than a "transcription" of the sounds of a language. Regular grammar doesn't work here, sign languages have their own syntax. Instead of "Have you ever been to Japan before?" it may sound like "You Japan before?" in sign language.

Oh yes... notice that the term "deaf mute" is viewed by many deaf people as derogatory. Simply refer to them as "deaf".

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There is a International Sign Language but just like Esperanto it's no use for communication if someone doesn't know it. So it's impossible to have a universal sign language - at least in our lifetime. It's the same with languages. Just because it's done with hands it doesn't mean the meanings are still the same everywhere. Every language is evolving on its own - this includes sign language as well.

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There is a International Sign Language but just like Esperanto it's no use for communication if someone doesn't know it. So it's impossible to have a universal sign language - at least in our lifetime. It's the same with languages. Just because it's done with hands it doesn't mean the meanings are still the same everywhere. Every language is evolving on its own - this includes sign language as well.

That is fascinating, thank you so much for weighing in :)

On this point, however:

Oh yes... notice that the term "deaf mute" is viewed by many deaf people as derogatory. Simply refer to them as "deaf".

Isn't it possible for a person to be unable to speak, to be mute, while having perfectly good hearing as well--and so still require communication by sign language? I didn't mean for it to be derogatory, I meant for the term to be inclusive.

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I had a friend in school who was deaf and so I learned a little sign language to help her out.  I am a creative artistic thinker, so it was rather easy for me to pick up on the signs because I could visually see them.  I imagine that there are differences in signs from one region to the next as I don't think there is a standard world form of the language.  There are certain gestures that mean different things depending on where you live too.

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On this point, however:

Isn't it possible for a person to be unable to speak, to be mute, while having perfectly good hearing as well--and so still require communication by sign language? I didn't mean for it to be derogatory, I meant for the term to be inclusive.

Yes, sure. It's not easy to grasp the difference though because most people will still think of someone who can't hear and thus can't speak. Which is not right because deaf people can still use their voice and can even speak (their pronunciation might sound wrong sometimes...). So "deaf mute" should be avoided when refering to deaf people. It's offensive to them because it sounds like "deaf and dumb" which was also an often used term to describe deaf people in the past. Its origin came actually from Aristotle who thought if one can't hear then one can't learn at all.

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