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Why sign language can't be international?


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I must admit the first time I heard about that, I was like "why?". Yes, sign language depends of the main language you are talking to. For example, the English's sign language isn't the same as the French's sign language.
I don't understand, honestly. If there could be one benefit for those who have to speak that language, it would be to not have to cope with all the mess of multiple languages depending of the country. But no, it feels like communications barriers are more enjoyable than I thought. Or maybe it's just stupid.

In your opinion, why it happens? Why is there is multiple sign languages? Do you think it's a true benefit?

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It seems like it would be the easiest option, but think about it. There are some words in some languages that just do not translate into other languages in spoken language. I assume it would be the same for an international sign language. 

 

ex: kummerspek-German

excess weight gained from emotional overeating; literally grief bacon.

 

We have no word at all for this. To even define it we needed 9. Check out this link for more examples if you'd like. Hope this helps explain a reason!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/28315/15-wonderful-words-no-english-equivalent

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I guess ASL is not universal for the same reason spoken languages are not universal. Even in Switzerland ( a very small country) we have dozens of different sign languages. I guess the reasons are really the same as for spoken languages: People want their own identity and they have different cultural backgrounds, etc. 

 

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I do not want to sound prejudice but despite that, I might sound that way, so apologies in advance. Why would a mute need that wide vocabulary? In the case where you are travelling abroad, wouldn't you have someone with you to help you around who could do most of the talking for you. My point is, you wouldn't need that wide vocabulary in general so I don't see much of a reason in having a variety of sign language, other than the cultural background.

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I do not want to sound prejudice but despite that, I might sound that way, so apologies in advance. Why would a mute need that wide vocabulary? In the case where you are travelling abroad, wouldn't you have someone with you to help you around who could do most of the talking for you. My point is, you wouldn't need that wide vocabulary in general so I don't see much of a reason in having a variety of sign language, other than the cultural background.

Why wouldn't a deaf/mute person want to express herself as eloquently as a person who can hear/speak? They communicate with each other too; they don't always have someone to speak for them.

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Why wouldn't a deaf/mute person want to express herself as eloquently as a person who can hear/speak? They communicate with each other too; they don't always have someone to speak for them.

That is true. I didn't really realize how bad my answer actually sounded, I apologize. The only reasoning behind it was that I knew an actual deaf person and he never expressed himself a lot. Despite him knowing sign language. I thought that was the the general idea for everyone. Nonetheless, it's true. People should be able to express themselves eloquently, regardless of capabilities, and sometimes, various languages might be needed due to differences in believes, cultures, and customs.

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It's not just in different languages that sign language varies.  I am trying to learn ASL (American Sign Language).  That varies from region to region.  So even within the same country, there are different versions.  It probably happened in the same way that we all started to speak different languages or different versions of the same language (ex. Southern American English).

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Because sign language is like any other language. It's unique and usually adapts to the speaker's environment. Languages usually reflect the person's culture as well. Since people who use sign languages are from across the world then it is only necessary they use the sign fitting to the world they understand and the culture they are from.

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In that respect, why would it be different than spoken languages? Anyway, there is an international sign language, but it's not nearly as rich as local versions.

Because it's as stupid as saying "Morse code should be localized, and that's great to see American Morse Code vs. International Morse Code". Culture of people are not in the language, but into the art they make, into what they do everyday, and into what they are. Deaf people have enough problem of communications, and having more sign languages just split the community of deaf people who already feels alone.

It seems like it would be the easiest option, but think about it. There are some words in some languages that just do not translate into other languages in spoken language. I assume it would be the same for an international sign language. 

 

ex: kummerspek-German

excess weight gained from emotional overeating; literally grief bacon.

 

We have no word at all for this. To even define it we needed 9. Check out this link for more examples if you'd like. Hope this helps explain a reason!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/28315/15-wonderful-words-no-english-equivalent

We have no word because we don't want to. If we really need a word for something, we don't care and create a new word/sign, and that happens everyday. That's the difference between a living language, and a language you will never hear.

I do not want to sound prejudice but despite that, I might sound that way, so apologies in advance. Why would a mute need that wide vocabulary? In the case where you are travelling abroad, wouldn't you have someone with you to help you around who could do most of the talking for you. My point is, you wouldn't need that wide vocabulary in general so I don't see much of a reason in having a variety of sign language, other than the cultural background.

Don't apologize, it doesn't sound that bad. I always think communication is the most important matter and honestly, I'm shocked to see that "splitting" people is that important.

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Because it's as stupid as saying "Morse code should be localized, and that's great to see American Morse Code vs. International Morse Code". Culture of people are not in the language, but into the art they make, into what they do everyday, and into what they are. Deaf people have enough problem of communications, and having more sign languages just split the community of deaf people who already feels alone.

I agree that what you said was stupid. Notice that I didn't propose breaking up an existing language. But you are suggesting the deaf should unify all sign languages. The deaf don't want this, in fact they are just as protective of their sign languages as non-deaf people are of their spoken languages. It's illegal too. Here's a quote from a deaf rights website:

Any forcible purification or unification of sign languages, conducted by governments, professionals working with Deaf people, and organizations for or of the Deaf, is a violation of the UN and UNESCO treaties, declarations and other policies, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Deaf people in every country have the sole right to make changes, if necessary, in their own local, provincial and national sign languages in response to cultural changes. The control of the development of any Sign Language must be left to any social group where the particular sign language is exercised.

I'm just curious - why do you care? Shouldn't we leave this issue up to deaf people, and try not to judge them? 

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Flagonce and Wanda raised some really good points.

It always felt a little bit silly for not having a unified sign language...but than again it feels silly to me that there isn't an official universal language...

Still it makes the world a bit more colorful with all these languages in it. And perhaps it's the same for sign languages. This way a mute can "speak" multiple languages as well. I think that's pretty cool.

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