Jump to content
Linguaholic

Recommended Posts

Does anyone know to what extent different country sign languages differ? Until fairly recently, I actually thought sign language was universal LOL Are there more similarities than not? Has anyone here tried to learn any version of sign language, and how easy is it to pick up?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really sure about differences between countries. I've tried to learn a little bit of British Sign Language but to be honest I've only really mastered the alphabet. My partner knows Makaton which he uses to communicate with the children he cares for at work, I think that is fairly easy to pick up if you put some time into it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been interested in learning American Sign Language. I don't know why, but before this thread I didn't realize it varied by language. Thank you for sharing that fact, now im curious. I've learned the alphabet and one or two words. I hope to learn more soon. The town I live in actually has a school for the deaf. I know it would be beneficial in the area I live it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

ASL is my first language and it is completely different from many other forms of sign language. Of course there are some similarities as with many other languages. I have run into that quite a bit though, in regards to people not knowing that sign language is not universal and that most countries have their own version. Hence the name American Sign Language. But I guess that might also because people don't actually say the American part. In my opinion I think the closest to ASL would be BSL, which is British Sign Language, or SSL which is Spanish Sign Language. Just like how you know a few words in other languages, people who sign know words in different forms of sign language. I personally know the most in CSL (Chinese Sign Language) other than American of course. Concerning your question as to what extent do these languages differ, I think they are all just as different as spoken ones. There are a couple with more similarities and then there are some that feel like they come from another planet. But sign language in general is easier to pick up simply because it's matching your words with a hand movement. I recommend learning your countries version of Sign Language first.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

This is the first time I am learning sign languages differ among countries.

I have never tried except when I was little and would watch Sesame Street, we used to mimic the sign languages occasionally done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not aware that sign language differ country to country, I believed it was a universal language. I thought sign language was same in every country. If the sign language of different countries is different, how much differences do they have? In don't know sign language however I have tried to learn some words by watching news in sign language. I know how to spell "King"

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't realize there were different sign languages either! I am fluent in American Sign Language, and it wasn't until I started learning that I realized that there were different sign languages. I would love to learn some of the other sign languages, but I'm also afraid I may get the signs confused and sign something different than intended haha. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can speak British Sign Language as I had a friend in high school that was deaf so I learned it to be able to communicate with him. I've noticed that there tends to be some similarities between different languages with sign language, such as American and British do share some similarities. I suppose it's just like any other language though. Terms for things are different in different places. I'd love to learn sign language in more languages but for the time being I'm going to stick to what I know in British Sign Language and developing my knowledge there. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 02 June 2016 at 5:59 AM, Beautyfulbree said:

I've been interested in learning American Sign Language. I don't know why, but before this thread I didn't realize it varied by language. Thank you for sharing that fact, now im curious. I've learned the alphabet and one or two words. I hope to learn more soon. The town I live in actually has a school for the deaf. I know it would be beneficial in the area I live it. 

To be honest, @Beatyfulbree.... I wasn't even aware of this fact myself until very recently LOL For some reason, I'd always believed it would be a universal "language". -and I think a lot of people do too. But then it's just silly really, when you consider there are so many nuances, traditions, cultural differences etc that sets us all apart. So yea, there's bound to be differences. But I do still wonder if there ARE some signs that cut across the board, irrespective of where in the world you are?!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did hear that sign language varies from country to country, but since I'm not deaf/mute, I haven't paid much attention to it. I do see some programs offer that caption for deaf/mute viewers, so I guess you can try learning from watching their hand gestures in relation to the words being spoken.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured that it would vary, since different cultures are so different from one another. Just seemed like the logical conclusion. If my ridiculous love for German continues, I might learn the German version of sign language if they have one. I'm sure there are some similarities, but either way, I think sign language is very difficult to learn! It's like, my muscle memory works really well with words, but I don't know if I could do it with hand movements.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24 June 2016 at 2:34 PM, Lingua Franca said:

I don't know how much sign language has evolved but there was a time that the differences between languages weren't just restricted to countries but would even extend to the schools they were taught in. 

OMG really!? That would make it even more difficult to learn. I just get this feeling that in as much as looks easy enough to learn, it will almost certainly be difficult. But it's certainly something  I'd be interested in trying my hand at. I think it's something handy for anyone to be able to do. IDK why, but I get the feeling that  a lot of the signs may be universal. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, lushlala said:

OMG really!? That would make it even more difficult to learn. I just get this feeling that in as much as looks easy enough to learn, it will almost certainly be difficult. But it's certainly something  I'd be interested in trying my hand at. I think it's something handy for anyone to be able to do. IDK why, but I get the feeling that  a lot of the signs may be universal. 

That was one of the problems they had in the past, I don't know if they have gotten together and straightened things out. There is still slang that is different region to region, that i know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lingua Franca....isn't it amazing that they can actually even have slang?! I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that there are so many different versions of sign language, depending on where you are in the world! Yet to the untrained eye, when you see it on TV, it all seems so similar, almost like you can't separate them all. Which is probably why a few years ago there was this South African man who was winging it to the point where people picked up on it. He probably thought he could pull the wool over the viewers' eyes, the silly man. He probably thought people wouldn't be able to tell. But he just kept repeating the same signs over and over again, it was very uncomfortable to watch because anyone could see he was out of his depth! He apparently blamed nerves on his shoddy performance!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

OH don't laugh at yourself... Until I read your post, I also thought that sign language was universal. Wow. It does look all the same to us who don't know all the signs when we see it on television. It's wonderful and mind boggling to know that there are actually so many different versions of it, Just amazing. And I wonder why I've never thought to learn sign language... I think it's worth considering for my next language. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Norm A.....I guess that's why that one guy tried to wing it I think it was in South Africa a couple of years ago or so. I can't quite remember what the occasion was, but I think it was meant to be sombre and a very important event, and this poor guy just kept repeating the same signs over and over again. It was so bad that he was actually rambled and apparently he blamed it on a bad case of nerves! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also figured sign language was universal, wow that's another challenge there. I can see myself using sign language in another country and the natives looking at me like what is he doing with his hands. It's amazing that we have so many forms of communication, but I don't think that it should be as diverse as it is. 

Multiple forms of sign language is a little too much for me. I want to learn, but not if I need to master multiple forms.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @lushlala! :) To be honest, I also didn't know there are different versions of sign language until I read this thread. Thank you for bringing the topic out because I thought that as long as one knows how to do a sign language, then he/she can communicate anywhere. So now I know that if ever I would try to learn sign language, I would have to be careful in using it when I'm in a different country because the meaning of a specific sign could be totally different in other parts of the world.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@gracerph....it's a pleasure! But as you can see here, a lit of initially thought there was just one universal sign language LOL We obviously learn something every day, right? So basically, like you say, if you learn one form of sign language from one country, it doesn't cover you for the rest. But what I'd be interested in knowing, is how similar they all are, because surely they must have a lot more in common than 'regular languages? I have a feeling that they're probably more mutually intelligible, but it'd be great to know definitively.

Link to post
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...
×
×
  • Create New...