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The 7 - Random - Sign language
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anibanging
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#1 Posted on 31.10.04 2302.26
Reposted on: 31.10.11 2302.27
Anyone know if sign language is english specific? As in if an english speaker and a french speaker communicated in sign language would they understand each other or are there seperate languages?
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eviljonhunt81
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#2 Posted on 31.10.04 2335.54
Reposted on: 31.10.11 2336.38
I seem to recall being told that there is more than one type of sign language in the world. I'm not sure how many, but definitely more than one.

Here's some more information.

(edited by eviljonhunt81 on 31.10.04 2337)
Merc
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#3 Posted on 31.10.04 2337.40
Reposted on: 31.10.11 2341.15
I believe there are differences in English language signing between countries. I know Auslan is the most common over here, but I'm not sure how it translates.
PeterStork
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#4 Posted on 31.10.04 2344.36
Reposted on: 31.10.11 2344.39
Short answer, yes, it's English based (to an extent) and not universal.

Really long answer:

American Sign Language is based upon English, but is not English per se. Many signs use English letters to identify them; for example, the signs for both "people" and "person" use the "p" hand (index out, middle down, thumb on middle) and the signs for "reason" and "respect" both use the "r" hand (cross your fingers for good luck.) Names are identified by their first letter; my generic name sign would be the "p" hand by my temple (male portion of the head) and the generic sign for St. Louis is the "s" hand to the "l" hand in the motion of an arch. Now, obviously English and French have many cognitives, so I imagine many words would share similar spellings across the languages. Still, since these languages evolved separately, not out of the same root languages, the signs for each words would be different.

This is not to imply that ASL is simply signed English. In fact, British Sign Language can be quite different from ASL, as can regional ASL variances. (Again, they developed independently.) Proper ASL is its own language with its own grammar structure (for example, there are really no articles; the subject often comes after the verb, such as "forgot I" instead of "I forgot"); and there are no question words at the beginning of sentences (it's not "Where is mom?" but "Mom. Where?" Statement followed by query.) This grammatical structure probably varies depending on the language (ASL vs. French, etc.) Also, signs stand not for words but for concepts. The English language has one word representing both "positive feelings towards something" and also "similarity to something:" "like." In ASL, these are separate concepts with separate signs that cannot be interchanged.

In other words, ASL only borrows English. English Word Order is a more direct substitution of sign-for-word that is often used by less knowledgeable signers (like myself) or with kids to help them learn proper English (deaf children's grammar can be hazardous to your health.)
too-old-now
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#5 Posted on 1.11.04 1402.54
Reposted on: 1.11.11 1402.56
What does Koko speak?
Guru Zim
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#6 Posted on 1.11.04 1410.07
Reposted on: 1.11.11 1410.14
According to http://www.koko.org/world/signlanguage.html it is ASL with modified signs. They call it GSL. Read the link for more, and to get examples of Koko signing different words.
anibanging
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#7 Posted on 1.11.04 1632.44
Reposted on: 1.11.11 1634.13
so would a person growing up deaf and signing in Russia be able to speak with a deaf signer from Sweden?
PeterStork
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#8 Posted on 1.11.04 1653.43
Reposted on: 1.11.11 1653.47
    Originally posted by anibanging
    so would a person growing up deaf and signing in Russia be able to speak with a deaf signer from Sweden?


I would sincerely doubt it. It might be easier for them to communicate than a native Swedish speaker and a native Russian speaker, as the signed language might be simpler to figure out, but they probably could not hold a conversation as easily as two people who speak the same type of sign language.
anibanging
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#9 Posted on 2.11.04 0514.11
Reposted on: 2.11.11 0529.01
Ok. Thanks very much for your help. I've always wondered and was never able to figure out much beyond that fact that there's ASL and not everyone uses it.
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