Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How Many Sign Languages Are There

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How many sign languages are there, anyway?

There is one word in the dictionary that has 28 letters: antidisestablishmentarianism opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England. A floccinaucinihilipilification is the appraisal of something as worthless, 29 letters long. There are 45 letters on pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a supposed lung disorder.

Modality And Data Collection

In the previous section, we discussed various individual and social factors that may affect any kind of empirical and experimental data collection, annotation, evaluation, and documentation. Some of them are related to the fact that sign languages are minority languages and that deaf native signers form a unique linguistic minority. Others are related to the specific kind of language acquisition, the influence of the ambient spoken language, and the heterogeneity of the Deaf community. Before we turn to modality-specific aspects that may have an impact on data collection, we briefly discuss how these aspects need to be considered in empirical investigations of sign languages .

Countries With Partial Recognition

Several other countries recognize the sign language but not in an official capacity.

The Canadian provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba recognize American Sign Language as a minority language while Section Fourteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants a deaf person the right to an interpreter.

Australia recognizes the Australian Sign Language as a community language, although it does not ensure the provision of services in the sign language.

Thailand recognizes the Thai Sign Language as “the national language of deaf people in Thailand.” The country’s Ministry of Education recognizes the same language as their first language of the deaf people in school.

The United States does not identify any language whether signed or spoken as the official language, but some states recognize American Sign Language as a foreign language while others recognize the sign language as a language of instruction in academic institutions. Some universities in the country accept the American Sign Language credit to fulfill the requirement of a foreign language.

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So Now We Know How Many Sign Languages There Are This Leaves One Question How Many People Use Them

Sadly, there is not much research done on this topic as shockingly no official consensus in the world includes sign language when recording languages spoken by individuals and households. However, estimates suggest that there are 80 million deaf sign language users but clearly this does not take into consideration the hearing people who learn sign language such as parents, partners of deaf people and teachers.

These 80 million speakers are not equally spread across over 300 sign languages in fact, far from it. Below are the ten most commonly spoken sign languages and their number of native speakers:

  • Indo-Pakistani Sign Language- 6,300,000
  • Turkish Sign Language- 300,000
  • Japanese Sign Language- 126,000

It is interesting to see that Indo-Pakistani Sign Language has more than six times as many native speakers as the second most common sign language. This could be because of the number of countries that use the language as this includes India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Its huge following could also be down to its age, the first research that studies sign language thought to be directly linked to Indo-Pakistani Sign Language was conducted in 1928, this suggests that the language is more than 90 years old and therefore has had plenty of time to spread through families and social groups.

The Different Types Of Sign Language

" how many"  American Sign Language (ASL)
  • The Different Types of Sign
  • Sign Language is Not Universal:

    The Ethnologue Languages of the World, lists that there are 142 sign languages in use, however this number is hard to accurately pin down due to new sign languages frequently being created at schools in village communities with high levels of congenital deafness. Sign language is a complex form of communication comprised of hand gestures, body language and facial expressions and its used to allow deaf individuals the ability to effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings. Many people are under the misconception that sign language is universal, however the manual languagesdiffer significantly from one geographic region to the next. Sign languages, like spoken languages, develop naturally out of groups of people interacting with one another region and culture play a large role in the development as well. Most sign languages are not mutually intelligible, therefore people who do not sign the same language can not understand one another. In some countries like Sri Lanka for example, every school has their own sign language, only known by the students who attend that school. Other countries share sign languages although they are called different names, Croatian and Serbian sign languages are the same and Indian and Pakistani sign language are also the same.

    Three Major Forms of Sign Language Used in the United States:

    Popular Forms of Sign Language Used Around the World:

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    British Sign Language Auslan And New Zealand Sign Language

    Around 150,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language. BSL evolved at Thomas Braidwoods schools for the deaf in the late 1700s and early 1800s. From there, it spread to Australia and New Zealand. Auslan and New Zealand Sign Language are therefore quite similar. They use the same grammar, the same manual alphabet, and much of the same vocabulary.

    In fact, some sign language experts consider BSL, Auslan, and New Zealand Sign Language to be dialects of the same sign language, called British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language, or BANZSL for short. That said, despite the high degree of overlap, there are also differences between the different branches of the BANZSL family. For example, New Zealand Sign Language includes signs for Mori words. It also includes signs from Australasian Sign Language, a type of signed English used by New Zealand schools for the deaf in the 1980s.

    Auslan includes some signs derived from Irish Sign Language, as well. Deaf Indigenous Australians may use Auslan or one of the native Australian sign languages that are unrelated to Auslan. The Far North Queensland dialect of Auslan incorporates features of these indigenous sign languages, too.

    Want to learn more about BSL? See 10 Facts About British Sign Language and BSL Interpreters

    List Of Sign Languages

    There are perhaps three hundred sign languages in use around the world today. The number is not known with any confidence new sign languages emerge frequently through creolization and de novo . In some countries, such as Sri Lanka and Tanzania, each school for the deaf may have a separate language, known only to its students and sometimes denied by the school on the other hand, countries may share sign languages, although sometimes under different names . Deaf sign languages also arise outside educational institutions, especially in village communities with high levels of congenital deafness, but there are significant sign languages developed for the hearing as well, such as the speech-taboo languages used in aboriginal Australia. Scholars are doing field surveys to identify the world’s sign languages.

    The following list is grouped into three sections :

    • Deaf sign languages, which are the preferred languages of Deaf communities around the world these include village sign languages, shared with the hearing community, and Deaf-community sign languages
    • Auxiliary sign languages, which are not native languages but sign systems of varying complexity, used alongside spoken languages. Simple gestures are not included, as they do not constitute language.
    • Signed modes of spoken languages, also known as manually coded languages, which are bridges between signed and spoken languages

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    A Guide To The Different Types Of Sign Language Around The World

    One of the most common misconceptions about sign language is that its the same wherever you go. Thats not the case. In fact, there are somewhere between 138 and 300 different types of sign language used throughout the world today. New sign languages frequently evolve amongst groups of deaf children and adults.

    With that in mind, lets take a look at 9 examples of sign languages from around the world:

    Baby Sign Language With Hearing Children

    how-MANY / how-MUCH-[2h-version]

    Some hearing parents teach signs to young hearing children. Since the muscles in babies’ hands grow and develop quicker than their mouths, signs are seen as a beneficial option for better communication. Babies can usually produce signs before they can speak. This reduces the confusion between parents when trying to figure out what their child wants. When the child begins to speak, signing is usually abandoned, so the child does not progress to acquiring the grammar of the sign language.

    This is in contrast to hearing children who grow up with Deaf parents, who generally acquire the full sign language natively, the same as Deaf children of Deaf parents.

    Informal, rudimentary sign systems are sometimes developed within a single family. For instance, when hearing parents with no sign language skills have a deaf child, the child may develop a system of signs naturally, unless repressed by the parents. The term for these mini-languages is home sign .

    There have been several notable examples of scientists teaching signs to non-human primates in order to communicate with humans, such as chimpanzees,gorillas and orangutans. However, linguists generally point out that this does not constitute knowledge of a human language as a complete system, rather than simply signs/words. Notable examples of animals who have learned signs include:

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    How To Learn Sign Language

    After reading this article you must feel the need to learn sign language. Previously there were special schools for learning sign language. Fortunately now one can learn sign language from their home.

    Alpha Academy, one of the renowned online course providers in the UK .

    Alpha Academy offers British Sign Language Online training program. Since the course is fully online, you can do this course from any parts of the world at your own pace.

    You will get 24/7 customer support and unlimited access to your course materials.

    Developed by the qualified tutors the course is accredited by CPD which will enhance the value of your CV and make you worth in the job market.

    Teaching Country’s Sign Languages In Schools

    Due to much exposure to sign language-interpreted announcements on national television, more schools and universities are expressing interest in incorporating sign language. In the US, enrollment for ASL classes as part of students’ choice of second language is on the rise. In New Zealand, one year after the passing of NZSL Act 2006 in parliament, a NZSL curriculum was released for schools to take NZSL as an optional subject. The curriculum and teaching materials were designed to target intermediate schools from Years 7 to 10, .

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    Does Every Person Who Knows Sign Language Know International Sign

    The short answer to this question is no, as some people have never had occasion to use International Sign. Knowing one national sign language does make it much easier to learn International Sign, however. Because of the lack of a standard vocabulary, International Sign requires its speakers to have a knowledge of other sign languages it doesnt really work without knowledge of at least one of the more expansive signed languages that were used to create it.

    One of the largest defects of International Sign is that it is based on certain Western languages, however. People who know American Sign Language one of the most-used sign languages in the world have a leg up understanding International Sign, for example, because American Sign Language had such a key role in its development. Speaking this international language is harder for people who speak non-Western sign languages, even though people who use International Sign are currently trying to fight this bias toward certain languages.

    This kind of bias is why many creators of international auxiliary languages like Esperanto choose to build a whole new language from scratch. That way, no one group has a natural advantage over others in learning and understanding the language.

    Is There Any Regional Variation In Sign Language

    How many sign languages are there, anyway?

    Yes, there is a regional variation in sign language. As like verbal language sign language have accents and dialects too. Even sign language tends to have more variation than the verbal language.

    It is because sign language is a secluded form of communication. Even you will find considerable variation between two towns and cities sign language in Britain.

    So, now lets see what are the different types of sign language that exist in the UK.

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    Sign Language Around The World: Irish Sign Language

    Today, most people in Ireland speak English. But deaf people in Ireland speak Irish Sign Language , which is derived from French Sign Language. Although ISL has been somewhat influenced by BSL, it remains quite distinct. As of 2014, around 5,000 deaf people, primarily in the Republic of Ireland but also in Northern Ireland, use Irish Sign Language to communicate.

    One interesting footnote about ISL: Many Irish deaf students were educated in Catholic schools that separated students by gender. So, for a time, men and women each had their own dialects of ISL. However, these differences have diminished over time.

    Sign Languages Have Their Own Grammar

    There are rules for well-formed sentences in sign language. For example, sign language uses the space in front of the signer to show who did what to whom by pointing. However, some verbs point to both the subject and object of the verb, some point only to the object, and some don’t point at all. Another rule is that a well-formed question must have the right kind of eyebrow position. Eyebrows should be down for a who-what-where-when-why question , and up for a yes/no question. If you use the rules wrong, or inconsistently, you will have what is known as a “foreign” accent.

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    Sign Language Is A Visual Language

    This one is pretty obvious, but it’s important to mention. Sign language is just like spoken language in many ways, but it’s also different. Sign can be very straightforward and formal, but it can also take full advantage of its visual nature for expressive or artistic effect . Which, when you think about it, doesn’t make sign language all that different after all: For expressive purposes, we can take full advantage of spoken language’s auditory nature. We can also take advantage of facial expressions and gestures when we speak. Everything that would be in an artistic spoken performancethe words, the ordering of clauses, the pauses, the breath intake, the intonation and melody, the stressing or deemphasizing of sounds, the facial and vocal emotion, the body posture and head and hand gesturescome through together in sign language. It looks amazing not because it shows us what sign language can do, but because it shows us what language does.

    A version of this story ran in 2015 it has been updated for 2021.

    Brain Damage Affects Sign Language In The Same Way It Affects Spoken Language

    Many Different Sign Languages

    When fluent signers have a stroke or brain injury, their ability to sign may suffer a similar type of aphasia, but they are still able to make imitative or non-sign gestures. They may be able to produce signs, but not put them in the correct grammatical configurations. They may be able to produce sentences, but with the signs formed incorrectly, thus creating a strange accent. They may be able to sign quickly and easily, but without making any sense. We know from studying speaking people that “making sounds” is quite different from “using language” because these functions are affected differently by brain damage. The same is true for signers. Neurologically, making gestures is quite different from using sign language.

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    Why Emphasize Early Language Learning

    Parents should expose a deaf or hard-of-hearing child to language as soon as possible. The earlier a child is exposed to and begins to acquire language, the better that childs language, cognitive, and social development will become. Research suggests that the first few years of life are the most crucial to a childs development of language skills, and even the early months of life can be important for establishing successful communication with caregivers. Thanks to screening programs in place at almost all hospitals in the United States and its territories, newborn babies are tested for hearing before they leave the hospital. If a baby has hearing loss, this screening gives parents an opportunity to learn about communication options. Parents can then start their childs language learning process during this important early stage of development.

    The Origins Of Sign Languages

    Many of the sign languages spoken around the world today have their origins in:

  • British Sign Language: the British manual alphabet reached a format which would be familiar to many signers today as early as 1720. However, manual alphabets had been in use in daily British life even by many hearing people for centuries previously at least as early as 1570. This then spread through the British Commonwealth and beyond in the 19th century.
  • French Sign Language: developed in the 1700s, French Sign Language was the root of American Sign Language and many other European sign languages.
  • Unique origins: yet many others including Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Pakistani and Levantine Arabic sign languages have their own unique origins completely unrelated to French or British roots.
  • But by 1880, different thoughts began to take shape. In that year, plans were announced at the Second International Congress of Education of the Deaf in Milan to reduce and eventually remove sign language from classrooms in favour of lip reading and other oral-based methods.

    Known as oralism, these rules which largely prioritised the convenience of hearing people remained essentially in effect until the 1970s.

    Today, however, the various sign languages naturally developed around the world are increasingly recognised as official languages. They are the preferred method of communication for many millions of deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide.

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