The Chinese Nose Point
As the most prominent and central part of the face, the nose represents the self in Chinese and other East Asian cultures. In Chinese astrology, the nose symbolizes self-esteem, status and wealth.
So when a Chinese person refers to themselves, they dont point to the chest like many other cultures. Instead, using the forefinger or thumb, they point to the nose.
Every time you want to signify Me or I, point to the nose. And I mean your nose. Touching the nose of others is considered extremely rude!
Which Sign Language Is Universally Understood
While there isnt a single universal sign language, there are signs that are internationally recognised. However, BSL is the system used by most of the UKs Deaf community.
The Deaf community has always faced barriers when accessing public services. So, providers still need to do more to offer alternative forms of contact in-person and remotely that enable Deaf people equal access.
Using an experienced interpreter who understands the subtle differences between BSL dialects and other sign language systems is essential. They can help break down barriers by enabling your organisation to communicate better with a Deaf audience.
Other forms of communication used by Deaf and Hard of Hearing users also need to be considered and offered. Lets say, for example, that a Deaf Albanian Sign Language user wished to communicate with an English-speaking hearing person. In this scenario, we would use a BSL Deaf relay and a BSL interpreter to provide the interpretation from Albanian Sign Language into BSL. It would then be interpreted by a BSL interpreter to the hearing person.
We provide BSL interpreting and translation services, plus expert consultancy, to help ensure your organisation is as accessible as possible, to attract and serve Deaf customers and offer equal opportunities for Deaf job applicants.
All the skilled BSL interpreters we work with are DBS-checked and NRCPD-registered and can provide a high-quality service to Deaf people across the UK.
What Is A Sign Language
A sign language is a system of communication using gestures, facial expressions, and body language to convey meaning. Each sign language has its own lexicon, grammar and syntax. Each is as rich and varied as spoken languages.
American Sign Language is the most widely-used sign language around the world. Signers are spread across the USA and Canada, as well as parts of Mexico, Africa, and Asia. It developed when French Sign Language was brought over to the USA in 1817 There, it mixed with local indigenous languages to create what is now called ASL.
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Imagine languages connected like a family tree. ASL is a younger relative of FSL. It is not related to spoken English at all. Other English speaking countries use sign languages from a different linguistic tree.
In Great Britain, signers usually use British Sign Language . BSL is part of the BANZSL tree, which also connects Australian Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language . All of these languages share the same roots and some similar signs. Signers using different languages cannot understand one another as they are not mutually intelligible.
Read more: Why sign language should be an official language
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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:
Gestures To Avoid In Cross
Success leaves clues, or in some instances, the lack of success leaves clues! Gestures are one of the first things to come to mind that can cause a major cultural faux pas. They can quickly sabotage anyone, including the most savvy business professionals. People from every culture, including various country leaders and several U.S. presidents, have been guilty of unintentionally offending people from different cultures through the use of inappropriate gestures. When it comes to body language gestures, the wisest advice might be to keep your fingers to yourself!
In Brazil, Germany, Russia, and many other countries around the world, the OK
sign is a very offensive gesture because it is used to depict a private bodily orifice. The OK sign actually does mean “okay” in the United States, however in Japan it means “money,” and it is commonly used to signify “zero” in France. Clearly the OK sign isn’t offensive everywhere however, it is not OK to use in many parts of the world, nor does it necessarily mean “okay”!
Most people are aware that the V for victory or peace sign was made popular by Winston Churchill in England during WWII. However, it’s important to take heed of where you are in the world, because if you make this gesture with your palm facing inward in Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and several other countries throughout the world, it in essence means “Up yours!”
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Akorbi Can Help With Signing Services
If you need language services relating to sign language, Akorbi can help. We specialize in building compassionate human connections through language, technology, and workforce solutions. Our worldwide contact centers provide multilingual support, bilingual agents, competitive rates, and exceptional quality. If you need translation or interpretation services, contact Akorbi today or call 256-9222.
Adamrobe Sign Language Ghana
Adamrobe is a small community nestled in a bowl-shaped valley at the foot of the Akuapem Hills in Ghana. It has the highest number of deaf people in the country. According to a report, thats 50 out of the 1800 inhabitants, which is double the global world average. Both hearing and deaf members of the community speak with their hands. The community encourages hearing children as well as deaf children to learn the language from a young age.
There is no known cause for the high levels of deafness. Interfamilial marriage and lack of access to healthcare are possible reasons. However, neighboring villages living in similar conditions do not experience the same levels of deafness. The villagers have some interesting explanations for their unique situation. It is believed by some that the village is ruled over by a deaf god who curses families with a deaf baby if they offend him. Another myth is that the nearby stream is sacred. Anyone who uses this water for domestic reasons will be punished. An alternative story is that the seed of deafness was sown many years ago by a handsome, virile man who was irresistible to women.
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Sign Languages Around The World
Even if you dont speak sign language, youve surely encountered it, either by seeing it used in public or through the use of a sign language interpreter at a conference or a concert. Theres a lot more to sign language than meets the eye, however, and many languages other than American Sign Language . According to HandSpeak.com, there are over 60 sign languages recognized and used around the world.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders defines ASL is a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is more than simply English turned into gestures it follows its own grammar and pronunciation rules, and even supports different dialects and accents.
ASL developed in America, but other versions of sign language exist in other areas of the world, accounting for variations in culture and language. In the United Kingdom, signers use British Sign Language , and its generally accepted that Australian Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language are derived from BSL the group of languages is referred to as BANZSL. However, differences exist even between the three languages: in New Zealand, Mori words are incorporated into the language, and in Australia, Auslan incorporates certain aspects of Irish Sign Language and a number of indigenous languages as well.
Sign Language Is Different Than Its Spoken Language
Sign languages often do not follow the same rules or sentence structures as the spoken language they are based on. These languages are created among the regions deaf communities and are considered entirely their own language. This is why ASL and BSL are very different, even though American and British spoken English are very similar.
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The Different Types Of Sign Language
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:
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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Hand Gestures In Italy
Whats the best way to learn Italian? Lets be straight right away: without hand gesturing, it is impossible.
So, if you are learning Italian, besides the language, you should ask yourItalian tutor to teach you their hand gestures as well.
One of the worldwide-known Italian gestures is the pinecone. Even if you dont know the exact meaning, without a doubt, you can feel the word itself.
Even though it can be used in almost every situation, it is known that it is accompanied by questions.
The pinecone gesture is formed when you bring all the tips of your fingers to one point. Then you move your wrist back and forth. And dont forget to parla Italiano while doing it.
You are trying it now, arent you?
What Is British Sign Language
As its name suggests, British Sign Language is the most widely used sign language in the UK.
There are around 151,000 BSL users in the UK, and about 87,000 users are Deaf.
It is also used by the families and relatives of Deaf people, sign language interpreters and BSL learners.
BSL has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax and, as a language, is not dependant on spoken English.
In 2003, the Government recognised BSL as an official minority language. BSL is part of BANZSL, which comprises Australian Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language . All are derived from the same sign language system used in 19th Century Britain.
However, national variations exist, meaning that a Deaf person from Australia or New Zealand may have difficulties communicating with a BSL user and vice versa.
Even within the UK, different regions have their own unique dialects and colloquialisms. This means that a Deaf person from the south of England, for example, may use different signs to someone from Scotland or the north.
So, although BSL is widely used by profoundly Deaf people in the UK, Hard of Hearing people, of which there are 11 million in the UK, use different forms of communication support such as lip readers, speech to text reporters and palantypists.
Due to the different signs used across different regions, Sign Solutions provides local in-person interpreters to match the requirements of local Deaf BSL users, so the signs are familiar.
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Body Language In Different Cultures: 9 Unique Expressions From Around The World
Do you know how Indians shake their hands for yes?
Or do the Japanese maintain eye contact when talking?
Body language is as important as the language itself.
And if you thought it was universal, youve got that all wrong.
Gestures that mean something in one country, dont necessarily mean the same in another.
As much as you need to learn a second language fluently, its also vital to get to know gestures in different cultures.
That is why weve gathered for you 10 body gestures in different cultures.
Its time for you to meet the rest of the world, so let’s start our journey now.
How To Study Body Language In Different Cultures
Im sure youre convinced by now that body language should be a part of your language studies. Unfortunately, hand gestures, how close or far away from someone you should stand, head movements and other integral parts of training your body to speak a new language arent generally covered in language textbooks.
So how can you learn the body language of the language youre studying? Well, the best way is by watching people interact with each other.
If youre lucky enough to live in a place where you can physically observe people interacting while they speak your target language, thats great! Go out and people-watch. Sit on a bench or in a cafe and observe the way people move, touch and gesture while they talk.
If you dont live somewhere where you can observe native speakers, dont worrythere are other options.
Learning the specific gestures and movements for the particular language you are studying is a big help in communicating with clarity and effectiveness.
This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that youcan take anywhere.
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Manual Codes For Spoken Languages
When Deaf and Hearing people interact, signing systems may be developed that use signs drawn from a natural sign language but used according to the grammar of the spoken language. In particular, when people devise one-for-one sign-for-word correspondences between spoken words and signs that represent them, the system that results is a manual code for a spoken language, rather than a natural sign language. Such systems may be invented in an attempt to help teach Deaf children the spoken language, and generally are not used outside an educational context.
Relationships With Spoken Languages
There is a common misconception that sign languages are somehow dependent on spoken languages: that they are spoken language expressed in signs, or that they were invented by hearing people. Similarities in language processing in the brain between signed and spoken languages further perpetuated this misconception. Hearing teachers in deaf schools, such as or Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, are often incorrectly referred to as “inventors” of sign language. Instead, sign languages, like all natural languages, are developed by the people who use them, in this case, deaf people, who may have little or no knowledge of any spoken language.
As a sign language develops, it sometimes borrows elements from spoken languages, just as all languages borrow from other languages that they are in contact with. Sign languages vary in how much they borrow from spoken languages. In many sign languages, a manual alphabet may be used in signed communication to borrow a word from a spoken language, by spelling out the letters. This is most commonly used for proper names of people and places it is also used in some languages for concepts for which no sign is available at that moment, particularly if the people involved are to some extent bilingual in the spoken language. Fingerspelling can sometimes be a source of new signs, such as initialized signs, in which the handshape represents the first letter of a spoken word with the same meaning.
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Brain Damage Affects Sign Language In The Same Way It Affects Spoken Language
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.