Questions about languages that use visual transmitted sign patterns, mostly used by deaf people.

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What gave rise to the manual alphabet for Latin characters in Japanese Sign Language?

I am aware of the fact that this question is rather specific, but anyway I would like to give it a try. Japanese Sign Language has three manual alphabets: one for representing kana-characters, and ...
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2answers
179 views

Has a spoken language ever borrowed a word from a signed language?

There are plenty of examples of signed languages borrowing or deriving words from spoken language. In ASL, the word DOG is a lexicalized fingerspelling of "dog", CHURCH is made with the "c" handshape ...
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149 views

Are there signed languages that have a case system?

In a prior question I asked whether word order in ASL has a special significance, which naturally lead to another question: do any signed languages, that is languages communicated mostly if not fully ...
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509 views

What defines a language?

I'm reading around multimodal text and many of the readings I have come across (Kress, Halliday) seem to define language as spoken or written communication. That seems to exclude sign language and ...
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300 views

What role does fingerspelling play in sign language?

It's my understanding that sign languages combine a mix of directly signing words with fingerspelling words using a manual alphabet. What exactly is the role of fingerspelling? Is it only used to ...
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1answer
209 views

What similarities are there between Nicaraguan (ISN) and American (ASL) Sign Language?

I frequently travel to Nicaragua and interact with a group of children who are learning ISN (Nicaraguan Sign Language) at their school. I have no experience with ASL (other than a friend teaching me a ...
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209 views

Why are spoken languages more common than signed languages?

As I understand, there is no essential difference between spoken and signed languages. Both have the same kinds of phonetic, morphological, syntactical and semantic complexities, both are prone to ...
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93 views

Are doubled questions in sign languages arbitrary?

The wh- questions in sign languages crosslinguistically can be seen in clause-initial or clause-final position or in both positions. They can be seen in one of the positions in question sentence, like ...
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83 views

Is the position of content questions in sign language due to articulary or syntactic reasons?

In sign languages, the position for content questions is clause-initial, clause-final or both. For instance; TİD (Turkish Sign Language) licenses both. When there is topicalization in the sentence, ...
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166 views

Is there a cross-linguistic subdivision of phones in signed languages akin to how all spoken languages have vowel and consonant phones?

After reading Joe Martin's enlightening answer to the question "Are there counterparts to phones and phonetics for signed languages?" I immediately began to wonder how much further spoken and signed ...
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422 views

Do sign languages inflect?

I saw the statement a few times that sign languages inflect in the same way that spoken languages do, but all examples I came across refer to phenomena that I would classify as word formation rather ...
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217 views

Do Sign Languages have ambiguities?

I just noted that there exists a whole literature on Sign Language. I didn't even know there existed more than one... It's very interesting now. :) I then found computers can already interpret some ...
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311 views

Does lip movement in Turkish sign language have a grammatical feature?

Apart from manuals, also nonmanuals; such as head tilt or head shake have grammatical features in Turkish sign languages. They appear while asking questions or giving negation. Some lip movements are ...
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167 views

Do signed languages undergo the same processes of change that the spoken ones do?

There are several processes of change that affect spoken languages, including phonological and phonetic change, semantic change and lexical replacement. Each of these categories, in turn, comprise a ...
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1answer
228 views

Are first words in signed languages composed of signs that babies frequently babble?

In many spoken languages, the words for "mother" and "father" are composed of sounds that babies make very early. Is there a similar trend for early words that babies babble across signed languages?
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581 views

Are there examples of pidgins or creoles in sign languages? If so, which are the major ones?

The other day I was wondering, are there occurrences of pidgins or creoles in the world of Sign languages? So I made a quick search but there doesn't seem to be much. For example, I found the Hawaii ...
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356 views

Examples of physical signs adding content to conversation?

I love constructed languages, especially in fiction where I get a taste of constructed culture to go with it. One interesting idea that has popped up a few times in what I've been reading is the idea ...
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3answers
349 views

Are there counterparts to phones and phonetics for signed languages?

Given that there is a difference between phonetics and phonology, and that in the study of signed languages cherology is the counterpart to phonology, are there also counterparts to phones and ...
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633 views

What is a phoneme in the context of a signed language?

A phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language. SIL.
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441 views

Is Nicaraguan Sign Language the only language born from nothing?

My interest in linguistics was sparked by John McWhorter's popular book The Power of Babel, which, in its section on creoles, includes a small piece on Nicaraguan Sign Language, which really sparked ...
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172 views

What Sign Language developed among orphans/homeless children using the environment as a base for the signs?

I remember in one of my linguistics classes, a rather complex sign language (perhaps in Brazil, if I recall correctly) exists among, I believe, deaf children homeless children/orphans on the street. I ...
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174 views

To what extent has Martha's Vineyard SL been reconstructed?

Martha's Vineyard had a large deaf population and a native sign language. I read that this had been partially reconstructed by looking at the differences between ASL and LSF, as modern ASL is ...