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Questions tagged [sign-languages]

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

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79 views

Can Native Americans of different linguistic background still communicate using sign language?

Are they able to understand each other using gestures and symbols only? despite of their differences in language?
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1answer
127 views

Do sign languages have words?

In order to better understand the meaning of the concept of "words", I'm wondering if signed language has the concept of words, or if not, what their concept is for the "signs" they create (maybe they ...
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1answer
69 views

Does (or should) the terms “spoken language” and “speech” include signed language?

And if not, is there a term, accepted by both the Deaf and linguistic communities, that includes both spoken and signed language, in contrast to written language? Reputable linguistic sources, ...
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1answer
118 views

Why is sign language different from spoken language?

I have read a bit about sign language, and apparently they have different grammar from the local spoken language. Why would they need this? Doesn't it complicate things to have to learn 2 languages ...
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0answers
73 views

Are there “mixed languages” that are neither wholly oral or signed ?

As we all know, most languages of the world are spoken orally. And there is a number of signed languages, mostly used by Deaf people. But are there any languages which use both modality at once ? ...
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2answers
185 views

When people converse in sign language, why do they make whispering sounds?

Recently in the bus I sat next to two persons conversing* in sign language. In their conversation, they were not only using gestures and mimics for expressing what they wanted to say but also were ...
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1answer
56 views

comprehensive reference grammar on any sign language

I have been reading Velupillai's An Introduction to Linguistic Typology, and the author stresses how much work still needs to be done for sign languages in general. She mentions in particular that ...
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2answers
119 views

Does your brain make a distinction between vocal and non-vocal language?

Language noob here. Just curious; does are body, while learning a language, make a distinction between spoken language and sign language? Or are they all just inputs and outputs to your brain? Each ...
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1answer
41 views

Are there any computer readable corpora for ASL?

I'm looking to see if there are any free-to-use corpora in ASL (any domain is fine), transcribed so a computer can use it. I am interested in doing some analysis on ASL syntax, morphology etc. But I ...
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1answer
93 views

Would Saussure consider sign language as “parole”?

I wonder if sign language would be "parole" according to Saussurian linguistics. After all, parole can be denied as the "concrete" use of the language, the actual utterances. It is an external ...
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1answer
125 views

Do sign languages have “accents” like verbal languages?

Do sign languages have "accents" like verbal languages? If so, what would be some examples of those?
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0answers
38 views

How is the second touch of “DEAF” written in Stokoe notation?

I am trying to understand Stokoe notation, but I am not clear how to specify the location of a second contact, such as in the ASL sign “DEAF”. Presumably the general representation of that sign ...
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0answers
76 views

Are there literate speech communities for Sign Languages?

I am aware of some systems of sign writing (e.g. Sutton SignWriting). They are used in dictionaries, teaching materials, or scientific documentation. But did some Sign Language speech communities ...
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4answers
5k views

Do two deaf persons from different countries understand each other? [duplicate]

While listening to this podcast about saving dying languages. A question came to my mind: Does a deaf person from France understand a deaf person from Russia or any other country?
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2answers
162 views

Idioms in Sign Languages

Do sign languages have their own idioms, or do they just have direct translations of idioms from spoken languages? Can you give some examples of idioms in sign language?
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1answer
77 views

Sign languages of non-mute people

Does anyone study the sign language of people that can actually speak/pronounce/utter words? What would you call such study and what would you call such subject? I mean, if a person can use both ...
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2answers
480 views

Do different languages use different sign language?

Or the concept of the word is what's being communicated through signs, but not the word itself?
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1answer
94 views

British Sign Language symbol identification [closed]

At the start of this video for learning British Sign Language, there is a sign which I don't recognise. With the index finger of the non-dominant hand, the signer is pulling their eyebrow down while ...
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1answer
371 views

sign languages and mute people

Wikipedia has a lot of information about sign languages spoken around the world and references them as being spoken by deaf people. What I don't understand is, why wouldn't such languages also be used ...
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1answer
93 views

Has the ‘chereme’ fallen out of vogue as an emic unit?

Background My 'ex' was a Gallaudet student (in Interpreting; he was hearing, not Deaf). I gathered a basic survey understanding of the linguistics (well, TBH, the politics) of sign-languages. I ...
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2answers
227 views

Is the idea of “simultaneity” in sign language as opposed to “linearity” in spoken language really tenable?

I have seen scholars claim that... "sign languages are simultaneous whereas spoken languages are linear". In my opinion, however, the notion of "linearity" vs. "simultaneity" is misleading at best....
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1answer
155 views

Pig Latin equivalent for ASL?

Does ASL have language games? They seem very common for spoken languages (e.g., Pig Latin for English), but I can't find any documentation of them for sign languages.
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2answers
4k views

Which sign language should I learn first? [closed]

I want to start learning sign language. The Wikipedia lists several sign languages depending on real spoken languages, and they all have their origins and families and classifications just like spoken ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the origin of the silent visual applause sign?

Using a silent visual applause by flapping one's hands instead of clapping is used by several communities: some deaf communities, some autistic communities and some buddhist communities. It would ...
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1answer
212 views

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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302 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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2answers
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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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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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2answers
1k 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
572 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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3answers
576 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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2answers
114 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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5answers
6k views

What language, if any, do deaf people think in?

If a person is partially deaf, I think they would be able to acquire the language, and actually I've seen partially deaf people speak in addition to the use of a sign language. I suppose this means ...
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1answer
95 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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277 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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2answers
1k 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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1answer
413 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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2answers
415 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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2answers
225 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
322 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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1answer
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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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3answers
756 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
550 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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7answers
2k 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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871 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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284 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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1answer
210 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 ...