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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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6 votes
1 answer
101 views

How to look up a sign language sign in a dictionary

The other day, I was watching the weather channel, and, saw a sign language presenter signing. The specific sign language was known to me (as, most likely, was the one corresponding to the language ...
Joselin Jocklingson's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
206 views

Is Sign Language "spoken" in other languages?

In English we say "I speak sign language," I'm curious if the same idiom exists in other languages too or do they refer to it differently?
Matt's user avatar
  • 157
2 votes
1 answer
75 views

Is having many iconic features more common in artificial languages?

Is there any reason why the iconic nature of signed languages would historically have made linguists consider them to be artificial languages?
minseong's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
4k views

Do any languages use words like particles to represent commas, periods, hyphens, quotes, parentheses, etc.?

Wondering if any languages use words, particles, or other speakable markers to represent punctuation like periods, commas, hyphens, quotes, parentheses, question marks, exclamation marks, or ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 4,360
2 votes
1 answer
86 views

How dialectal/linguistic variation in Plains Indian Sign Language

Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL) was used as a lingua Franca in the Americas between tribes which didn’t have shared spoken languages. But according to Wikipedia, PISL was spoken across most of a ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
519 views

Are there any signs requiring side-to-side movement of fingers?

Lately I've been thinking about the kinematics and kinemes of ASL. For lack of better terminology, I'll use "side-to-side" to mean the movement one's finger makes when tilting it left or ...
Drake P's user avatar
  • 111
4 votes
0 answers
70 views

Can native ASL signers ID someone’s native sign language from their accent in otherwise fluent ASL?

Google keeps trying to give me native accent variations in ASL when I try to look this up, hence asking it here. In spoken English, it tends to be relatively obvious if someone’s first language is ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
210 views

How comprehensive is SLIPA?

I know that SLIPA is a first go around at making an IPA table for signed languages, but how comprehensive is it? The creator freely admits that his main exposure to sign languages is ASL, which ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
32 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can you rhyme words in sign language?

In spoken language, patterns of vowels, consonants, and stress are used to feel the similarity of form between two words and create rhymes. Can you do the same in sign language? Also, is there sign ...
honestSalami's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
127 views

Is mouthing phonemic in American Sign Language or other sign languages?

To be precise about my question: are there any pairs of signs in ASL or other sign languages where mouthing different words is the only thing which distinguishes two signs from one another? I’m asking ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
271 views

Can native signers of one sign language identify other sign languages?

I understand multiple spoken languages. If I hear someone speak (or see a writing in) English, I recognize that it's English not Latvian and interpret the sounds (or letters) as it's appropriate for ...
Džuris's user avatar
  • 203
1 vote
2 answers
158 views

The use of ASL outside of Deaf contexts

Following a discussion about sign language with my girlfriend, I was wondering if ASL can have uses outside of the deaf / mute community. For example being to communicate at a concert without ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 139
6 votes
1 answer
108 views

What sort of features contrast in some signed languages but not others?

I don't know anything about sign language linguistics, and the Wikipedia page on ASL phonology wasn't very helpful, and suggested wide ranges of allophony. In considering phonemes as equivalence ...
Azor Ahai -him-'s user avatar
7 votes
9 answers
5k views

Is American Sign Language phonetic?

In every spoken language I'm aware of, if you read a word you are unfamiliar with, you can generally work out how to pronounce the word from how it's written. You can sound it out. Is this kind of ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 203
7 votes
1 answer
265 views

Is there a term for ASL signs for related concepts that share the same motion and are distinguished by initialization?

As an ASL learner, I've noticed that there are groups of words with similar meanings, where the only difference is an initialized handshape. For example, the sign FAMILY has the two hands move outward ...
octern's user avatar
  • 185
0 votes
2 answers
135 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?
Norse God's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
282 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 ...
Lance's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
243 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, ...
obstruction's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
988 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 ...
Vincent Bechmann's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
161 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 ? ...
Typhon's user avatar
  • 1,023
8 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Bruder Lustig's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
155 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 ...
Nate Glenn's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
228 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 ...
Tirous's user avatar
  • 375
2 votes
1 answer
81 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 ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
246 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 ...
Teusz's user avatar
  • 2,701
10 votes
1 answer
267 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?
Luís Henrique's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
57 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 ...
Anaphory's user avatar
  • 282
8 votes
1 answer
287 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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
10k 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?
kvfi's user avatar
  • 101
2 votes
2 answers
472 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?
julia's user avatar
  • 29
3 votes
1 answer
110 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 ...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k 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?
Jesse Cohoon's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
126 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 ...
Patrick Stevens's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
180 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 ...
Phil Hobrla's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
776 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....
Pavel Jetušek's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
367 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.
perelman's user avatar
  • 141
1 vote
2 answers
6k 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 ...
Xirux Nefer's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
Panda's user avatar
  • 181
10 votes
1 answer
360 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 ...
onionics's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
2 answers
508 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 ...
Peter Olson's user avatar
  • 1,412
17 votes
2 answers
826 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 ...
Andy's user avatar
  • 575
10 votes
2 answers
18k 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 ...
Tyler Rinker's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 285
6 votes
1 answer
839 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 285
7 votes
3 answers
984 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 ...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
162 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 ...
Serpil Karabüklü's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
Alenanno's user avatar
  • 9,438
4 votes
1 answer
107 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, ...
Serpil Karabüklü's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
382 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 ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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