Questions tagged [sign-languages]

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

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12
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8answers
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 ...
2
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1answer
50 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 ...
0
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1answer
51 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 ...
4
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0answers
56 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 ...
4
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1answer
137 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 ...
32
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2answers
4k 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 ...
8
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1answer
105 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 ...
7
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1answer
215 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 ...
1
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2answers
111 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 ...
6
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1answer
91 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 ...
9
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7answers
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 ...
7
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1answer
184 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 ...
0
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2answers
112 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?
3
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1answer
207 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 ...
9
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1answer
179 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, ...
3
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1answer
312 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 ...
4
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0answers
121 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 ? ...
8
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2answers
3k 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 ...
6
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2answers
125 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 ...
6
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2answers
221 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 ...
2
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1answer
70 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 ...
3
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1answer
198 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 ...
9
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1answer
231 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?
2
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0answers
50 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 ...
8
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1answer
231 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 ...
8
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4answers
9k 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?
2
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2answers
383 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?
3
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1answer
103 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 ...
3
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2answers
871 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?
2
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1answer
112 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 ...
1
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1answer
1k 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 ...
3
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1answer
152 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 ...
1
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2answers
639 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....
4
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1answer
280 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
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 ...
8
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2answers
3k 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 ...
10
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1answer
323 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 ...
10
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2answers
406 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 ...
16
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2answers
587 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 ...
9
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2answers
17k 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 ...
5
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2answers
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
778 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
871 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
151 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 ...
13
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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 ...
4
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1answer
102 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, ...
7
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2answers
348 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 ...
17
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2answers
2k 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 ...
8
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1answer
631 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 ...
14
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2answers
495 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 ...