22

Absolutely yes, sign languages have rhymes and poetry and rhythm. All are based on modifying the prose form (normal, non-special daily use form) of the language to create heightened sensation - through control of pace, repetition of handshape or movement or facial features or accentuation of certain signs. I'm not keen on the webpage @user6726 kindly linked ...


18

Probably not. According the Ethnologue entry for Russian Sign Language: Reported historical connections to sign languages in Austria and France, but not obvious from extensive wordlist comparison (Bickford 2005). This implicitly suggests that they are not mutually intelligible (that is, that users of Russian Sign Language can't necessarily understand ...


16

No. There are many sign languages that are mutually incomprehensible. It can even occur that the sign languages of countries with the same official language (e.g., English or Spanish) are mutually incomprehensible. This is the case for American Sign Language and British Sign Language.


16

Briefly, yes. This page gives a nice introduction to the ASL analogs. As with spoken language, you do this based on physical similarity, in the case of ASL the handshape, location, palm orientation, movement, and non-manual signal. Samples are included. However, I don't know of an intro to ASL rhyme designed for the curious, who have no knowledge of ASL at ...


14

Usually when we sign* we use our mouths to mouthe a word. This can be used to disambiguate certain lexemes (for example, divorce and ex-spouse have the same sign in ASL, so one way to clarify which you mean is to mouthe whichever of those two English words.). So it's quite natural to also whisper it because you can't help but let some air pass through your ...


13

Do you mean can you know how to sign a word in American Sign Language by reading it in English? Well no, because the two languages are not really that similar. Sign languages are not transformations of the local spoken language, they are independent fully formed languages with their own vocabularies and grammars. ASL is actually part of the French Sign ...


10

Yes, and no. There are many different sign lanuages in the world, and they have a tree of descent just as spoken languages do. But there is very little connection between the sign language and the spoken languages of a particular area For example, ASL (American Sign Language) is said to be derived from French Sign Language: both are utterly different from ...


10

Spoken and signed languages are distinguished in the brain in different ways. From the perspective of perception, spoken language is processed in the cochlear nucleus of the brainstem and then the primary auditory cortex, whereas signed language is processed by the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus and then the visual cortex. As for production, ...


10

Sign languages are true natural human languages, so the first misconception to overcome is that anyone has the power to control it like the question suggests. We can set conventional spellings in a written language, but we can't tell people what words to say (or write.) Asking why American Sign Language needs to have a different grammar to American English ...


10

It appears you are (implicitly) asking about Sutton Sign Writing. If you don't know the system, obviously you can't learn a new sign. It's not clear how many signers know the system, but it appears that, in principle, the system is capable of symbolising any sign in any manual language, so that a monolingual ASL dictionary could be possible.


8

I think the Original Poster might be of the widely held belief that sign language translates 'actual' spoken language into signs. For example, one could envisage a system where the sentence she is at home would have four signs, one meaning she one meaning is, one meaning at and one meaning home. This would be a system similar to signed English for example, ...


8

I've never learned a term for this and I can't think of a direct analogy in English. This kind of word formation is much more productive in ASL (and in sign languages generally) than in English (and spoken languages generally). I've listed the examples you gave, and a few more: [T]rigonometry, [A]lgebra, [C]alculus, ... [Y]ellow, [B]lue, ... [F]amily, [G]...


7

Sign languages generally do not have rich case systems because they tend to be much more head-marking than, say, English. By this I mean that a translation of your Latin sentences into a hypothetical sign language might be something like BOY FARMER KILL-he-him where he and him are verbal inflections that make it clear who killed whom. If we consider word ...


7

wondering if sign language has the concept of words, The notion of "wordhood" is fluid enough that we can make either of the following claims: a sign is equivalent to a word a sign translates to a word, or a word translates to a sign (so then a word would be something that doesn't directly apply to sign languages) a word consists of signs a sign consists ...


7

I think part of the issue here is that you’re comparing ASL - which has several non-concatenative (I.e. simultaneous) elements - to spoken languages, which have more limitations as far as that’s concerned and are typically concatenative (I.e. linear). Phonologically, a sign has 4 elements: handshape (the configuration your fingers and hand make), movement, ...


7

One example is the fact that divorce and ex are signed the same. So you can distinguish the two by actually mouthing the English word. Another example is that for example write carelessly and write carefully are distinguished by mouthing. To say "carelessy", you can whisper "thhhh" as you tilt your head toward your dominant arm. To say &...


5

Yes. – However these communities are quite small. There seem to be active groups on Facebook for ASLWrite (315 members) and another for Sutton SignWriting (442 members). Sutton SignWriting is also used for teaching sign language in Brazil. I have made an attempt at adapting the ASLWrite system for use with Swedish Sign Language (linked page in Swedish). ...


5

First, I'd just like to clarify that the chereme is not “the emic unit” for signed languages, but rather the signed version of a phoneme — which indeed is exactly the cause for what you noticed. Due to the exact parallel between chereology and phonology, linguists have generally agreed to simply use the same terms as in spoken languages. One way of ...


5

I guess most signed languages are known to too few speaking people for such an occurrence to be likely. It is not so much a matter of prestige as a matter of population size and communication. However, there are also very limited signed languages used by speaking people when they have to communicate silently or from a distance. It would have a better chance ...


5

No, this is not the only example of a language that was developed de novo. When deaf people are born in an environment where sign language is used, they acquire it just like hearing children acquire spoken language. However, between 90 and 95% of deaf people are born to hearing parents. Parents are met with a variety of early intervention options, and ...


5

There are several examples of sign languages that have been invented de novo. Notably, Nicaraguan Sign Language, Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language and other Village Sign Languages. In isolation, when deaf children are not exposed to either a signed or spoken language (which is remarkably common even in developed countries) they invent their own home sign ...


5

There's a lot of types of signed languages (some more like sign vocabularies), so not all have the same properties. Also, they are not limited to deaf communities. Most famously, the Plains Indian Sign Language was used both within and across cultures. It certainly wasn't just a sign encoding of spoken language which is what many non-deaf sign languages are....


5

As an answer to your second question, I searched the Swedish Sign Language Corpus (http://www.ling.su.se/teckensprakskorpus), where the total number of signs is roughly around 28 000 (depending on how you define a sign, please see http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:186542 for further reading). Fingerspelled signs accounted for about 6.2% ...


5

If we define 'accent' to mean a distinctive manner of expressing language characteristic of a particular group(s) then I would say that the answer to your question is yes. All that would be required for such a notion to be possible is a group of people stressing certain modes of their language in certain idiosyncratic ways. This much has been shown to ...


5

In the 1960’s, the linguist William Stokoe showed that the American Sign Language is a full fledged language, and subsequent linguistic studies confirmed that sign languages share all the characteristics of oral languages (expect the obvious sign/sound difference), and there is no reason to consider them differently. So ASL is “langue”, and the concrete ...


5

I don't think there are many signed or spoken languages with a truly comprehensive reference grammar. The best descriptive grammar that I know of for Auslan is this publication by Adam Schembri The structure and formation of signs in Auslan. More technical works on Auslan by the same author are here. A more general introduction to Auslan is this work by ...


5

For British Sign Language I know of the following books: "The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction" by Rachel Sutton-Spence and Benzi Woll. The grammar section in the introduction to "Dictionary of British Sign Language/English" published by the British Deaf Association. Neither of these will help you very much if you haven't already ...


5

If I may add to Wilson's very good answer; another reason may occur when a Deaf person has also been educated orally. One of my Auslan teachers was educated orally and only learned sign language in her mid-20's. She says this is why when she signs, she almost always mouthes the words too.


5

Even assuming you're only talking about North America, the answer is no. There are about 300 indigenous languages reliably attested (depending how you count them), some of which are related but many of which aren't (to the limits of our evidence). There's never been a common language, spoken or signed, that was understood by all of them. There were/are sign ...


4

Auslan has a genitive marker, though I don't know if it should be called a case. I'm not aware of it having other case markers and the word order isn't free.


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