by Kangbou Yang
Sign Language Around the
World: A Look at the Diversity of Sign Languages.
In the world we live in, there are many different languages use
throughout worldwide. Not all languages are verbally spoken. One
of the non-verbally use language is Sign Language. Just like how
we hearing people, people who could speak verbally, communicate
with our words, Sign Language does the same but with the
movement of hands. Just like verbally spoken languages, there is
no universal Language. Every country has its own spoken language
and so goes for Sign Language.
Everyone country has their own dialect of Sign Language use
throughout the world. In the United States of America, ASL
(American Sign Language) is use, in Britain, BSL (British Sign
Language) is use, in France, FSL (French Sign Language) is use,
in Japan, JSL (Japanese Sign Language) is use, and so on.
Although there is not a universal Sign Language that is use for
all Sign Language in different countries, according to the
Directorate of Human Resources at Oxford Brookes University,
“The sign language taught to a large majority of deaf people is
called BSL (British Sign Language).” But according to the book,
For Hearing People Only, written by Matthew S. Moore and Linda
Levitan, the state that “American Sign Language, although
possessing many regional dialects and “accents,” is standardizes
enough to be easily understood by ASL users (an estimated
500,000 to 2 million…) from coast to coast.” As we can see, many
languages of Sign Language are being use throughout the world in
many different places. Some countries may use the same sign and
terms or a completely different sign for the same term or vice
versa. Although there is not really a universal sign for sign
language, many sign language can be understand in different
places for the borrowing of terms and sign from each other to
form another dialect in different parts of the world or “from
city to city (Moore and Levitan, 2003).”
In another part of the world, Japan, sign language has become
pretty popular there. In Karen Nakamura piece on the World Wide
Web, she said that there have been a television show strictly
just teaching hearing people how to sign. There are also Sign
Language interpreters on news broadcast and other shows now.
Sign Language has become pretty popular in certain areas but not
all, just like in Japan. In Japan Sign Language, Nakamura said
that Japan uses more mouthing to distinguish between the
different signs as to America who uses the initial letter of the
English word. There many ways and usage to differentiate among
signs in different countries and different use of them.
Sign Language seems to be coming out into the open and people
are starting to acknowledge it. More and more people are
learning Sign Language, just like me, everyday now. Sign
Language is just not a universal sign that is use throughout the
world. Sign Language is just like the spoken language where each
country or different part of the world has their own language.
Moore and Levitan mention how in every small area or for
personal interpretations, each person has their own signs from
themselves if there is no sign for it, which is just use among
that particular group for their own understanding. So this comes
to show that Sign Language is very similar to the Spoken
Language but yet so different in its own special way. Sign
Language is just not use in one area of the world but throughout
the world in many different signs, forms and techniques.
Moore, M. and Levitan, Linda (2003). For Hearing People Only.
Rochester, New York: Deaf Life Press.
Nakamura, Karen. (1995, December 17). About Japanese Sign
Langauge. Deaf Resource Library. Retrieved 1, Dec. 2006: http://www.deaflibrary.org/jsl.html
Messurier, Wendy L. (2003, June). Hearing Impairment. SENDA
Workshop. Oxford Brookes University. Retrieved 1, Dec. 2006:
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