• Sign language is not universal. Like spoken languages, sign languages emerge naturally in communities and change through time. The following list is grouped into three sections: Deaf sign languages, which are the preferred languages of Deaf communities around the world; Signed modes of spoken languages, also known as Manually Coded Languages; Auxiliary sign systems, which are not "native" languages, but are signed systems of varying complexity used in addition to native languages. Simple gestures are not considered auxiliary sign systems for the purposes of this page. The list is sorted alphabetically and regionally, and such groupings should not be taken to imply any genetic relationships between the languages (see Language family#Sign languages). Contents [hide] 1 Deaf sign languages 1.1 Contemporary 1.1.1 Africa 1.1.2 The Americas 1.1.3 Asia/Pacific 1.1.4 Europe 1.1.5 Middle East 1.2 Historical sign languages 2 Auxiliary sign systems 3 Signed modes of spoken languages 4 See also 5 References 6 External links [edit] Deaf sign languages [edit] Contemporary [edit] Africa There are at least 23 sign languages in Africa, according to Nobutaka Kamei in The Sign Languages of Africa (2004).[1] Some have distributions that are completely independent of those of African spoken languages. At least 13 foreign sign languages, mainly from Europe and America, have been introduced to at least 27 African nations; some of the 23 sign languages documented by Kamei have originated with or been influenced by them. Adamorobe Sign Language (ADS) (Ghana) Algerian Sign Language Bamako Sign Language (in a school in Mali) Bura Sign Language — Nigeria (PDF link) Chadian Sign Language Ethiopian Sign Language Franco-American Sign Language — a pidgin observed in Cameroon and elsewhere in West and Central Africa. Ghana Sign Language (GSE) Hausa Sign Language (HSL) — Northern Nigeria (Kano State) Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) Malagasy Sign Language — Madagascar Mbour Sign Language — Senegal Namibian Sign Language South African Sign Language (SASL) Tanzanian Sign Language Tunisian Sign Language Uganda Sign Language Zambian Sign Language Zimbabwe Sign Language [edit] The Americas American Sign Language (ASL) Bolivian Sign Language Brazilian Sign Language "Lingua Brasileira de Sinais" (LIBRAS) Colombian Sign Language (CSN) Costa Rican Sign Language (LESCO) Cuba Sign Language Honduras Sign Language "Lengua de Señas Hondureñas" (LESHO) Mexican Sign Language "Lenguaje de signos mexicano" (LSM) Nicaraguan Sign Language "Idioma de Signos Nicaragüense" (ISN) Quebec Sign Language "Langue des Signes Québécoise" (LSQ) Providence Island Sign Language Urubú Sign Language Venezuelan Sign Language "Lengua de Señas Venezolana" (LSV) Yucatec Maya Sign Language [edit] Asia/Pacific Auslan (Australian Sign Language) Ban Khor Sign Language — used in the Isan region of Thailand. Chinese Sign Language "中国手语" (CSL) Filipino Sign Language "Philippine Sign Language" (PSL) Hawaii Pidgin Sign Language Hong Kong Sign Language "香港手語" (HKSL) Indo-Pakistani Sign Language Indonesian Sign Language Japanese Sign Language "日本手話" (Nihon shuwa), (JSL) Kata Kolok — used in Bali Laos Sign Language Korean Sign Language Malaysian Sign Language "Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia" (BIM) Nepal Sign Language New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Penang Sign Language (used in Malaysia) Selangor Sign Language (used in Malaysia) Sri Lankan Sign Language Taiwanese Sign Language (TSL) Thai Sign Language Vietnamese sign languages (Hanoi Sign Language, Ho Chi Minh Sign Language, Haiphong Sign Language) [edit] Europe Austrian Sign Language "Österreichische Gebärdensprache" (ÖGS) Belgian-French Sign Language "Langue des Signes de Belgique Francophone" (LSFB) Brazilian Sign Language "Língua Brasileira de Sinais" (LIBRAS) British Sign Language (BSL) Bulgarian Sign Language Catalan Sign Language (or "Catalonian Sign Language") "Llengua de Signes Catalana" (LSC) Croatian Sign Language (Croslan) "Hrvatskog Znakovnog Jezika" (HZJ) Czech Sign Language "Český znakový jazyk" (CZJ) Danish Sign Language "Tegnsprog" Dutch Sign Language "Nederlandse Gebarentaal" (NGT), also commonly known as "Sign Language of the Netherlands" (SLN) Estonian Sign Language Finnish Sign Language "Suomalainen viittomakieli" (SVK) Flemish Sign Language "Vlaamse Gebarentaal" (VGT) French Sign Language "Langues des Signes Français" (LSF) German Sign Language "Deutsche Gebärdensprache" (DGS) Greek Sign Language "Ελληνική Νοηματική Γλώσσα" (GSL) Hungarian Sign Language "Magyar jelnyelv" Icelandic Sign Language "Táknmál" Irish Sign Language (ISL) Italian Sign Language "Lingua dei Segni Italiana" (LIS) Lithuanian Sign Language "Lietuvių gestų kalba" Maltese Sign Language "Lingwi tas-Sinjali Maltin" (LSM) Northern Ireland Sign Language (NISL) Norwegian Sign Language "Tegnspråk" (NSL) Polish Sign Language "Polski Język Migowy" (PJM) Portuguese Sign Language "Lingua Gestual Portuguesa" (LGP) Russian Sign Language "Russkii Zhestovyi Iazyk" Spanish Sign Language "Lengua de signos española" (LSE) Swedish Sign Language "Svenskt teckenspråk" (TSP) Swiss-French Sign Language "Langage Gestuelle" Swiss-German Sign Language "Deutschschweizer Gebärdensprache" (DSGS) Turkish Sign Language "Türk İşaret Dili" (TİD) Valencian Sign Language "Llengua de Signes en la Comunitat Valenciana" (LSCV) [edit] Middle East Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL), Southern Israel Israeli Sign Language Persian Sign Language Jordanian Sign Language Lughat il-Ishaarah il-Urduniah (LIU) Kuwaiti Sign Language Saudi Arabian Sign Language Turkish Sign Language "Türk İşaret Dili" (TİD) [edit] Historical sign languages BANZSL - 'Parent' language of which BSL, Auslan, and NZSL can be considered dialects Martha's Vineyard Sign Language Old French Sign Language - Parent language of many sign languages Old Kent Sign Language [edit] Auxiliary sign systems Australian Aboriginal sign languages Baby Sign - using signs to assist early language development in young children. Baseball Sign - a method used in baseball and softball to communicate strategic plays without the opponent knowing Contact Sign - a pidgin or contact language between a spoken language and a sign language, eg. Pidgin Sign English (PSE). International Sign (previously known as Gestuno) - an auxiliary language used by deaf people in international settings. Makaton - a system of signed communication used by and with people who have speech, language or learning difficulties. Monastic sign language Plains Indian Sign Language Tic tac - a traditional British system of communicating betting odds at racecourses. [edit] Signed modes of spoken languages For a more extensive list see Manually Coded Language. This page lists only those MCLs with pages on Wikipedia. General Cued Speech - a hand/mouth system (HMS) to render spoken language phonemes visually intelligible. Fingerspelling - alphabetic signs to represent the written form of a spoken language. English Manually Coded English Signing Exact English (SEE2) Esperanto Signuno Malay Bahasa Malaysia Kod Tangan (BMKT) Warlpiri Warlpiri Sign Language.
  • I think the most common sign language in the USA is ASL (American Sign Language). There are surely other sign languages. If someone in Europe, someone else in East Asia and another from the Americas all know ASL, they should be able to communicate fine. There may be some grammar and word order difficulties that come from different cultures... hopefully someone can add that information.
  • "Sign Language" is not generally an international language. There are many different sign languages that people learn and converse with. The one that I am familiar with is American Sign Language (ASL)... but thats obviously the American version of sign language, and there are many different "dialects" of sign language all over the world. Just because I might know ASL, doesn't mean I would understand someone conversing in a sign language. There is a sign language called "International Sign Language" (previously called "Gestuno") that is used mainly at international Deaf events such as the Deaflympics and meetings of the World Federation of the Deaf. However, most people who commonly converse in sign language do not use this particular one for everyday use. See:
  • There are many different types of sign language, I can 'speak' BSL (British Sign Language) and know a few little bits of ASL (American Sign Language) and their are a lot of diffences, like with spoken languages most people speak their own one, but there are a lot of common signs between languages and a Deaf person who uses one sign language would stand more chance of understanding a different sign language than two people using different spoken languages. The main differences seems to be with finger spelling, which is what you do to spell out names and other things that do not have their own signs, ASL, BSL etc. are very different on those.
  • Every country will have its own sign language. it is rare, but you may even find some differences among people who sign in American Sign Language within the same neighborhood. However, those are going to be very minor like accents. In ASL, for "bread," the sign is holding one hand so the palm is up and then running the edge of the other hand over it like slicing a loaf of bread. That makes sense - for Americans. In France, the sign for bread is as if a person is carrying a baguette (long French bread) under the arm and then breaking off a piece. So, in general ASL tends to be the same throughout America. However, different counties have totally different signs while some may end up being the same, just like "restaurant" in French and English - just said a bit differently.
  • Sign language is not universal. Most countries have their own unique sign language. Like spoken languages, sign languages have their own grammar, syntax, and rules.
  • I think every spoken language has its own sign language. So I would say no, it is not universal. Each language and region developed its own sign language.
  • you know we all have different kind of sign language, asl, see, psl, forgein sign language etc, just like you hearing people have all kind of different accents. same idea as us deaf people
  • in a way they have it in bigger countries like the uk Australia etc but not all the signs are the same for example i think the letter A is diff in the uk from the one in the us
  • pantaloons has more detailed knowledge than I do, but yes....sign language IS supposed to be universal.
  • sign language is the primary form of communication for deaf people, but it varies from country to country. just like an english speaker has to learn french, someone who signs ASL (american sign lingo) would have to learn LSF (french sign lingo). ASL is its own language, and deaf people who learn to read, write, or even speak english are bilingual.
  • Unfortunately not. Sign language is like any other language - there are different versions in different countries. In fact in the US and UK the situation is even worse. In written English we spell things differently and use some words differently, but ASL and BSL are very different. I believe that someone signing in one would not be understood by the other. I am not deaf though, so I stand to be corrected.
  • Sign Language is not universal. In Britian there are even differences in signs across regions, for example they cout different in manchester than they do in birmingham.
  • I've just been reading some of the latest medical news about sign language so I thought I would post it up here for all to share.. Forms of sign language have developed in a number of countries. American Sign Language, which originated from French signing, has been most extensively researched. As sign language is based on gestures executed in space and perceived visually it might be thought that it would mainly be a function of the right cerebral hemisphere when this is the non-dominant one. A number of studies are reviewed showing that sign language is a language in its own right and therefore, as with spoken language, its primary site of organization is in the dominant hemisphere. This does not mean that there is not a significant contribution from the other hemisphere with an interplay between the two. Each research project usually contributes some facet of knowledge apart from the main conclusions. These included the importance of distinguishing signs from gestures, the localization of different types of signing within the left dominant cerebral hemisphere, the fact that lesions of the right non-dominant hemisphere, although not causing a loss of signing will result in dyspraxia, and that aphasic symptoms of signing and speech are not modality dependant but reflected a disruption of language processes common to all languages. Examples are given of discoveries made by the use of the newer neuroradiological techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, and no doubt these will lead to further advances in knowledge. The use of sign language in the treatment of patients with verbal aphasia is considered, especially of children with the Landau–Kleffner syndrome, but therapy of this kind can be used in children with delayed language development, and in other types of acquired aphasia at any age. Other methods of treatment than signing, such as cochlear implants may be increasingly used in the future, but it seems likely that sign language will continue to be a dominant feature in the deaf culture.
  • This is a pretty comprehensive list of known sign languages around the world: Some are similar to each other, some are even mutually comprehensible, and some contain very different dialects that are still given the same language name. There IS a "universal sign language" which is often used at conventions where many deaf people from different language groups are attending (wikipedia page But I don't think you'd find any person who used this as their language of communication - they'd use it specifically in those circumstances.

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