Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interesting Facts About Sign Language

Sign language is a great way to communicate with other people, and it has been a breakthrough for those who are deaf or unable to speak. Most people who don't have to use sign language don't know much about it, but the language is extremely interesting, and those who learn it can find it extremely beneficial.

The use of sign language dates back a very long time. The origins of American sign language travel all the way back to the 18th century. While there is no real explanation for how American sign language came to be, many believe that certain events led up to its inception.

American sign language and French sign language are very similar, and it is believed that American sign language was developed with French sign language  and American Indian sign language as a base.

If you use sign language, or if you're simply interested in it, the following are some interesting facts.

1. Sign language is not the same in every country, just like verbal language. Just like different countries have different languages, different countries also have different signs.

2. There is not a sign for every word in the English language. Sometimes one sign will refer to an entire phrase if said verbally.

3. Research has shown that teaching babies sign language—even if they don't have a physical reason to learn it—will improve their cognitive development.

4. In 35 states, sign language is considered a foreign language and can earn you college credits.

5. Sign language can use different emotions. It can be used for poetry, comedy and sarcasm, as well as tell lies and have a regular conversation.

6. If there is no sign for an English word, it is spelled out using the sign language alphabet. All names—both first and last—are spelled out.

7. The grammar in sign language is much different than the grammar in spoken English.

8. Babies are able to communicate physically before they're able to communicate verbally, which is why sign language is recommended for younger children.

9. In order to communicate effectively, you must pay attention to the body language, facial expressions, gestures, hand position, hand movement and hand shape of the person who is signing. All of these items help determine the emotion of an individual.

10. American sign language is the third most used language in the United States, following English and Spanish.

11. American sign language is also known as ASL, but it is not just used in America. It is the recognized sign language used for both Canada and Mexico too.

12. 9 out of 10 children who are born deaf do not have deaf parents.

13. When a deaf child is born to non-deaf parents, it takes much longer for sign language to be taught, as parents often need to learn sign language as well.

If you are interested in taking a foreign language, you may want to consider sign language. Great colleges are always excited to meet new and prospective students, and learning a skill like knowing sign language will  help make your entire life more successful.

Hans Shultz is originally from Germany and is a writer.  He likes to write articles on various topics including language and communication.  Hans also writes for Accent Pros and recently started writing about Accent Pros language classes.

Photo credit: maare6

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