Sign Language around the World

Sign Language around the World

Sign Language around the World

Presently, we have over 300+ different types of sign languages around the world. Some are used locally. The others are used at a national level. Others are used by millions of people across the globe. We celebrate the International Day of Sign Languages on 23rd September every year.

Sign languages don’t directly aim at translating spoken words into signs. Each sign language is a true language. Every sign language is unique. At the same time, it varies with its own vocabulary, grammar, hand position, and body movement. There is a lot of variation across these languages and across countries. This is because of cultural and geographical reasons. Here is a brief about the most common sign languages around the world.

Indian Sign Language

Indian Sign Language (ISL) is used in the deaf community all over India. It has evolved over the past 100 years. An estimated over 7 million people in India use the ISL.  It is also the most predominant sign language in South Asia. Almost 700 institutes teach ISL in India. The Indian Sign Language has a unique grammar, however, has a lot of regional variations as well.

Alphabetic chart

The Indian Sign Language Dictionary was first launched on 23rd March 2018 which contained 3000 terms. With the most recent edition, the dictionary now contains almost 10,000 terms. The Indian Sign Language also has many regional dialects throughout India. Some of the dialects of ISL include:

  • Bangalore-Madras Sign Language
  • Bombay Sign Language
  • Calcutta Sign Language
  • Delhi Sign Language
  • Northwest Frontier Province Sign Language
  • Punjab-Sindh Sign Language
  • Alipur Sign Language

American Sign Language

American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is a sign language that is very popular within the United States of America & Canada. It originated in the early 1800s. Presently, almost five hundred thousand ASL users are present in the USA alone. The ASL uses hand signs. It also uses head movements, facial expressions, and body language to convey the required messages.

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Pidgin Signed English

A Pidgin is a language that is derived from one or more than one language. Pidgin Signed English (PSE), is an amalgam of American English and American Sign Language. In other words, this type of variation of the ASL is commonly used and signed by people who are culturally deaf and use spoken English as their primary language.

Signing Exact English

Signing Exact English

Signing Exact English (SEE), is sometimes referred to as “Signed Exact English”. It is a type of sign language that directly translates into English and includes word endings (suffixes), such as “ed” and “ing,” which are not present in PSE or ASL.

 

British Sign Language

British Sign Language

British Sign Language (BSL) originated in the UK in the late 1700s to early 1800s. It has been a widely influential sign language, spreading to Australia and New Zealand. It has a strong and large influence on Auslan, which is known as Australia’s Sign Language, as well as the New Zealand Sign Language. All the above-mentioned sign languages are so similar to one another, that some chose to categorize them as separate dialects of the same language known as British, Australian, and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZL).

French Sign Language

French Sign Language

The most popular sign language used in France is the French Sign Language (LSF). Almost one hundred thousand people sign French Sign Language. In addition, having originated in the early 1800s as well, it is one of the earliest forms of sign languages. Above all, it has influenced other sign languages including the American Sign Language, Irish Sign Language (ISL) and Russian Sign Language (RSL), Dutch Sign Language (NGT), Brazilian Sign Language (LSB), German Sign Language (DGS), and many more.

Chinese Sign Language

Chinese Sign Language

Chinese Sign Language originated during the late 18th century in China. It is the official sign language of the Republic of China. Unlike the above languages, it doesn’t have any antecedent language. While being used by millions of people, it is one of the most common sign languages used in the world.  Moreover, the southern dialect of CSL gave rise to the Hong Kong Sign language.

To conclude, there are a lot more sign languages than mentioned here. Most importantly, each one is beautiful and unique in its own way. Learn more about the Indian Sign Language click here:

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