Sunday, 23 March 2008
The Benefits of Sign Language
Sign language is not a random collection of gestures, it is a language in its own right, complete with its own grammatical rules. Each country or region has its own sign language, as different from each other as English is from Spanish. Each version of sign language is somewhat linked to the spoken language in its region. For example, American sign language does share similarities with English, even though it is its own language.
Sign language is not based on sentences like English, but on phrases and ideas. When translating sign language into English, for example, some words will have a direct translation. Others find no adequate translation for the true meaning, just like translating Japanese to English, or English to Arabic.
The written history of sign language begins in France in the 18th century. Charles-Michel de l'Epee founded the first ever public school for deaf children. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founded the first American school for the deaf in 1817, and his son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, founded the first and only liberal arts college in the world for the deaf in 1857. In 1864, its name became Gallaudet University, and it remains the only such school of higher learning in the world today.
In any sign language, the words are made in gestures and expression, rather than sounds and letters. Expressions are just as important as the gestures. They build upon the meaning of the gestures to convey more information than the gestures could alone.
In some ways, sign language is better than the spoken word... communication can occur in areas where speaking is not appropriate (in places of worship or while hunting), not allowed (in recording studios or other places where speaking is disruptive) or physically impossible (underwater, or in places that are too loud to hear speech).
Why Learn Sign Language?
The advantages of learning sign language in addition to a spoken language are many. Communication becomes possible on many levels with the deaf community, with other people either hearing or not in any of the above situations, as well as many more.
Being able to serve the deaf community may also increase your business. Approximately 22 out of every 1000 persons is deaf or hearing impaired.
You may even meet a new best friend that you never would have tried to communicate with before you learned sign language.
Teaching your baby sign language can decrease frustration for both you and your baby, and increase parent-child bonding. The possibilities are endless when you increase your means of communication.