Wonderful programme on sign language
Thread poster: Lesley Clarke

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:34
Spanish to English
Jul 26, 2010



Michael GREEN  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
English to French
Thanks Lesley Jul 31, 2010

I'll certainly look at that when I have a moment this weekend, but I would just like to say that I have always thought that sign language is potentially the answer to the much-sought "international language" (Esperanto being a total failure) - and has the added advantage of including people with hearing problems.

I believe that until their culture was destroyed in the 19th century, Native Americans had a sign language that allowed people of different linguisitic groups to communicate simply, and if a modern internationally standardised sign language were taught in schools around the world it would enable the ordinary person to make him/herself understood virtually anywhere.

Might be a potential threat for interpreters, of course ...


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The problem is that sign language is not international Aug 1, 2010

It would be great if at least sign language was international, but many people are surprised to find that it is not.

I do not know a lot of details, but there are regional and national varieties or dialects, and users from different parts of the world cannot understand each other, just as with spoken languages. They have even more difficulties, because there are so few resources and interpreters.

So no, there is no threat to interpreters of spoken languages! And each form of sign language is tne native language of those who use it, so it is not easy for them to give it up and use a different version.

I do not believe it is particularly easy to learn, so if Esperanto has failed (or has it?) then sign language will fare no better, I am afraid.

But it is agreat idea!


Alexandre Leclerc
Local time: 09:34
English to French
+ ...
I agree with Christine Aug 1, 2010

Sign language is not international. For example, users of the Nicaraguan Sign Language will be unable to understand users of American Sign Language, and vice versa. Just like an anglophone will not understand a hispanophone (and vice versa).
I will definitely take the time to watch that episode. Thanks for sharing this, Lesley.
The story behind the Nicaraguan Sign Language is fascinating. It was spontaneously developed by deaf children in the 1970s-1980s. You can read the Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaraguan_Sign_Language


Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:34
Spanish to English
You are right Cristine, et al Aug 1, 2010

Yes, the programme explains that even US and British sign languages are completely different, having been invented by different people. But don't leave it too long to listen to this radio programme, because they are only available for a week and most of that week has gone.


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Wonderful programme on sign language

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