Sign languages emerge just like verbal languages do: Linguist

Sign languages emerge through a natural process in deaf communities just as verbal languages do, after a language community is formed, according to a linguist.

“Sign languages are perceived as the translated language of verbal language, on the contrary, they are independent,” Zeynep Acan Aydin, a linguist at Hacettepe University, told Anadolu Agency, as the world marks International Day of Sign Languages on Monday.

“Sign languages have unique set of universal features that are different from all verbal languages,” Aydin said, adding that speakers may prefer various dialects and variations depending on their age, educational level, gender and social status.

She said the first thing that comes to mind about deafness is the loss of an ability.

“Thus, sign language is seen as a substitute language, something inadequate and primitive, and that grammatical features are not like verbal languages; pantomime and gestures are perceived as a tool that provides poor communication.

“However, hand signs in sign languages are conventional, there is a conventionality between the speakers,” Aydin stressed.

Read more: Yeni Şafak

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