English Language

Sign Language| Definition, History & Facts

Written by Inzamam Aziz

Definition Sign Language

We may define sign language as a language that used signs, symbols, and gestures instead of auditory transformed sound patterns. In sign language, we convey our meanings through the use of our hand movements, posture, gestures, eyes, and facial expressions.

Sign language is very necessary for communicating with deaf people. So, anywhere on the earth where deaf people live or exist sign language develops there. An infinite number of signs exist in this world and each sign conveys different meanings. Some of these signs vary from culture to culture but mostly remain the same throughout the world.

Signs In Linguistics

In linguistics, sign language is very rich as well as complex. Some people beloved that sign language is not the real language but it is not true. Sign language is the real language. Many linguists have studied sign language and found so many linguistic components.

Sign language is arbitrary. Any sign does not have a specific origin. It is so so complex that we may discuss any topic from very simple to complex through sign language. Sign language combines many meaningless units into meaningful semantics units. The element of sign language is as follows.

Elements Of Sign Language


We convey our message in sign language through the use and movement of our hands.


Eyes convey a lot of meanings. It is generally believed that a person who keeps eye contact is trustworthy and honest but a person who does not maintain eye contact is considered lier.


You have observed many times that when you feel fearful your legs start trembling. More ever, in interviews, if you sit with cross legs you will be considered arrogant and tired. But if you will sit with straight legs you will be considered fresh and confident.

Relationship Of Sign Language With Oral Language

People generally believe that sign language is dependent on oral language but it is not true. Sign language was not developed after listening to people or hearing them talk. It has nothing to do with spoken language. Sign language has its own grammar and conveys meaning on its own.

Manual alphabet or we can say fingers spelling is used in sign language. From the use of the manual alphabet, it was at one point believed that sign language has evolved from spoken language, but it is not correct.

Classification of sign language

Manually coded languages are considered signed language. There has been very little historical linguistics research on sign language. Sign language may be spread due to migration either within a country, city to city, or from one country or state to another country or state. Political domination can be the major cause of the spread of sign language.

The written form of sign language

Sign language marks a clear distinction from oral language in its relation to writing. The phonemic system of oral language is primarily sequential that is the majority of phonemes are produced in a sequence one after another, although many languages also have non-sequential aspects such as tone. Sign languages have a higher non-sequential component with many phonemes produced simultaneously. As examples, we will consider the movement of hands, facial expressions,s, and fingers.

The written form of sign language is not usual. It is abundant in those countries with high facilities and literacy rates. In the majority of countries, deaf education is very poor. Researchers have made attempts for developing scripts for sign language.

Legal recognition of sign language

In many parts of the world, some of the signs have gotten legal recognition but most remain ignored.

Deaf communities and deaf culture

Deaf people are found in every corner of the world so do their communities. Sign language is in plenty of use among these communities. It is generally seen that this sign language does not contradict oral language because of obstacles for people who can not hear to perceive audial information.

Sign language in Indo-Pak territory

In the south Asian part of the world sign language is in plenty of use among different communities. According to research, 98% of the Indian deaf community is literate. The government has made many efforts to invent and bring hearing aids to dead people to make them literate.

Major linguistics signs in the world

Some of the signs are of huge importance for every human in the world.

Natural sign

Natural signs are signs from nature. They are universal. They have the same meaning throughout the world. One can not have another meaning of them in one corner of the world and another person interprets them differently in another corner of the world. For example

Clouds are the natural sign of rain.

Moon is the natural sign of beauty.

Laughing is the natural sign of happiness.

Tears are a natural sign of sadness.

Fever is a natural sign of infection.

Conventional sign

In the same fashion, we can have examples from the conventional sign. Conventional signs are man-made signs. They have different meanings in every part of the world. They do not convey the same meaning. For example

Rose is the conventional sign of love.

Black is the conventional sign of bad luck.

White is also the conventional sign of grief.

Red is the conventional sign of danger.

Linguistics sign

Linguistics signs are the signs that are from language. They also remain the same throughout the world. They convey meanings in both written and oral language. They are mostly made up of conjunctions. For example

Wow, great job!

Alas, we lost the match.

Hurry, we won the match.

In these examples, wow describes some kind of joy. Written and oral language has the meaning the remains same for every reader of the world.

Alas is used for showing some kind of disappointment. It also has the same meaning throughout the world.

Hurry, is used to show a great deal of expression that you have achieved something.

First of all, a sign is perceived then it is identified and at the end, it is interpreted for taking further action.

This was all about sign language and the types of signs that exist in the world.


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Inzamam Aziz

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