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Sign Language Diversity:

 by Kangbou Yang


Sign Language Around the World: A Look at the Diversity of Sign Languages.

In the world we live in, there are many different languages use throughout worldwide. Not all languages are verbally spoken. One of the non-verbally use language is Sign Language. Just like how we hearing people, people who could speak verbally, communicate with our words, Sign Language does the same but with the movement of hands. Just like verbally spoken languages, there is no universal Language. Every country has its own spoken language and so goes for Sign Language.

Everyone country has their own dialect of Sign Language use throughout the world. In the United States of America, ASL (American Sign Language) is use, in Britain, BSL (British Sign Language) is use, in France, FSL (French Sign Language) is use, in Japan, JSL (Japanese Sign Language) is use, and so on. Although there is not a universal Sign Language that is use for all Sign Language in different countries, according to the Directorate of Human Resources at Oxford Brookes University, "The sign language taught to a large majority of deaf people is called BSL (British Sign Language)." But according to the book, For Hearing People Only, written by Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan, the state that "American Sign Language, although possessing many regional dialects and "accents," is standardizes enough to be easily understood by ASL users (an estimated 500,000 to 2 million…) from coast to coast." As we can see, many languages of Sign Language are being use throughout the world in many different places. Some countries may use the same sign and terms or a completely different sign for the same term or vice versa. Although there is not really a universal sign for sign language, many sign language can be understand in different places for the borrowing of terms and sign from each other to form another dialect in different parts of the world or "from city to city (Moore and Levitan, 2003)."

In another part of the world, Japan, sign language has become pretty popular there. In Karen Nakamura piece on the World Wide Web, she said that there have been a television show strictly just teaching hearing people how to sign. There are also Sign Language interpreters on news broadcast and other shows now. Sign Language has become pretty popular in certain areas but not all, just like in Japan. In Japan Sign Language, Nakamura said that Japan uses more mouthing to distinguish between the different signs as to America who uses the initial letter of the English word. There many ways and usage to differentiate among signs in different countries and different use of them.

Sign Language seems to be coming out into the open and people are starting to acknowledge it. More and more people are learning Sign Language, just like me, everyday now. Sign Language is just not a universal sign that is use throughout the world. Sign Language is just like the spoken language where each country or different part of the world has their own language. Moore and Levitan mention how in every small area or for personal interpretations, each person has their own signs from themselves if there is no sign for it, which is just use among that particular group for their own understanding. So this comes to show that Sign Language is very similar to the Spoken Language but yet so different in its own special way. Sign Language is just not use in one area of the world but throughout the world in many different signs, forms and techniques.


Moore, M. and Levitan, Linda (2003). For Hearing People Only. Rochester, New York: Deaf Life Press.

Nakamura, Karen. (1995, December 17). About Japanese Sign Langauge. Deaf Resource Library. Retrieved 1, Dec. 2006:

Messurier, Wendy L. (2003, June). Hearing Impairment. SENDA Workshop. Oxford Brookes University. Retrieved 1, Dec. 2006:



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