American Sign Language---query

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Wed Apr 13 19:08:38 UTC 2005

My statement about a single language, signed or
otherwise, transcending boundaries is too broad
because there are elements unique to each culture;
however, I expect basic concepts that AFAIK are common
to all cultures, i.e., mother, father, child, sun,
moon, stars, sunrise, sunset, love, hate, war, peace
and so forth would be amenable to a truly universal
sign language - to put it another way, that different
cultures would independently come up with very similar
signing for many concepts.  But maybe those common
concepts are too few and they get overwhelmed by the
mass of cultural diversity.

<juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US> wrote:
>>... It seems to me a true sign language
>> would
>>transcend cultural boundaries and be independent of
>>spoken or written language.
> I'm not sure why "a true sign language would
> transcend cultural boundaries and be independent of
> spoken or written language."  It seems to me that it
> would be influenced by those who invented it (if we
> are talking about a scholar who invented it for deaf
> children as opposed it coming totally from the deaf
> community) and be tied to the particular culture
> that is using it.  ASL is not the same as the
> "Indian Sign Language" that we all saw on TV
> Westerns.  THat was a way for speakers of different
> languages to communicate.  I suspect that that was
> not really a language, but a set of signs. ASL is
> far beyond that.


James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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