Is Sign Language International?
No. It is not. There is a different signed language in every country. In fact, some countries have several signed languages. Some signed languages have several "dialects". Why? The best answer to that question, is with another question. "Why isn't there an international spoken language?"
People did try to invent an international spoken language, called Esperanto. But few speak Esperanto. The naturally evolved spoken languages are used, but not the invented ones. Signed languages are no different. People tried to invent an international signed language, called Gestuno. But even though the attempt was admirable, no one really signs Gestuno. The naturally evolved signed languages "won".
American Sign Language (ASL) is used in the USA and in English-speaking Canada. There are many dialects of ASL. Because of Gallaudet University in Washington D.C, and other fine schools for the Deaf, most ASL dialects are understood by Deaf people all over the country. ASL is remarkably standardized, considering the size of the USA and Canada, and considering that up until now, there was no written form for the language. It is possible that SignWriting will help to preserve ASL, and will contribute to its standardization.
Please feel free to write if you have questionsValerie Sutton
about sign language or SignWriting.
Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
P.O. Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517
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