American Sign Language and Braille

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American Sign Language and Braille

A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning—simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express fluidly a speaker's thoughts. Sign languages commonly develop in deaf communities, which can include interpreters and friends and families of deaf people as well as people who are deaf or hard of hearing themselves. As is the case in spoken language, sign language differs from one region to another. However, when people using different signed languages meet, communication is significantly easier than when people of different spoken languages meet. Sign language, in this respect, gives access to an international deaf community. Sign language is however not universal, and many different sign languages exist that are mostly mutually unintelligible. Wherever communities of deaf people exist, sign languages develop, in fact their complex spatial grammars are markedly different than spoken language. In many cases, various signed "modes" of spoken languages have been developed, such as Signed English and Warlpiri Sign Language. Hundreds of sign languages are in use around the world and are at the core of local Deaf cultures. Some sign languages have obtained some form of legal recognition, while others have no status at all.

The braille system, devised in 1821 by Frenchman Louis Braille, is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write. Each braille character or cell is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two columns of three dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the six positions to form sixty-four (26) combinations, including the combination in which no dots are raised. For reference purposes, a particular combination may be described by naming the positions where dots are raised, the positions being universally numbered 1 to 3, from top to bottom, on the left, and 4 to 6, from top to bottom, on the right. For example, dots 1-3-4 would describe a cell with three dots raised, at the top and bottom in the left column and on top of the right column, i.e., the letter m. The braille system was based on a method of communication originally developed by Charles Barbier in response to Napoleon's demand for a code that soldiers could use to communicate silently and without light at night called night writing. Barbier's system was too complex for soldiers to learn, and was rejected by the military; in 1821 he visited the National Institute for the Blind in Paris, France, where he met Louis Braille. Braille identified the major failing of the code, which was that the human finger could not encompass the whole symbol without moving, and so could not move rapidly from one symbol to another. His modification was to use a 6 dot cell — the braille system — which revolutionized written communication for the blind.

American Sign Language (ASL) Calendar

"I love you" windcatcher

"Big Sister"

Sample Photo 4

This young child is using sign language to ask for "More."

Good Morning Video

Classroom sign

We did not categorize sign language into the different types of written language because it is an oral language.