sign language alphabet

Alien learns about Sign Language

[I saw some obvious errors and other confusing stuff and here is a better version]

Zort loved to learn about humans and has read many stories about humans, including about humans and body language https://humans-are-seriously-weird.tumblr.com/post/159843811389/humans-are-space-orcs-with-pack-bonding-and

Zort has been studying human for years and finally gets to meet many humans at a human held conference about alien relationships.

Zort is excited, he learned of things like the “shrugs,” “smiles,” and even “glances.” So he can understand human better at the conference or as the human call it “Con.”

At the first day of the “Con,” Zort going to meet up with his designated liaison “Susan,” to start the day.

At the first panel on “Foods most species can consume.” Zort see a person standing to the side of the table at the front. As the people speak, that person make many hand motions.
Zort doesn’t understand this body language. He know of several uses of hands to communication, but this goes far beyond that. The person hand and arms move around a lot and touch their head and make motions around their head and chest and out. Zort was so fascinated he didn’t pay attention to the panel.

After the panel, Zort turns to Susan and ask “What was that person standing to the side doing? Their movement is more than what I know of the “body language” of humans.”

Susan does the face that Zort has learned means “confused, not understanding, puzzlement.” then her face changed to “understand, enlightenment.” and Susan says “Oh, right, as the panel went on, I forgot she was there. She is a sign language interpreter. She take what is spoken and translated into sign language so that deaf or hard of hearing people in the audience can understand.”

Zort “Deaf? Hard of hearing? There are being here who are like that? Being who are like that can only communicate through writing. The movement mean words?!”
Susan “Yes, the movement means words. They can communicate with writing, but when in a group it easier if some people can translate it into sometimes easier. It is a whole language using just hands.”
Susan holds up her right appendage and curls down the two fingers farthest from the thumb and with the two fingers closest and holding them together, brings them to the thumb. This means “No.”

moves her hands into a fist and moves the fist up and down “Yes.”

“Without moving the fist, just the hand like this means the letter A.” and B is… Wow, it’ s been a long time since I learned the sign language alphabet.”

Susan “Why don’t I see if the sign language interpreter would be willing to speak with you?”

Zort said “Yes, please let me speak with her.” Then remembered that nodding with one head can mean “Yes.” and to show eagerness and moved its large head up and down many times to show how much he wanted this. Which causes several being around to move a little away from Zort.

The best place, like any other language you learn, is to start with the basic alphabet. Learning the signs for individual letters helps you finger-spell words if you happen to forget them later on (it happens to everyone, believe me!) or at least compensate for signs if you haven’t learned them yet. 

In case J and Z were unclear, I’ve included gifs for you below (please excuse the lack of gloves or make-up; while I’m working on fixing the lighting of my apartment, I wanted to make sure my gestures were clear). 

Here’s “J”

You take your letter “i” and bring it down before curving it up slightly like a hook. 

Here’s “Z”:

It’s literally like making the pattern for the letter Z like you do on paper when you right it, only just in the air and with your index finger pointing outward.

I recommend practicing the alphabet slow at first; don’t worry about your speed when you’re learning sign language. If you try and go fast right off the bat, you’re going to mess up a lot and you may get frustrated at yourself more than you need to (trust me, it took me a long time to get as fast as I am now).

Practice the alphabet a few times a day to start with.

Like any other language, sign language requires repetition, but in a much different way. If you go from, say, English to Italian, you’re translating words in your head and associating different meanings with different vowel sounds and the like. Since sign language is like English (or any other respective vernacular) but with your hands, what you’re really doing is learning certain muscle controls and motions that take the form of non-verbal communication (instead of verbally speaking, you’re using your hands to “talk” for you, and you must train your hands to certain motions and movements in order to communicate efficiently). 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to message me!

A few videos to teach different Sign Languages Alphabets and Vocabulary (I tried to find videos that had either subtitles, voice over or both. Some have them and other’s do not. If you find a video or sign language I haven’t posted yet feel free to add to the list. Thanks.)

American Sign Language

ASL

ASL

ASL

Mexican Sign Language

LSM

Indo-Pakistani Sign Language

IPSL

IPSL

British Sign Language

BSL

German Sign Language

DGS

Irish Sign Language

ISL

ISL

Chinese Sign Language

CSL/ZGS

Taiwanese Sign Language

TSL

Australian Sign Language

Auslan

Auslan

Late update

New Zealand Sign Language

NZSL

Thrifted this little gem. Maybe useful if I meet someone both Korean and deaf. Korean sign language is a bit different than ASL. Besides having signs for specifics like 오빠 언니 형 and 누나 the signs are different. Culturally giving the finger isn’t going to go over well in America.

미안합니다! I totally didn’t realize I cut off some of the picture I am about to post another. ^^;;; 잘못해서

Update on my signs language learning skills: I have memorised the entire sign language alphabet and my mum already knows sign language so she teaches me simple phrases like “I know a little sign”, “You’re signing too fast, please slow down”, “Where are we going?”, “What time is it?”, “Help me”, “Let’s go home now” and “I’m going to stand there”. Now I’m learning through the internet like those sign language websites, YouTube videos and library books.

So, you want to know more about sign languages?

Wait, what? Sign languageS? I thought there was only one, universal sign language!

Nope! There are many different sign languages - usually every country with a deaf community has its own sign languages, sometimes even more than one.

Okay, so how many sign languages are there?

No, seriously, not even linguists know exactly how many sign languages exist. The estimation is that there are approximately 300 sign languages.  

In some countries, different signs are used in cities and in rural areas - but we don’t know if they are just dialects/variations of one language or two different sign languages. Some countries share one sign language. New sign languages emerge quite frequently (and some are dying out.)

But hey, linguists don’t know exactly how many spoken languages are there either. ;)

Why don’t you just create an universal sign language? Wouldn’t it be easier?

Why don’t you create an universal spoken language, hm? But we actually did create an universal sign language - it’s called International Signs! However, it’s not really a sign language, since it’s man-made, it’s just a comunication system. It’s mainly used during international meetings, conferences, etc. 

But majority of deaf people don’t know it - usually only those who often travel abroad do.

So, you said that every country has its own sign language - are they based on spoken language? 

Nope! Sign languages are very diffent from spoken languages. They have their own grammar, rules and idioms.

Also, they don’t follow the same “borders”, so to speak. English speaking countries, for example, don’t share one sign language - USA has American Sign Language/ASL, UK has British Sign Language/BSL, Australia has AUSLAN, etc. And those sign languages are very different… ASL is more similar to French Sign language than to BSL! 

What about fingerspelling/manual alphabet, that’s the same everywhere, right?

Wrong again! Actually, every country has it’s own sign language alphabet. Some are for one hand, some are for two hands. They really look different, so don’t count on using fingerspelling when you meet someone from a different country.

Some examples: 

(ASL, BSL, Czech Sign Language)

Also, don’t forget that lot of countries don’t use latin alphabet. For example China. Then the fingerspelling looks completely differently or doesn’t exist at all. :) 

Do sign languages have a written form? 

No, they don’t. But it’s not that rare - lot of spoken languages don’t have a written form either.

There are some notation system used for writing the signs down - for example Stokoe notation. They are mainly used by linguists or in dictionaries. Mostly because they are complicated, not easy to learn and use and it takes a lot of time to write one sign.

There is also SignWriting, which is probably the most well known system for writing in sign language. 

There is also ASLwrite, used for ASL.

Honestly, there are numerous systems to write signs down, but not one is widely used and nobody can agree on which system is the best. They are definitely not used on everyday basis by deaf people (with some exceptions).

Deaf people usually use written form of spoken language of their country for written communication.

(Stokoe notation/SignWriting)

How do you know all this?

Well, I am Hard of Hearing. But mostly I know this stuff because I study sign language linguistics at university. I can still be wrong, though, so if you don’t agree with something written in this post, send me an ask and we can discuss it. :)

If you have any more questions, please send me (slecnaztemnot) an ask, and I will do my best to answer it! :)

Flowey: “Because you ARE idiots. All of you.”

Flowey: “Why would I…. …..”

*Flowey is lost in thought.

Frisk: “Shi… eh… …. eeeh…. ini… anata no….. eeeeh…..”


Flowey: “….. Monster language is easier than that….”

Flowey: “Look, this is not a bad idea. You could learn sign language.”


Frisk: “It would be so nice!! Then, I could talk to deaf and mute people too! It would be great!”


Flowey: “But yeah, only you could learn… I don’t have hands.”

youtube

Russian Sign Language: Lesson 1 - Alphabet, Numbers, & Greetings

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I finally got some new items up on my Etsy Shop!

During my 11 years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, I always taught basic sign language throughout the year to add a kinesthetic element to everything that was taught. It helped my kids stay focused and engaged and also taught them another form of communication. 

I made these for my daughter and have gotten so many questions as to where I got them that I decided to start selling them.