Sign language is commonly known as a type of language used by the hearing impaired of deaf people. In transmitting this language, there are no sounds emitted by the speaker but only hand signals that correlate with certain meaning. The body is also used as a means of conveying a message that complements the movement of the arms and hand.
Even if sign language is not spoken, it conveys as much as meaning and emotions as the spoken language. Aside from the body language and hand signals, facial expression provides emotions that supports the thoughts of the speaker.
Sign language evolved as early as the 5th century when Socrates discussed ways that man can express himself even when he could not speak. The Jewish community mandated its members to study Mishnah which incorporates sign languages since deaf people are also considered in merchant transactions.
In almost all communities around the world, sign language developed along within a certain culture so that deaf people can communicate with their people. Another important fact about sign language is that most of the pioneering schools for the deaf were also founded by deaf people.
The alphabet manual for the deaf was written by Charles-Michel de L’ Epee which was extensively used in some parts of Europe and North America. Later, his heir Abbe de l Epee set-up a school for deaf children from which Laurent Clerc ( founder of the first deaf school in America) graduated from. Similarly, Laurent’s Heir established the Gallaudet college for the deaf which is now a university.
It is also important to know that there are many types of sign language. Its characteristics are similar to spoken language that is why there cannot be a universal type of sign language.
Prominent in the research on the types of sign language is Dr. Nobutaka Kamei who has conducted extensive research among African cultures. Her research revealed that in Africa alone, there are no less than 25 types of sign language.
Nevertheless, despite the many types of sign languages (of which the American Sign Language is most common) one should find that there are many types of sign language software available in the market.
No need to worry because some sign languages software are even downloadable for free and includes American Sign Language as well as African Sign Language. Some sign language software require purchase but an affordable price.