Sign language like the alphabet is not universal since it more similar to spoken language. Spoken language evolves from different cultures which can have as many as hundreds of dialects as in the case of India. In the United States, there is American Sign Language (ASL) for native English speakers.
Actually, sign language is highly-influenced by the culture since gestures are often dictated by culture; thus, sign language for Russians is very much different from American sign language. It does not necessarily follow that one can communicate with a deaf using one’s pattern for sign language.
A more comprehensive study of sign language was done by a Japanese cultural anthropologist Nobutaka Kamei. Dr. Kamei among African cultures. Her research revealed that there are at least 25 types of sign language in Africa alone of which she knows a few types especially that of Ghanaian, Nigerian and Francophone sign language. The sign languages symbols are as diverse as their indigenous culture. Dr Kamei herself also knows American Sign Language and Japanese Sign Language.
Furthermore, her research in sign language reveals that there are no less than 13 foreign languages that originated from Europe and America which were adopted by more than 27 African nations. Dr. Kame’s work had been very extensive since she was able to document at least 23 sign languages which she attests trace their influence from the west.
Some sign languages are grouped together such as the sign languages of Auslan, NZSL, and BSL which is under the BANZSL family. In Asia, the Japanases sign language family covers Japanese Sign Language, Taiwanese Sign Language and Korean Sign Language.
Similarly, sign languages from eastern European countries are clustered together under one language family. For example, Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish language scan belong in language group along with Czech and Hungarian as noted by SIL report.
However, sign language should not be complicated since there are sign language software’s that can be used. Usually, sign language softwares contain a visual dictionary which is user-friendly.
Another good thing about these sign language software is that they can cater to different types of sign language aside from the typical ASL. More advance software programs can even act as interpreter by exhibiting a picture or object on the screen according to what the user said on the microphone.
Indeed, no matter how many types of sign language maybe existing, there are helpful sign language software that are available in the market.