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Sign Language: Tactile

  • By: Johanna Mesch
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Tactile sign languages are a modality of signed languages. They differ from visual signed languages in that they are used by individuals who are Deaf-Blind and, thus, do not use the visual cues that other sign languages use. In signed languages, for example, the eyebrows are used as articulators, by which raised or squinted brows signal interrogatives, and eye gaze has an important role in functions such as turn taking, constructed action, and reference marking.

The individual variation among people who are Deaf-Blind covers a broad range, and the group is extremely heterogeneous. The degree of both vision and hearing variation differs from person to person and over time: Some speak, while others rely solely on sign language, and some have to change both their language ...

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