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Sign Language: Western Asia

  • By: Mahmoud Ahmad Abdel-Fattah
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Western Asia refers to the area spreading over the westernmost region of Asia, which mainly comprises Arabia, the eastern Mediterranean, Fertile Crescent, Asia Minor, and Iranian Plateau. This area includes 20 countries in which the people speak more than 21 different languages. Presumably, such natural languages have natural signed language counterparts, and there are other signed languages used by locals or minorities living there. At least 25 sign languages (see Table 1) are used in this region.

Each Arab country has at least one sign language which is autonomous and indigenously developed. The sign languages in the Arab countries seem to belong to one “family.” There is enough evidence that these sign languages have more similarities than differences and that the closer the countries, the more ...

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