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Sign Writing

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

Throughout the course of history, there have been numerous attempts to create written systems to reflect the nuances of a three-dimensional, visual-spatial linguistic structure that constitutes signed languages. Thus far, the Deaf community has not adopted a standardized writing system. However, the emergence of attempts at written systems has played an important role in demystifying the idea that sign language lacks authentic, linguistic structure. The development of a linguistic notation system in 1960 pushed for greater acceptance that American Sign Language, and sign languages more broadly, is indeed a language on par with spoken languages.

Notational and Conceptual Writings

Over time, several forms of written documentation for sign language have emerged, which can be categorized as either notational and conceptual. Notational refers to a system of ...

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