Languages, Natural

In the last few decades, it has been demonstrated repeatedly by scores of researchers that signed languages are natural human languages, just like their spoken counterparts. These researchers work with signed languages that “naturally” emerge from communities of Deaf people. There are three relevant questions/aspects to using the term natural here. First, what does it mean to call a language natural, as opposed to other systems? Second, what does it mean when a language “naturally” emerges from a community? Third, what characteristics are typical of a natural language?

Natural Systems as Opposed to Other Kinds of Systems

Linguists use certain criteria, known as design features, to differentiate natural human languages like American Sign Language, Hong Kong Sign Language, and Spanish Sign Language from animal communication systems as ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles