Sign speech of the deaf: definition, features and characteristics

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Sign speech of the deaf: definition, features and characteristics
Sign speech of the deaf: definition, features and characteristics

Sign language is an independent artificial language. It is reproduced with the help of finger and hand movements, facial expressions, mouth movements, and the position of the body is also taken into account. As a rule, sign language is used for deaf or hearing impaired people. Understanding and reproducing it can also be important for those who do not have such disorders - after all, sometimes it is necessary to interact with those who communicate only in this way.


Speech is considered a process of communication between interlocutors, language is a system of signs and symbols. But for those who do not hear, speech is not available. In this case, they use sign language and fingerprinting at the same time. The first was created specifically for such people with disabilities, it is a separate language, while dactylology is a speech that is produced by characteristic finger movements. Despite the fact that they are used to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing people, these categories of citizens did not come up with dactyl and sign speech.

Sicilian monk


According to the official version, the monks of Sicily, who took a vow of silence, communicated using these methods in the 12th century. Thesemethods allowed them not to break the vow of silence and at the same time to communicate. It is possible to master such speech in special institutions. Results are achieved if, from the very beginning, teaching sign language is built in strict accordance with the rules.

Initially, children learn speech using visual data. They are supported by motor sensations. They cannot catch intonations, perceive by ear the expressive means of speech. For those who hear, the primary image of the word is formed through hearing, and for those who do not, through sight. Tactile speech is built in accordance with the rules of the Russian language, it is accompanied by oral speech.

Dactylology was first used in the XVI-XVII centuries. to interact with deaf people. In later times, a separate alphabet appeared for them. It was first published in Russia in 1835. At the moment, the alphabets of many languages ​​\u200b\u200bare used - in total, according to official data, there are 43 varieties. They are used in 59 countries.

Different languages


Remarkably, sign language is not primitive. This is the most complex communication system. It is actively used in a number of states. At the state level in the Russian Federation, sign speech was recognized as a language only in 2013.

How many languages ​​are there

For those who have never de alt with this topic, it often seems that the world has a single sign language that is understandable to everyone. But this is nothing more than a delusion. In fact, sign language in the world is represented by more than 121language. And deaf people who speak different languages ​​can not understand each other. They learn and forget new languages ​​in the same way. At the same time, a universal language was developed in the 1950s. It's called "gestuno". It was invented so that people with hearing impairments around the world could freely communicate with each other during international events.

Up to this point in society, of course, there were ways for the deaf to interact with the world, the means of communication were constantly enriched. But such forms were not durable, and they spread to a narrow circle of communication of the deaf. Deaf communities that developed a unified system of communication appeared later, when the population began to settle more densely in cities.

deaf person

In European states, when the population became mobile, in the era of the New Age, sign speech flourished along with ordinary languages. A big impetus to its development was the opening in France of a training center for hearing-impaired children. A similar center appeared in Germany. The languages ​​of instruction were based on the signs used by the deaf. The interpretation of European languages ​​in gestures began. Due to the fact that the languages ​​differed greatly, the best specialists were involved in the process.


In the 18th century, a deaf teacher from France named Laurent Clerc came to the United States to found a school for the deaf. He had a major influence on the role of sign language in the United States. Since then, the sign languages ​​of American and French deaf people have been remarkably similar. Later achievements of this specialistbegan to spread around the world, became part of the education of other deaf people.

In Russia

In Russia, seriously teaching sign language to a child suffering from hearing loss, thought in 1806. It was then that the first sign school was opened in Pavlovsk. The French method was taken as the basis, while a similar school was opened in Moscow, but using the German system as a basis. The discovery took place in 1860. The consequences of such a confrontation are still being felt at the moment.

hearing-impaired individual

In the Soviet Union, the distribution of Russian sign language was carried out centrally. Schools were opened systematically, and this explains the fact that there was a single sign language on the territory of the USSR, which was extremely convenient.


In 1951, the World Federation of the Deaf was created. At the same time, a decision was made to adopt a single gesture speech. This was necessary for conducting full-fledged international negotiations. And then a group of specialists took up the selection and consolidation of the gestures of European states. In a quarter of a century, a separate, universal language was invented (gestuno). It was considered simplistic. His dictionary was published in 1973.


Gestures in such languages ​​are sketchy, sometimes created on the fly. They do not always have a pronounced visual connection with the subject of conversation. In addition, they are not an interpretation of standard languages ​​- they have their own grammar. Sign language is used to discuss a variety of topics - both in an everyday context and regarding somethingsublime.

In the alphabet

Words of sign languages ​​are formed by the most standard components - hirems. One gesture can have 5 elements. Most languages ​​use classifiers, inflection is constantly taking place in them, there is a syntax. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that the movements of the hands and lips can acquire a variety of meanings, and in order to understand it, it is necessary to take into account many characteristics that are broadcast all at one moment, in contrast to the standard language with its sequence.


Up until the middle of the 20th century, the grammar of the original sign speech was unclear. It began to be studied more actively in the middle of the 20th century by American researchers. One of them was Professor W. Stokey. In 1960, he published The Structure of Sign Language.

Learning process

He actually proved the fact that this phenomenon is consistent. When the work was published, deaf people began to integrate into society much more actively than before.

It was during this period that sign languages ​​began to receive their separate names. So, American Sign Language became known as Amslen.


One of the important characteristics of dactyl speech is concreteness. Every movement never contains the generalization that the word has. So, there is no single gesture for the word "big", which can be used in all sorts of phrases - "big house", "big salary", "big fence" and the like. In each case, the gesturewill be his own, and he will accurately convey the sign of the phrase. Gesture depicts objects and phenomena. In cases where a person moves his hand, this is a designation of signs or actions. The gesture is always figurative. For example, when showing a house, a person bends his hand so that it resembles a roof. Labeling the pages, shows how to open the book to say "love", using sign language, you need to put your fingers on your heart and so on.


The most important feature of gestural speech is its figurativeness. Thanks to this, it is easily digested, quickly perceived, and communication becomes much easier and more enjoyable. If, for example, a person does not know Italian, words from it will not mean anything to him. While gestures will be much clearer to anyone.


The next characteristic feature is syncretism. Concepts are transmitted together, denoted by different words that belong to the same category. So, initially the words fire, bonfire or theater, performance do not differ in any way from each other. To distinguish close objects and phenomena, additional signs were introduced. They formed a separate system. For example, the symbols "draw" and "frame" are "picture".

Society of the Deaf


Another difference between gestural speech is its amorphousness. The gesture has a term, but no gender, no case, or anything else. Verbs do not convey tense. For this reason, the simplest combinations are created from a limited number of hand and lip movements.For example, "action - denial" (wanted - no), "item-quality", "state" and so on.


Another feature of sign language stems from the spatiality of such languages. They allow us to speak simultaneously about several phenomena at once. For example, “a large volume of an object moves along the road” is conveyed with just one gesture. However, languages ​​in which sounds are implied convey information in a sequential manner - one detail follows another, and it does not happen that everything is expressed at once. The transmission of data in sign language also includes head movements, which also carry additional information.

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