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p. 917. The diversity of signed languageslocked

  • Stephen R. Anderson

Abstract

‘The diversity of signed languages’ argues that if signed language were simply a pantomimic depiction of the world, there would be no reason to expect to find more than one. However, as soon as linguists began to look seriously at the question, it became apparent that this was far from the case. Scientific investigation of American Sign Language revealed that other communities of deaf individuals had other signed languages, different from ASL, just as the spoken languages of hearing communities differ. Because all of the signed languages currently in use have arisen independently and relatively recently in human history, we know that they are not in general related.

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