• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the evolution of sign language.

Extracts from this document...


The idea behind this essay is to discuss the evolution of sign language. To commence we first must begin to understand the 'Deaf' community and how this language affects their lives. Throughout history deaf people have suffered discrimination at the hands of hearing people. Most people would be horrified at the thought that they may be acting oppressively towards deaf people, and yet deaf people throughout life meet discrimination in one form or another on a daily basis. Such discrimination may not be deliberate - not that people simply don't care, but more likely that they just don't know how to interact. This history of persecution dates all the way back to ancient times and can be traced even before the birth of Christ. " The earliest known written mention of deafness was in the Babylonian laws which restricted the rights of those born deaf ". Groce (1985, pg. 99) Also it is common for early societies to question whether deaf people were capable of being educated or not. In basic terms, they did not have the information or technology to understand the deaf community and therefore abandoned their involvement. ...read more.


This is backed-up below. "There are now very many sign languages all over the world - but as yet no 'standard' though many are based on early systems thus contain similarities". (ED103 - Introduction to Language Awareness Handout). Another key historical event for deaf people is the 1880 Milan International Congress on the Education and Welfare of the Deaf organised by the hearing teachers of the deaf. The conference lasted only 24 hours, so there was little room for debate, and only one deaf person attended despite there being large numbers of deaf teachers employed at the time. The outcome was the almost unanimous decision to adopt an oralist approach to the education of all deaf children, a trend that continued up until the last thirty or so years. It also meant that teachers who were deaf lost their jobs or were relegated to assistant roles. As recently as 20 years ago, the term BSL was not yet in regular usage, and the sign language of Britain's Deaf Community was regarded as an inferior system of pantomime and gesture that was not a true language. BSL users also use fingerspelling. ...read more.


It is estimated that 8.7 million people in the UK are Deaf or hard of hearing. However, not all of them are members of the Deaf Community - people who use BSL as their first or preferred language. It is difficult to say how many people in the UK use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first or preferred language - current estimates vary between 50,000 and 70,000. BSL users may describe themselves as Deaf, rather than deaf. Their degree of deafness does not, in itself, determine whether or not a person is a member of the Deaf Community. Someone who has become profoundly deaf in adulthood may still identify with the hearing world and rely on lipreading, speech and hearing aids to listen to sound; someone born with a less profound hearing loss into a Deaf family may identify with the Deaf Community and use BSL. It seems to be very difficult to understand, how a language created using only hand movements still has so many different methods throughout the world. Considering the fact that this alphabet was created in the 16th century, It is a very difficult language to learn. It is also surprising how such a dated language is still a benchmark to all world-wide manual languages. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    I love my work and like to be busy. my job: Finance/Health and Safety Officer for a GP Practice also self employed Beauty Therapist - hate to be idle! my education: Private secondary education followed by college . favorite hot spots: My favourite place is Sanibel/Captiva Island on the Gulf coast of Florida - the sunsets are amazing.Also Islah Bella in Brazil.

  2. An investigation into the similarities and differences between written social interactions through the new ...

    This is done in order to emphasise the point being made, however upon close analysis there is an onomatopoeic element behind these words, since the words connote 'too much' or 'a lot' and by the use of 'too much' or 'a lot' of letters it ironically underlines the semantic content of the words.

  1. Language development in exceptional circumstances: Auditory Impairment

    yet lacked the sophistication present in the sign language used by native signers. "Research comparing adult signers from deaf and hearing families has shown that their signing differs significantly. Deaf signers from deaf families use features of BSL such as syntactic space, mouth patterns and proforms very differently from signers from hearing families" (Sutton-Spence 1994: 216)

  2. "It's easy to become a football hooligan!" - Discuss

    Below is a table carrying information on arrests and offences in making (international and league matches), showing the wide range of offences that have occurred, for which arrests have been made. Figure 5: Arrests and charges 2000/2001 (all matches, including international)

  1. Early and Later Wittgenstein's conception of the world, ethics and later analysis of language.

    be said," not in order to deny what cannot be said, but in order to mean it. What is important for him is about "what cannot be said." He wants to point to the "unsayable." The important characteristic of language lies in the distinction between what can and can't be said.

  2. Comparrison between tabloid and broadsheet

    My personal opinion on the shooting of Etem Celebi, is that more concern should be given to this increase in gun crime (4% in the last year alone).

  1. Language and Sexuality throughout the Decades.

    . you need to step on the gas and drive this baby . . . otherwise you're going to run out of gas and end up in Friendville. Ellen: Then you'd have to call the triple A guy to tow you back to Lonelyville.

  2. Left or Right, Sign or Spoken.

    In spoken language, it is the order of words that provides for the primary organization of a sentence. For example, one can reverse the order of nouns of "Mary chased Beth" and end up with a new meaning of the sentence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work