Different Types of Sign Language
According to the Ethnologue Languages of the World, around 142 sign languages are in use worldwide. But the small variations and mixtures of dialects, which can arise in single communities, make it difficult to pin down an exact number. This uncertainty tells us that sign languages are as complex and fickle as their spoken counterparts. Thus, professional ASL Interpreting Services invest significant time and attention to understanding and applying these systems of communication.
People or organizations based in or around Columbia, MD, who need sign language interpreting services can turn to HIS Sign Interpreting. We are one of the region’s top providers of onsite and virtual ASL Interpreting, TypeWell, CART services, and more. Our agency’s professionals work in settings throughout the region: schools, businesses, hospitals, government agencies, and more. We also maintain active relationships with members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and advocate on their behalf. To learn more about our organization, visit our website and contact us today!
Below, we describe popular forms of sign language used in the US and around the world:
Commonly Used Sign Languages in the US
- American Sign Language (ASL)
ASL is a distinct form of communication that was developed in 1960 by William Stoke. It possesses specific grammar and syntax, though it influences other sign languages into adopting features of ASL. It’s particularly useful because it requires no speech, reading, or listening skills. It’s free-flowing and can translate smoothly into spoken language, though this depends on the speaker and interaction.
- Pidgin Signed English (PSE) or Signed English
A hybrid of ASL and SEE, PSE is a popular system that helps to bridge the gap between ASL speakers and native English speakers. Experts don’t consider it a true language, but its recognition makes it worth noting. PSE contains a mix of ASL and English grammar rules. Depending on the user, it may be easier to learn than ASL or SEE.
- Signing Exact English (SEE)
While SEE tends to use alphabet letters instead of handshapes for signing, it also incorporates prefixes and tenses. Nevertheless, SEE is less commonly used than PSE.
Popular Sign Languages Around the World
- British Sign Language (BSL)
While most British and American English speakers understand their counterparts across the Atlantic, British and American signers may not. Their sign languages are distinct: for instance, BSL has a two-handed alphabet while ASL’s is one-handed. Moreover, BSL’s dialects vary widely between regions in the UK. In 2011, about 15,000 people in England and Wales reported using BSL for communication.
- Australian Sign Language (Auslan)
Closely related to BSL, Auslan exists in two major dialects: Northern and Southern. However, while each system has distinct signs for entities (animals, colors, weekdays, etc.), they use the same grammatical system. As with BSL, ASL users cannot understand Auslan without instruction.
- French Sign Language (FSL)
First developed in 1760, FSL would have a strong influence on ASL when the latter was created. Today, between 100,000 and 200,000 people use FSL, most located in France.
- Chinese Sign Language (CSL)
On the Asian continent, CSL is a widely used sign language. First developed in the 1950s, CSL uses a one-handed alphabet to represent written Chinese characters. The Shanghai dialect is the most common form.
- Spanish Sign Language (SSL)
One further sign language in popular use is SSL, used by 100,000 signers across Spain. It differs from ASL as much as spoken Spanish does from English.
ASL Interpreting Services and Support for the Columbia, MD, Region
The vibrant and multifaceted realm of sign languages offers a lifetime of study to those interested in it. Nevertheless, if you simply need professional ASL Interpreting Services from a reliable company, reach out to HIS Sign Interpreting. We provide onsite and virtual ASL Interpreting, TypeWell, and CART services across Columbia, MD. Our sign language interpreting services are provided by certified, experienced professionals. Call us today at (877) 458-7408 or fill out our online form for more information.