ASL and its context

Topics: Sign language, American Sign Language, Linguistics Pages: 3 (972 words) Published: December 3, 2013
A language is a system composed of several different components, including symbols and grammatical signals. It allows a community or group of individuals a form of interaction, communication, emotional connection, and the ability to pass on traditions and customs from generation to generation. These systems do not have to be vocal auditory, since languages are about communication regarding of the mode. All languages have a set of symbols that can be seen as words or signs representing something in particular. The same goes for grammatical signals, which shows how these symbols are place together in order to convey an idea or thought. There are extensive similarities amongst different languages but no two languages are exactly the same. Some languages rely on word order to identify the different parts of a thought such as the subject, object and in some cases the verb. Others rely not on the order of the symbols but on the grammatical signals. These grammatical signals identify the subject by the placement of and affix (the addition of a morpheme to the beginning or end of a word), which could identify a symbol as a subject, object, or completely change the meaning of the word. The usages of declension and or conjugation as well as word/sign order are used in most languages but languages tend to rely on one more than the other. Inflections are commonly used in languages such as ASL and Latin while English and Chinese rely on the order of the symbols. In order for a language to be a language and widely used by a large community of people the symbols and grammatical signals must have the same meaning and effect across the community. Each language whether spoken or signed has its own “set of building blocks ” which places certain rules on how words are also built or how words and symbols placed in certain order to create sentence. Such rules known as concurrence rules include what set of letters can be used at the beginning of a word but not the end or vise...
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