Saturday, September 06, 2008

The sign language

I was watching a video clip the other day, Edo Maajka - To Što Se Traži (YouTube). I was astonished by the fact that the rap song was actually interpreted correctly using the same fluidity as if it was spoken.
People are always in need to communicate with someone in case something happens to them. And here kick in the various languages. Since programming languages aren't something that could actually help me communicate with another human being, I've been always fond of the sign language and I thought that the least I could do is to start learning simple phrases, such as "Are you OK?" or "Do you feel pain?".
The really intriguing part is that this kind of language is very plain, yet so complicated - combining orientation and movement of parts of your body (hands or arms), facial expressions or even hand shapes to fluidly express yourself. It's almost like learning how to grammatically speak right. It is also pretty cool to be able to understand what is someone trying to explain to you.
The bad thing is that, as spoken language, each region has its own established "jargon", it takes time to adapt to several expressions, depending on the region you're living in. Also, most regions or countries have their own sign language, which can get pretty messy if you, for example, try learning the sign language in english and head to live in Japan.
Despite the above fact, it can be useful for communication with babies, like this video shows a mother communicating with her 1-year-old daughter - it's really amazing, kind of makes me wonder what are the limitations of teaching a child at such young age!
Searching around using Google, I was able to get some information that might be a good starting place for anyone having the desire to learn this language. The best resource that I can recommend is the American Sign Language (ASL) Browser. Do try it out!

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