A good sign! Myths about sign languages

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Lingoblog continues to celebrate International Day of Sign Languages! Today, Linguistic Mythbusters explode myths about sign languages.

Most people have a pretty clear intuition about the most basic idea behind sign language: If you, for some reason, can’t communicate efficiently through ‘normal’ language, you can use a language that consists of hand movements instead of sounds. But apart from this, there are actually quite a few misconceptions about sign language that flourish among people with normal hearing.

One of the biggest misconceptions about sign language is that it is one single language that has been designed deliberately to be used by deaf people. In reality, there are hundreds of different sign languages, which have all naturally emerged from interaction between …