Sign languages of the world

Zeshan, Ulrike orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8438-3701 (2006) Sign languages of the world. In: Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 358-365. ISBN 978-0-08-044854-1

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Although sign language-using communities exist in all areas of the world, few sign languages have been documented in detail. Sign languages occur in a variety of sociocultural contexts, ranging from sign languages used in closed village communities to officially recognized national sign languages. They may be grouped into language families on historical grounds or may participate in various language contact situations. Systematic cross-linguistic comparison reveals both significant structural similarities and important typological differences between sign languages. Focusing on information from non-Western countries, this article provides an overview of the sign languages of the world.

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