Sign Language is used primarily by Deaf people throughout the world. Sign Language differs from spoken languages in that it is visual rather than auditory, and is composed of precise handshapes and movement. This language has evolved in a completely different medium, using the hands and face rather than the vocal and is perceived by the eye rather than the ear.
Sign Language is not a universal language shared by Deaf people of the world because there are many sign languages that have evolved independently of each other. Just as spoken languages differ in grammatical structure, rules and historical relationships, sign languages also differ along these parameters.
An important property of human language is that the form of words is generally arbitrary, and there are no indigenous sign languages that are simply a transformation of a spoken language to the hands. Sign language is also equipped with the same expressive power that is inherent in spoken languages and it can express complicated, intricate concepts with the same degree of explicitness and eloquence as spoken language.
Sign Language potrays the image, identity and culture of the country that the Deaf Community belongs to. In Malaysia, we have the Malaysian Sign Language (Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia—BIM).
The Deaf regard Sign Language as their natural language which reflects their cultural values and keeps their traditions and their heritage alive.
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