Languages are as old as human. This saying is based on a simple condition: How can two or more persons communicate if they do not have standardized language? That is why language has been growing. There are hundreds of languages in this world, varied from the mostly spoken to the least one. They can be also grouped by the type and how they are spoken, such as Spanish is in one group with Italian.
The problem is, how about the language for the deaf? Persons who are born to have difficulties in hearing or can be called as deaf surely could not speak with the language we are commonly using. In one country, there could be deaf people in different regions who communicate with sign language but in different ways.
For deaf people, there is the sign language. Sign language is a language which uses visually transmitted sign patterns to convey meaning. It combines the movement of hands, hand shapes, orientations, etc., to clearly express what the speaker wants to say.
Sign language has been developed since the era of Socrates in Fifth Century BC. Later in 1755, Abbe de l'Epee established the first school for the deaf children in Paris. The school was a total success. One of the famous graduates whom we know is Laurent Clerc.
Since there are so many deaf people, the sign language was then standardized. No matter what language do you use, you can always know the meaning by using sign language. It has been building a rich vocabulary and grammar.There could be hundreds of sign languages. Each community of deaf people has unique vocabulary and grammar.Some popular sign languages are French Sign Language, American Sign Language and British Sign Language. American deaf person might find it difficult to communicate with an English deaf person.
Whether you are deaf or not, learning sign language can be a plus for you. If you are interested in that, let me show you of how to speak sign language.First, books and pictures sometimes do not help. This is based on the comment of speakers of sign language. It will be better to see by yourself when the speaker communicates with the sign language.Second, speakers of sign language communicate through concepts and not words. It might be possible to interpret it to any other languages, but it would not be a direct translation.
Third, once you learn American Sign Language, you should also try Signed Exact English and Pidgin Signed English. These are the languages that used by the deaf and hearing people both. They rely on the English language.