French sign language poem

Interpreted by Christine Cledic on Tchaikovsky
Poetry book
Original version
Poem the mirror

Sign language

This poetry translated into French sign language, has a true place in the pantheon of my translations. Deafness is often figurative! Maybe it's just a simple sign she's waiting for! Often they are better than words!

Sign languages (with S, because there are many), are in many ways, similar to spoken languages. They are natural languages with the same functions than spoken languages. They are often rich lessons for linguists, to understand the birth of a language. The other questions are to know, if children acquire them at the same level than those spoken, and which are the different areas mobilized in the brain. Does language happen in only one area of the brain, or are there many responsible of "languages".

This is evolution that made language possible, thousands of years ago. Sign language in any case, proves that humans have two ways (visual and auditory) to communicate. If the spoken language is dominant, perhaps it comes to other forms of expression. When people can not speak, very naturally, they find other method of expression, to exchange each other.

Nevertheless, teaching the sign languages at school, is relatively recent, about 300 years old. In some cases we can speak about creolization for sign language, when deaf and other people are in contact without having learned the LS. There are more than one hundred distinct sign languages. This number proves how humans need to communicate.

One must also noted that within each culture that has codified its own sign language, there are regional variations. In the same way as for the languages of orality, sign language like any other language is a living thing in perpetual movement, and the dialectal variants which exist are an obvious proof of this.

Some examples

Sign language is a way to communicate with many hand shapes and movements to signal words and meanings. In some circumstances people use sign language, by example the hunters to signal messages silently, and more widely, by aboriginal women who are in a mourning. A woman must spend a period of time in mourning after the death of her husband. During this period, she cannot travel about and is not allowed to feed herself and communicate in spoken language, so they use sign language.

Neighboring languages
Braille poem - Fingerspelling poem
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Poem translated into 425 languages: here LSF