Languages are amazing. I think languages not only make you know the culture and soul of a community but make you feel you are part of them. Most of us usually give importance or rather run after the illusion of the various points and manners of articulation that produces these strangely attractive sounds in different languages. While trying to juggle and understand the supra-segmental features, another feature that adds to our knowledge is the variety of gestures and body languages that belong to each language, learnt or acquired. Whether written or spoken, grammatical information is another part that is conveyed through the different structures which are used as standards for every language. So when we learn or acquire a language, we have to pay attention to both the aspects. If I now put it into perspective, all these can only be achievable if we are able to speak in the first place!
For every 1000 kids, there is 1 kid who is deaf or cannot speak. Sadly, the government develops curriculum that will teach kids to show only compassion for such conditions but not feel a sense of community along with them. Sign languages have been popular and taught to kids with the condition of mutism for their survival. However, learning sign language for a regular person has a lot of importance as well. Let me break down this news in as many pieces as I know:
- When you are trying to communicate through signs, you listen with your eyes and that makes you a better listener. Unlike spoken language, you cannot look away while listening. So in short, making eye contact and communicate would need genuine interest!
- Knowing sign language is extremely helpful to deal with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since they do not like to communicate and engage much in social interactions, sign language comfort them. Also, a routine and a set pattern to communicate makes them more social unlike the change of patterns that we unconsciously do while using a spoken language.
- 21st century learning design constantly strives for productive collaboration. So for better classroom management and encouraging private conversation while group tasks, it calls for this essential language. Additionally, a conversation becomes more expressive as both emotion and grammatical features can be expressed at the same time.
- Kids born with the ability and inability to speak are born with same acquisition competency. Both the kids would start babbling first with their hands, and then their mouth. Early diagnosis of mutism helps in normalizing the same efficiently.
- Sign language improves a learner’s peripheral vision and reaction time. As pointed out in 1. how one needs to be very attentive while listening with your eyes, it increases your spatial awareness as you are now focused to make meaning of the conversation and the interaction. Since, everything is linked with signs and gestures, it also promotes better memory rotation.
- The signs are converted from the written set of the letters in one language. It is also witnessed that learning sign languages makes a learner better at spellings.
- Since it is native for anyone who cannot express in a spoken language, it is even researched to be true that learning a sign language helps you to communicate with animals. It opens you to a different world and its rich history and advancement.
There are over 135 sign languages. Go ahead and sign up for one!