Basic Facts about Sign Language
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Sign Language:
Some Basic Facts About Sign Language

1. Sign Language is an integral part and an identifying feature of membership in the Deaf culture.

2. Sign Language has its own grammatical structure independent of any spoken/written language, e.g. English, Zulu, and Xhosa, etc.

3. The majorities of Deaf people (90%) are born to hearing parents and therefore do not acquire Sign Language as a mother tongue. They acquire Sign Language at school from peers. Sign Language is the first language of the majority of deaf children.

4. Minorities (10%) of Deaf children are born to Deaf parents and these children acquire Sign Language as a mother tongue.

5. South African Sign Language (SASL), despite regional differences and variations, has the same grammatical structure countrywide.

6. There is not a one-to-one relationship between Sign Language and English. One sign may be translated into English by more than one word (perhaps a phrase or sentence). Likewise an English word may be represented by more than one sign.

7. SASL is not more or less abstract than any spoken language. It is capable of expressing with all its subtlety and complexity.

8. That is SASL can be used to tell jokes, ask riddles, express sarcasm, tell lies, create idioms, make poetry, etc.

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