There’s something a little more special and a little more warm about sign language.
Languages spoken around the world involve the culture of the people that speak it. Slang terms, greetings, short-hand, and more can be affiliated with certain groups of people.
There’s the way that Italians — like myself — will flail their hands and get loud when excited. There’s the way that Mexicans roll their R’s in that romance language kind of way. There’s the way Chinese people drag certain sounds or hang on a vowel for a moment that weaves phrases smoothly into one another.
But for sign language, it’s the physical part.
Sign language is an art; in so many ways, people can see what’s being said and described differently depending on how they were taught the language.
There’s a lot of directional words and phrases to better indicate things. There’s the way people list things on their hand. There’s the way people shoulder shift to separate ideas. And of course, there’s the facial expressions to emphasize the tone of a conversation.
I think that if the world saw how beautiful sign language truly was, more people would be inclined to give it a chance. Yeah, there’s grammatical things, formatting is different from English, some words don’t line up with other languages, and articles are left out. But that can be said for a lot of other languages around the world with sign language as no exception.
My boyfriend tells me the only sign he remembers from our middle school sign language class is “forest” because of how it looks like dancing trees. And while funny, I think there’s something beautiful in that.
Take the way people sign songs. So many people, hearing or deaf, will watch those TikToks and be fascinated. It can really be like dancing and — like I stated earlier — an art form.
But for me, my favorite part of the language is the affection behind it. Being a physical language gives people the opportunity to be — quite literally — hands on for those of us with hearing loss, speech impediments, or just a general difficulty learning to speak another language. And I think there’s something beautiful in that; you can physically touch someone to show them communication. And for people that already have one sense that’s different, the others can mean everything.
Sign language is beautiful. Sign language is art. Sign language is culture.
I am proud to say it’s a part of mine, and that’s why I love to learn it together.