Post by Peter Moylan Post by Ken Blake
Speaking of sign language, in the US, it's called Ameslan (an
abbreviation of American Sign Language). Assuming that sign language
is also used in other countries, what is called there, and does it
differ from Ameslan
The Australian one is called Auslan, which always makes me think of C S
It's always seemed silly to me to have different sign languages in
different countries. It would make so much more sense to have an
international sign language. If there are good reasons why that can't be
done - and perhaps there are - then at least we should try to unify the
sign languages of English-speaking countries.
Is it equally silly to have different oral languages in different
countries? No matter, within one generation the signed languages of
communities that don't regularly intercommunicate will have begun
to diverge and eventually differentiate into mutual incomprehensibility.
Post by Peter Moylan
When my son was studying linguistics at university, a huge part of the
second year was taken up with a study of Auslan. I suspect that it was
that that convinced him to give up on linguistics and switch to a
That's odd. Over Here, the gestural mode is simply listed among the other
modes, namely oral. ASL can be studied in some places as a foreign language
and probably always will be counted in a linguistic degree's "uncommon"
It wasn't so in my day; my first exposure to Sign as a linguistics topic
was at the 1976 Summer Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, where
it was one of the featured topics and there were several lectures about it.
(Presumably it was also taught as a language during the Linguistic
Institute -- there's no longer a Summer Meeting of the LSA, but the LI
is still held, at a different campus every time, though biennially instead
Your son probably happened to light on an instructor whose special field
that was (just as Jim Gair's Phonology class took lots of examples from
Sinhala, and Fred Agard's Morphology class took lots of examples from