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From:  James R Womack
Date:  Mon Aug 16, 1999  9:05 am
Subject:  Re: How many signers in the world?

On Sun, 15 Aug 1999 22:10:33 -0700 Valerie Sutton
> August 15, 1999

> Hello SignWriting List!

> How many people in the world (both Deaf and hearing) use a signed
> language?

Don't know but beliee the number is staggering.

> Does anyone know the current statistics?

No because no one ever thinks to include naval carrier units
who work in a loud environment during launching and recovery of aircraft
and employ both hand signals and baton signals. Or secret agents who use
a sort fo hand language to when distance and/or discretion requires
communication nonetheless. Or waiters/waitress in restaurants who
use hand signs to communicate a wide variety of information, mostly about
customers. Or the casino workers of Vegas especially who employ their own
for their own uh, ahem purposes relevant to gambling situations. Or scube
diver hand signals, or the colorful gestures employed by Hispanic and
hearing people as a daily course of their lives and interaction. Or the
remainants of
primitve hand signs, body language, and facial expressions of humanity in
general that
still exist when we speak yet unconsciously move our hands communicating
things we
often are unaware (and thus the reason such books as _How to Read a
Person Like a Book_
etc came to be). Or research that indicats babies areborn with a
predisposition toward
a visual communication system and have some kind of pre-existing system
that researchers in
child development are only now discovering and advising parents to employ
a pre-speech
simple system to communicate withtheir infants as that is what the infant
is trying to
do with parents, but we have forgotten. As a matter of fact, they claim
some mothers
who show an extraordinary ability to interpret their infants wants and
needs are actually
reading the baby's signs without being aware of this. I'm sure I have
missed some categories, but
like I siad, no one would think toinclude these populations in the signed
languages statistics.

> I am writing a report to a foundation, and I need the statistic for
> the report....

Good luck, but you might try the Gallaudet office of demographics,
they used to do something akin to this.

> A long time ago I read that approximately 2% of the world's
> population uses a signed language, but I wonder if that is true?

See what I mean? It's actually larger than that, but then again, if you
are talking about only naturally evolved languages, the % drops, true.

> Thanks in advance for your help -

Such as it is.

> o/ James Womack \o ,
> <| Don't mince words |> __o/
> / > Say what you really think! < \ __\__

  Replies Author Date
1678 Re: How many signers in the world? Valerie Sutton Tue  8/17/1999

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