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Posted on Monday December 3, 2018

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Sign Language Alphabet

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Hands showing the sign language alphabet. Coloured line engraving.
Wellcome Collection
United Kingdom

Sign languages are completely developed natural languages with their own grammar and lexicon.This means that they are not universal and are not understood everywhere though they carry some similarities. 

Wherever there are communities of deaf people, sign languages have developed. They are also used by those who can hear but are unable to physically speak, those who have trouble with spoken language due to a condition or disability and those with deaf family members. 

Each country has it's own native sign language and some countries have more than one, but it is still unclear how many currently exsist around the world. 

Discover this small but unique high resolution dataset from the Wellcome Collection on the alphabet in sign language. These sign language engravings are in French, English and German.