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by William Tomkins

A Word to Advanced Students

A good sign talker can carry an a conversation in sign about three times as fast as he could speak and at least six times faster than any wigwag or semaphore system now in use could transmit the same message.

To merely know a given number of signs, however, is still a long way from being a good sign talker or being able to use the various combinations with proper accent and understanding.

Sign language deals with ideas rather than words and the literal meaning of each unit or individual sign depends upon what signs it is used with. The sign for QUESTION, for instance, may mean WHY, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, WHO or HOW MANY, CAN YOU, WILL YOU, according to the sense in which it is used. 

The sign for EAT may mean either TO EAT or FOOD, and the gesture for POSSESSION covers all words denoting possession or ownership.

Each sign should be considered as a GENERAL IDEA UNIT which acquires a literal and definite meaning only when associated with certain other signs.  In other words, each sign is a kind of idea alphabet block, to be placed end to end with other blocks when by their association a definite meaning is established.

In the same way, a compound sign might be illustrated by placing its block elements side by side as one unit is the main line of thought.

It will be seen from the foregoing wherein signs differ from words. For in a list of synonyms each word has a definite meaning inherent in itself, while a single sign may mean any one of its synonyms, according to the other signs with which it is placed, and which determine its precise meaning.

Universal Indian Sign Language






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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Sign Dictionary ] Introductory Notes ] Asking Names ] Moons/Months ] Sign Simplified ] Top 200 Signs ] 40 Native American Signs ] Indian Blessing ] Boy Scout Oath in Sign ] Sentence Formation ] Practice Sentences ] Sign Synonyms ] Telling Directions ] Pictographs ] Pictographic Story ] Correspondence ] Sign&Pictography ] Smoke Signals ] Sign History ] Sign Idioms ] Song "Taps" in Sign ] Troop Meeting ] Council Fire ] Camp Ideas ] Sign Play ] Sign Playlet ] Boy Scout Initiation ] Sign Exercises ] [ Advanced Students ] Immortality Poem ] Photos ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.