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sign language

any system of communication in which signs formed by hand configuration and movement are used instead of spoken language. The term refers particularly to the system used by people who are deaf or have severe hearing loss, which has its own syntax and methods of conveying nuances of feeling and emotion and is now accepted by most linguists as exhibiting the full set of defining characteristics of human oral–aural language. The particular system of hand signs and movements used primarily in the United States and Canada is called American Sign Language (ASL). Forms of sign language are sometimes used also to communicate with children with certain neurological disorders and with nonhuman primates, but these systems are far less sophisticated than those used by people with hearing impairment. Also called signing. See fingerspelling.

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Psychology term of the day

May 21st 2024

chronic pain

chronic pain

pain that continues to occur despite all medical and pharmacological efforts at treatment. In many cases, the pain is initially caused by tissue damage or disease. The continuation of the pain is often the result of pathological changes in the central nervous system.