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Myth or Fact: Sign Languages are iconic

Myth: Sign Languages are iconic

Fact: In linguistics, an iconic sign is the one that resembles its meaning in one way or another. The opposite of this is what we define as arbitrariness. Sign languages are not truly arbitrary. But there exists a relationship between the sign and the meaning it conveys—those signs are iconic. There are some signs whose relationship with their meanings is not obvious, but there also are some other signs whose meaning and signs are almost same. The ability to the guess the meaning of sign language describes the arbitrary nature.

But some signs are there who has an iconic nature. For example, an extended thumb is usually affirmative. Statues, portraits, drawing, sound effects, cartoons; all these show a strong resemblance with their meanings.

And let us open and close our hands as shown, to represent the word “cartoon”.
Hello guys! Let’s draw a circle to
represent the word “draw”

According to ASL, the sign language has become less iconic over the period. Researchers suggest that while using sign language, structural components of handshapes, location, and orientation should be used rather than the iconic characteristics.

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