A lost chance at a universal language

Published on 29th January 2020 – 4 Shevat 5780. Last updated on January 29, 2020.

This article is not speaking about Esperanto although I am interested in learning this language on Duolingo.

If you are to think about languages that people use what do you think? English? Maybe Hebrew, Chinese or Spanish but I bet you are thinking of a verbal language. What if I told you there is another type of language (andI am not talking about mathematics or programming languages) and I am writing about visual languages such as the British Sign Language.

Sign language is a major visual language which oddly enough has so many different versions that it would have been amazing to create a language that could be understood anywhere in the world. Seriously two countries that have a common language between the two – the United Kingdom and the United States of America which shares a common tongue of English does not even have a common version of sign language between them as both British Sign Language and American Sign Language are different.

Imagine right now if you knew sign language and you lived in Britain. You chat with someone by using sign language and then you go on a trip to Israel and when you arrive you have a discussion with someone else speaking with the same sign language you used in Britain.

When sign language started to be developed there was a chance the world could have come together and create a universal language that anyone in the world could have studied and used outside of the verbal language expected language. Imagine a world where you could say Hello, Dia dhuit, Zdravo, שָׁלוֹם, مرحب, with the exact same hand signs and not using different signs for each language – or two in the case of English!

We had a chance to create a universal language, a united language. A united language creates a united culture and ultimately a united future where we can communicate beyond culture but we blew it.

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