About Sign Language

What is Sign Language?

Romanian Sign Language is an independent language that has, just as any other language, its own structure, vocabulary, grammar rules and other specific components. Romanian Sign Language is the language used by the Romanian Deaf communities. For most Deaf Romanians, Romanian Sign Language is their mother tongue, and not Romanian, as one might think. The degree of understanding and the ability to use spoken Romanian differs a lot from one person to another. Some Deaf people have limited or reduced abilities of using Romanian (writing, reading, lip reading, speaking) but others possess advanced or very advanced knowledge and skills regarding the usage of the Romanian language.

This language consists of signs that designate concepts, and there is no perfect equivalence to the Romanian words. For example, a sign may have multiple meanings, while a Romanian word may have different translations into Romanian Sign Language. This also means that there are cases where a Romanian word does not have a direct equivalent in Romanian Sign Language as well as cases where certain signs are very difficult or even impossible to translate into Romanian. Apart from signs, Romanian Sign Language also uses finger spelling. As opposed to signs, finger spelling is the equivalent of the Romanian alphabet and is used to visually spell certain words and proper nouns. Finger spelling is not a way of communication, it only represents a visual coding of the letters of a certain alphabet.

Did you know that…
  • Sign Language is not universal. Each country – and, in some cases, each region – has its own sign language. However, there are resemblances between sign languages, just as there is a resemblance between spoken languages that have the same origin. Although, generally, sign languages are very visual (iconic), it is possible for a certain sign to have different meanings in different countries.
  • In order to learn a sign language you need as much time and dedication as for learning any other foreign language, even when learning the sign language of your own country.
  • Sign language is not a mimed version of spoken language. It is a separate language that occasionally uses characteristics of spoken language.
  • Even though sign languages are different from one country to another, Deaf people from different countries are able to communicate with each other, at least at a basic level.