The uniformity and diversity of language: Evidence from sign language

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence from sign language strongly supports three positions: (1) language is a coherent system with universal properties; (2) sign languages diverge from spoken languages in some aspects of their structure; and (3) domain-external factors can be identified that account for some crucial aspects of language structure - uniform and diverse - in both modalities. Assuming that any of these positions excludes the others defeats the purpose of the enterprise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2727-2732
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
My thanks to Mark Aronoff, Irit Meir and Carol Padden for helpful comments. Research on Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language is supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health-NIDCD (R01 DC 6473).


  • Diversity
  • New languages
  • Sign language
  • Universals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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