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File:Manual communication.jpg

Pupils in a traditional classroom situation signal to their teacher that they want to be heard

Manual communication systems use articulation of the hands (hand signs, gestures) to mediate a message between persons. Being expressed manually, they are received visually, and sometimes tactually (see tactile signing). Manual communication, when it is a primary form of communication, may be enhanced by body language and facial expressions and other forms of communication.

Manual communication is employed in systems that are codes for spoken languages (see Manually Coded Language), and with natural languages, such as in sign languages.

Other, simpler forms of manual communication have also been developed. They are neither natural languages nor even a code that can fully render one. They communicate with a very limited set of signals about an even smaller set of topics and have been developed for situations where speech is not practical or permitted, or secrecy is desired.

Environments with manual communication used

  • Some cloistered religious communities use Monastic sign language)
  • While scuba diving (see Diving signal)
  • In television recording studios
  • In loud environments (such as a stock exchange, marketplaces (finger counting), sawmill, or at a horse race - eg tic-tac)
  • When signalling across distance to a crane driver, ship or plane (eg Flag semaphore).
  • While hunting
  • In the game Charades
  • In combat where stealth or noise makes other forms of communication impractical.
  • Between lifeguards
  • On roads, between vehicle drivers, by other road users such as bicycle and horse riders to signals stops and turns, and by pedestrians to flag a passing taxi or bus

See also

External links

  • ASL Resource Site Free online lessons, ASL dictionary, and resources for teachers, students, and parents.