Sign language uses manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning—simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express fluidly a speaker's thoughts.
The complex spatial grammars of sign languages are markedly different from the grammars of spoken languages. Hundreds of sign languages are in use around the world and are at the cores of local Deaf cultures. Some sign languages have obtained some form of legal recognition, while others have no status at all.
In addition to sign languages, various signed codes of spoken languages have been developed, such as Signed English and Warlpiri Sign Language. These are not independent languages; a signed code of an oral language is simply a signed mode of the language it carries, just as a writing system is a written mode. Signed codes can be useful for learning oral languages or for expressing and discussing literal quotations from those languages, but are generally too awkward for normal discourse.
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