University of West Bohemia in Pilsen

Sign Speech


Ing. Kanis Jakub  <jkanis@kky.zcu.cz>


Pursuant to the law 155/1998 Sb. the Sign Speech (SS) means Czech Sign Language and Signed Czech. The article 4 specifies the Czech Sign Language (CSL) as follows:

  1. Czech Sign Language is basic communication facility of the deaf people in the Czech Republic.
  2. Czech Sign Language is natural and adequate communication system. It is composed by the specific visual-spatial resources, i.e. hand shapes, movements, facial expressions, head and upper part of the torso positions. Czech Sign Language has basic language attributes, i.e. system of signs, double articulation, productiveness, peculiarity and historical dimension, and has stable lexical and grammatical structure.

The article 5 specifies the Signed Czech (SC) as follows:

  1. Signed Czech is artificial language system, which facilitates communication between deaf and no deaf people.
  2. Signed Czech uses grammatical resources of the Czech language, which is simultaneously loudly or unloudly articulated. The signs of the Czech Sign Language according to the individual Czech words are showed together with the articulation.

The basic unit of the sign language is the sign (it corresponds broadly to the individual word (concept) in spoken language, but this is not always true!). Every sign has two parts: nonmanual and manual part. The nonmanual part is expressed by facial expressions, movements and positions of the head and upper part of the torso. The manual part is expressed by shapes, movements and positions of the hands. The signs are realized in sign space, which is delimited by outspread elbows, crown and line leading under the stomach. The main difference between the Czech language and CSL results from the different way of perception. CSL is visual-spatial language, i.e. this language is not perceived by hearing but sight.