Contrary to popular belief, sign language is not a universal language. Like spoken languages, sign languages around the world are different. Gestuno is a former term for the current term, "International Sign Language." Gestuno is to Deaf as Esperanto is to Hearing. It helps Deaf officials, as well as some culturally Deaf individuals, participants, and athletes, communicate with each other at ease at the international-level meetings, conventions, and games.
Gestuno is an artificially devised sign language or a communication system. Its vocabulary is composed of loan words and iconic (onomatopoeic) words, in which a signed word is selected from different sign languages that Deaf people conventionally agreed to use at international events and meetings. The lexicon of International Sign is not permanently conventional. It has been constantly changing over periods of time.
The "unification" of signed languages was naturally formed at the first World Congress of the WFD (World Federation of the Deaf) in Rome, Italy, in 1951 with the term "Gestuno". This term is roughly an Italian word for "oneness of sign languages".
The WFD committee gathered to compile a new dictionary of "Gestuno" to be presented at the 7th Congress of the WFD in 1975 in Washington, D.C.
International Sign has been practiced among Deaf officials, as well as some culturally Deaf individuals, participants, and athletes, to communicate with each other at ease (to some degree) at the international-level meetings, conventions, and games.
The term "Gestuno" became obsolete and the current term "International Sign" or "International Sign Language" has become a common use in English.
Introducing International Sign (Language).
Gestuno: International Sign Language of the Deaf. Published for the World Federation of the Deaf by The British Deaf Association. 1975.
Also see International Sign Language.
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