The Ancient Origins of Sign Handshapes

  title={The Ancient Origins of Sign Handshapes},
  author={G. Montgomery},
  journal={Sign Language Studies},
  pages={322 - 334}
This article discusses the common origins of written scripts and sign handshapes in tally scores, the board abacus, and finger counting. The early roots of numbers in magic, prognostication, and religious numerology are shown to have resulted in familiarity with alphanumeric code switching particularly in the superstitious practice of fadic addition. The breakthrough of using handshapes for letters, not merely numbers, occurred in eighth-century Northumbria, where Bede recorded a one-hand… Expand
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