Open a new world with online ASL classes
American Sign Language (ASL) is used by an estimated 500,000 people in the United States. As a "natural" language, ASL is learned by many deaf people as their first language in childhood, allowing them to communicate. However, with an estimated 28 million people in the United States having some degree of hearing loss (about 10% of the population) ASL is an important second language that can help alleviate the stress of hearing loss later in life.
Who should learn American Sign Language?
American Sign Language is a great language to learn for a number of reasons. While it is a great language for anyone to learn, here are a few people who should definitely learn ASL.
Deaf people: It may be obvious, but American Sign Language was designed to help deaf people communicate.
Family and friends of deaf people: For friends and family members of deaf people, being able to use American Sign Language can help you become closer and make them feel more comfortable.
People experiencing hearing loss: ASL is a great tool to have if you are experiencing hearing loss.
First responders: ASL is perfect for police officers, firefighters, nurses and so many more first responders. With such a large population of people using ASL, it is great to be able to quickly communicate in the event of an emergency.
Educators: One of the biggest obstacles for deaf people is the ability to learn as a child. With more educators able to use ASL, deaf children have an easier opportunity to be in regular classes.
Frequently Asked Questions about American Sign Language
Sign language is a visual language. Using gestures and handshapes, sign language allows people to convey ideas.
This is a very common misconception. ASL is not a signed version of English. In fact, it is very different than spoken English. ASL has its own syntax and grammar, evolving over hundreds of years.
American Sign Language is a real language. Many people mistakenly think American Sign Language and Manually Coded English are the same things, but they are in fact very different. Manually Coded English uses ASL signs to spell out English words, while American Sign Language uses signs to convey ideas with its own syntax and grammar.
Facial expressions and body language are very important in ASL, just as in any other language. They are especially important in ASL because one sign may in fact be used to convey multiple ideas. Using facial expressions and body language, ASL users are able to convey complex ideas and concepts without needing specific signs for each and every word.