What Is American Sign Language?

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American Sign Language (ASL) is a manual language, used by the deaf community throughout North America and other select countries.  It includes syntax, structure, fingerspelling, facial expressions, numbers, non-manuals, prosody, and other grammatical features.  American Sign Language is the 4th most popular language that is used throughout the world.  American Sign Language is a way for people who cannot hear to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings.  Knowing American Sign Language gives you the ability to convey abstract or concrete ideas, with those who also sign. 


Traditionally, American Sign Language was learned in a classroom setting.  Today, there are programs online that offer you the ability to learn the language at your own pace.  However, not all programs are alike.  If you decide to learn American Sign Language online, you need to look for the following features to an online program:  You need structured and themed lessons.  Lessons should offer retention exercises to help you retain your sign language skills.  Additionally, the American Sign Language program should have an extensive video dictionary for you to search for specific vocabulary words at your convenience.  Furthermore, the online program should have lessons for learning grammar, fingerspelling, and numbers.  All of these features need to be included in order for you to learn American Sign Language effectively.  Knowing how to fingerspell does not constitute knowing, “American Sign Language”.  You need to learn the specific signs, fingerspelling, numbers, and all of the other nuances of ASL. 


After learning from a reputable ASL program online, you need to practice your American Sign Language.  One way for you to practice your ASL skills is to socialize with the Deaf community.  Usually, deaf people will host various events in your community for you to attend.  Some of the activities may be at a local coffee shop or organized events, regardless of the function or activity, make every effort to attend.  Not only will you be practicing your American Sign Language skills, but you will be meeting new people and making long-lasting friends. The more you socialize with those who are deaf, the better your skills will be developed and polished.  There are always social events that you can attend in order to interact with deaf people.  Some of these events may include bowling, coffee shop, and other similar gatherings.  The second way for you to practice your American Sign Language skills is to interact with people who are learning the language, as well.  At times, socializing with deaf people can be a little intimidating for beginners.  The fear of making a mistake or signing an incorrect sign can be nerve racking.  However, deaf people are very helpful to those who are learning American Sign Language. Once again, the more you practice, either with a deaf person or someone just learning, the better and more confident you will feel communicating with those who cannot hear.

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Paul Fugate has 12 articles online

Learn more about Online American Sign Language and Learn Sign Language Online at ASLDeafined.Com.

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What Is American Sign Language?

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This article was published on 2010/12/28