American Sign Language
American sign language may be one of the least-understood languages in the world today. In fact, its very complexity is also part of its beauty.
American sign language has certainly enriched our culture by tapping into the creativity of the deaf. Still, most members of the hearing community do not comprehend it. For the uninitiated, it is a complicated language that depends not only on hand and arm movements, but on body postures and unique facial expressions. While it is certainly not the only means of communication available to deaf people, it is among the most popular in existence today.
It has even been said that the method is the 4th most common language in the U.S. It should be noted that sign language can differ from region to region and from country to country. For instance, the British have their own form of sign language, which reflects some of the expressions unique to the British Isles.
It should be noted that the exact origins of this form of sign language are unclear, although it’s believed to have been derived from the French. It was apparently used by the first school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, which was established by the famous Thomas Gallaudet.
The Need To Practice
The fundamentals of this language may be easy to master, but it can be difficult to become proficient. Therefore, a great deal of study and practice is needed in order to use the language appropriately. What you might not realize is that sign language contains its own unique grammar, punctuation, and syntax. For instance, in order to pose a question in this language, you need to raise your eyebrows and open your eyes wide. You may also need to tilt your body forward in order to communicate the question effectively.
While signing can be exhausting, it can also be quite rewarding. There is, in fact, no better feeling than for a hearing person to be able to communicate with a non-hearing person using sign language.
Summing It Up
American Sign Language is a tremendous national treasure. It is a communication tool that has brought Americans, both hearing and non-hearing alike, closer together. Without this unique, vibrant language, it would be difficult to bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf worlds.