8 Interesting Facts about American Sign Language (ASL)

American Sign Language has been developed for over 300 years by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Dated back to 1817, Gallaudet established the first national school for the deaf community in the US, which is known as American Asylum, located in Hartford, Connecticut. Today, American Sign Language is widely used through-out America and has become one of the most popular languages used within the court system. So, do you want to learn more about this interesting language? Let’s go through 8 interesting facts about American Sign Language.

  1. ASL is considered as a foreign language

ASL has its own vocabulary, grammar, word order and style and does not necessarily reflect English words.

ASL originates from France, that’s why French Sign Language is very similar to ASL.

 

  1. Sign language is not only a sign, gesture language but also a facial expression language

Sign Language users often use facial expression to change the meaning of signs.

For example:

Lowering eyebrows indicates who-what-where-when-why question.

Raising eyebrows indicates yes/no question.

 

  1. Different countries have different sign languages

Sign Language developed naturally from interactions between people and was influenced by their age, gender, culture and more.

There are about 6,000 different sign languages around the world.

 

  1. Children acquire sign language in the same way they acquire spoken language

Through interactions with people around them, deaf babies explore the hand shapes and movements that make up signs by babbling with their hands.

In the early developmental stages, deaf children often substitute easier handshapes for more difficult ones.

 

  1. ALS is the third most popular language in the US

Behind English, Spanish and Chinese, ALS is the fourth most widely used language in the US with around 2 million users.

 

  1. “I love you” in ASL is the combination of signs for the letters I,L and Y

  1. Gallaudet University in Washington DC provides most of their courses in ASL

Founded in 1864, Gallaudet University is the major university that offers education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the US. Most courses are taught in ASL even though they do have other learning programs in English.

  1. Beethoven became a talented composer and pianist even though he was hearing impaired.