American Sign Language (ASL) has made great strides and milestones since its inception over three centuries ago. Today, it’s one of the widely used sign languages in many court systems in the world. But did you know that over 500,000 deaf people in North America use ASL as their favored sign language? Please keep on reading to learn more about five interesting facts about the American Sign Language.
First Things First: What’s American Sign Language?
There are myriads of sign languages across the globe, and they often vary from country to country. In fact, there’s a diversity of more than 300 sign languages currently in use. The American Sign Language is what it sounds like – the standard sign language for the Deaf Communities in North America, notably the US and English-speaking regions of Canada.
#1. American Sign Language Was Born in 1817
You read that right. The American Sign Language was birthed by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet back in 1817 in his hometown Hartford, Connecticut. And for the next 300 years or so, this fascinating sign language has undergone continuous development.
It all began when Thomas noticed that his younger siblings weren’t playing with one child. Turns out, the young lady – named Alice Cogswell – was deaf. Unfortunately, there were no deaf schools in Connecticut or anywhere in the US, which inspired Thomas to make an educational trip to Europe.
#2. It’s Often Considered as a Foreign Language
Most language experts consider American Sign Language as foreign. And true to that, ASL doesn’t necessarily mirror English words. It comes with its own grammar, vocabulary, syntax, style, and word order. In any case, ASL origins can be traced to France, where Thomas Gallaudet got his inspiration. As such, you’ll find that there’s a big similarity between American Sign Language and its French counterpart.
#3. You can Learn Sign Language Online
That’s right. You can now learn basic sign language in a matter of months, if not weeks, thanks to reputable online courses like American Sign Language by Online Learning Corp. But if you are looking to take your signing skills to the next level, you might want to enroll in a tried-and-true advanced program, with American Sign Language: Level 2 being the best choice.
You’d be forgiven for thinking American Sign Language is all about signs and hand gestures. Even the basic sign language incorporates facial expressions that can help you convey whether you are asking a question or making a statement. Lowering your eyebrows, for instances, shows that you are asking a why-who-when-where question.
#5. Over 2 Million People “Speak” ASL
Here’s a great reason to learn sign language: you will not be alone. According to recent statistics, the American Sign Language is the fourth most used language in the United States, only trailing English, Española, and Mandarin.
There you have it, five fascinating facts about American Sign Language. It’s truly a beautiful sign language. Luckily, you don’t have to spend oodles of cash or even leave your home to learn sign language. To get started just sign up for the American Sign Language, which is considered by experts as one of the best basic sign language courses available online.