American Sign Language

American Sign Language

Have you ever seen sign language in action? Speakers will often use hand signals and facial features to get their point across. Here are a few fun facts about American Sign Language.

American Sign Language, commonly known as ASL is spoken by more than half a million people across North America. The language has been used for nearly 200 years, most commonly by those who are deaf. It is uncertain how and when exactly ASL developed, but many believe it originated in France where they speak their own version of sign language.

ASL is strictly the sign language that is used across North America. Countries such as Britain and France use different forms of sign language. In Britain they use British Sign Language (BSL) and Langue des Signes Française (LSF) is used across French speaking countries. If someone who spoke ASL were to speak to someone in BSL, they would not understand each other because each sign language is its own distinct language. However, since ASL originated in France, an ASL speaker could have an easier time understanding someone who uses LSF.

ASL is not strictly confined to the use of gestures or signs when being spoken. The speaker often uses a variety of facial expressions, body movements, hand shapes and even hand positioning. Sign language consists of more than just a sign alphabet. While there is a sign for each letter of the alphabet, many objects, and things can have their own individual sign to use in order to convey your message.

When speaking sign language, it is important to know that the grammatical structure differs from the grammatical structure that English speakers may be used to. In ASL, the verb often comes before the object.

If you’re looking for a fun language to learn, this could be your next choice!