People with hearing loss, generally communicate using American Sign Language.
This is the primary mode of communication when you have lost your hearing. Even hearing people are taught this method. It is necessary if they want to communicate on behalf of someone or want to communicate with someone, who is hearing impaired.
About the American Sign Language
The American Sign Language (ASL) is a means of communication that was developed in the United States and is also used in Canada.
It is a comprehensive, multipart language, which uses hand gestures and other actions. This mainly includes body postures and facial expressions.
Just as English is the first and primary way that most hearing people use, ASL is the main way in which people with hearing impairment communicate in America. When compared to English, Spanish and other languages, American Sign Language ranks at number four as the most used language in the States.
Sign Language is not the Same Around The World
There are a number of sign languages used across the globe. This will differ depending on your country or region. But another popular version of SL, is the British Sign Language (BSL).
How was American Sign Language Created?
This is not completely clear. There are those who think that America’s version of sign language derives from French Sign Language (FSL). Others believe that it existed long before 1817, which was when FSL was brought to the States.
Laurent Clerc, came to America because if an invitation from Thomas Gallaudet.
He was a French teacher, and it is said that he taught some Americans FSL. His French students already knew FSL. And he had a school in Hartford, Connecticut, which was for people who suffered from hearing loss.
The American Sign Language gestures that are utilized now still have elements of those used back in the early 19th century. But regardless, it is not easy finding proof of how ASL came to be the way it is now. Neither, which language had a greater influence.
The similarities with American Sign Language and French Sign Language is that they both have similar elements. And they both contain a great amount of vocabulary.
Nevertheless, they are not equally understandable.
What is the Comparison Between Spoken Language and American Sign Language?
When you use the verbal or oral language, you will note that it has a variety of sounds that is formed from words and the tone of your voice or intonation. Your voice is primarily what you use to communicate.
However, with ASL, the ability for the person to see is the foundation of the language. A hearing impaired person can understand how to learn sign language and communicate with signs if they can see it. If not, then they won’t be able to grasp the ASL easily.
Sight is necessary to comprehend the various visual cues, facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and other movements. As well as any other hand movement, hand position and hand shape.
After taking ASL lessons and mastering basic sign language, people can take a while to be fully proficient in ASL. This comes with a lot of practice and studying.
Differences of ASL from the English Language
Regardless of the fact that America is an English speaking nation, American Sign Language is a language unto itself. It is different. ASL has all the necessary components required to make it a language. There are sentence order, punctuation, and grammar rules.
However, they are different from those of the English language.
ASL Can Change With Its User
It permits regional usage and slang. This is understandable and a similarity with all languages.
For example, when a person using ASL wants to indicate that they are asking a question, they will either widen their eyes or raise their eyebrows. However, with the spoken language, English speakers will use a special tone of voice to indicate the same thing.
Some ASL users can even use body movements to ask a question, like leaning forward. They would combine it with the previous facial gestures.
General Gestures Can Change
Depending on the user, the general gestures can change from person to person. For easy use, a hearing impaired person can use a synonym to convey the meaning of multiple words.
If you watch sign language translators on television or at public meetings, you can catch on to these gestures.
American Sign Language can also be influenced by where you are in the country. People in one State on the East Coast, might use different gestures for the same words that another person uses on the West Coast. In addition, their gender, age or ethnicity are influencers as well.
Where to go to Learn American Sign Language
If you are interested in learning this language, there are classes held all over the country. Check within your local community or city for ASL lessons or ASL schools. They will start you off with basic sign language, including ASL alphabet.
Yes, you must start at the foundation level and gradually move up to the masters.