American Sign Language Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is American Sign Language?
American Sign Language (ASL) is a language of its own that communicates through the use of visually interpreted hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements. It is one of the most widely used languages in the United States and Canada, with an estimated half-million users in North America alone. ASL is not only used by Deaf individuals but also by hearing people for a variety of reasons. ASL has its own grammar system and complex rules for communication, much like spoken languages do. ASL uses handshapes, palm orientation, movement of the hands and arms, facial expressions and body language to create meaning. ASL sentences are composed using different word order than English sentences; they include non-manual markers such as head nods and eyebrow raises to convey additional meaning or emphasis. This language also has its own set of slang words which can change depending on who you are speaking with or where you are located geographically. The history behind American Sign Language can be traced back hundreds of years ago with roots from France’s sign language system called Langue des Signes Francaise (LSF). In 1817 Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founded what would eventually become Gallaudet University an institution specifically designed to empower Deaf people to be successful members within their communities through education ushering in a new era for Deaf Americans everywhere which allowed them access to both communication methods previously denied them due to their lack of hearing capabilities: sign language alongside English literacy. Today American Sign Language is continuing to grow in popularity as more people learn it either out of interest or necessity; there are even online courses available so anyone can learn this unique form of communication from the comfort of their own home. As technology advances we will likely see more innovations aimed at making sign language accessible to everyone around the globe – whether they have hearing impairments or not – expanding our understanding and appreciation for this incredibly powerful form communication found within our society today.