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American Sign Language: Who Uses It and Why

Language is often thought of as verbal communication between two individuals that uses the same syntax, word structure, and overall approach to auditory sounds and patterns. This emphasis on the verbal, however, does not tell the whole story of what language is and what it can be. Language can also involve the use of movements of the body and facial expressions in order to communicate. The motor driven language is known as sign language and can be a great resource in communication. Sign language is not universal and each region can offer its own style to these motorized movements. The most popular sign language that is utilized in the United States, and the one expounded upon here, is American Sign Language or ASL. So just who utilizes and who could benefit from learning ASL? The following explains more. 

Hearing Impaired

There are many individuals who use sign language in their daily lives because of necessity and an inability to speak verbally. These individuals include mainly the hearing impaired or deaf who have no other means of communication with the outside world. There are schools dedicated to teaching individuals with these communication problems sign language and providing instruction to their families as well. This is the most popular reason why this language is learned but it is not the only reason.


As a result of the number of people using Sign Language as their main form of communication, it has become a common choice for translators and interpreters to study it. Hence, American Sign Language is learned because of the need for interpreters to serve as a link between those who can speak verbally and those who cannot. Just as within the service industry, there are professions that require translators who can speak to and serve as the link between two individuals who may not have the same abilities in language. This is another area of employment and of life that utilizes sign language and can benefit greatly from its understanding.


Another reason and sector of the population that utilizes sign language are those in the service industry. The service industry relies on communication between individuals from all walks of life. This means that communication can be greatly increased by knowing multiple different languages and having the ability to interact with all types of individuals. Sign language is one of the means of communication that employers do and should encourage because it opens up an area and knowledge that had not previously been known. The service industry is another reason, then, that sign language is learned.


American Sign Language can also be used in a classroom setting as well. Teachers and instructors that work with the deaf must learn the skills necessary before they begin teaching students with hearing disabilities. There are also those in education who learn American Sign Language to ensure that they are able to communicate with students from all walks of life and all ability levels. For this reason, many in education will learn sign language as a means of providing access and instruction to their students, whether they are in a solely deaf classroom or not.

Whatever your reason may be, Sign Language is a great language to learn and a very practical one. Go ahead and learn the basics of it.


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