10 Facts About American Sign Language You Need to Know

10 Facts About American Sign Language You Need to Know

American Sign Language (ASL) is a unique and expressive language that uses gestures, facial expressions, and body language to communicate. Whether you’re interested in learning ASL or simply want to learn more about this fascinating language, here are ten facts that you need to know.

1. ASL is not universal

Contrary to popular belief, sign languages are not universal. Each country and region has its own unique sign language, just as it has its own spoken language. ASL is the sign language used in North America, but it is not the same as British Sign Language, Australian Sign Language, or any other sign language used in other parts of the world.

2. Deaf culture and ASL are intertwined

ASL is not just a language, but it is also an essential part of Deaf culture. Deaf people often feel a strong sense of belonging and community when communicating in ASL, which is why it’s important to respect and foster the use of this language among the Deaf community.

3. ASL has its own grammar and syntax

ASL is not just a collection of gestures; it is a full-fledged language with its own grammar and syntax. ASL has its own word order, facial expressions, and non-manual markers that convey meaning just like spoken language.

4. Learning ASL can improve your communication skills

Learning ASL can improve your overall communication skills, even if you don’t plan on using sign language regularly. Learning a new language can help you become more aware of how language works, which can help you become more effective in your written and spoken communication.

5. Sign language interpreters are in high demand

The need for sign language interpreters is growing rapidly, and job prospects in this field are excellent. Sign language interpreters are needed in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and many other settings where Deaf people need to communicate with hearing individuals.

6. ASL can benefit all children

Research has shown that exposing children to sign language at an early age can have significant benefits, even if they don’t have a hearing impairment. Children who learn sign language often have better language skills and are more proficient in reading and writing.

7. ASL has a rich history

ASL has a fascinating history that dates back over 200 years. ASL has been influenced by French Sign Language and Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, which was used by a community of Deaf people on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in the 1800s.

8. Signing is not the same as mouthing

While mouthing words while using sign language can help hearing individuals understand what is being signed, it’s important to recognize that mouthing does not mean the same thing as signing. Mouthing is simply a way to help hearing individuals understand what is being said, but it is not a part of ASL.

9. The TTY was instrumental in the rise of ASL

The Teletype (TTY) was a crucial device in the development of ASL. TTYs allowed Deaf people to communicate with each other, even over long distances, which helped create a sense of community among Deaf individuals and fostered the use and development of ASL.

10. ASL is constantly evolving

Like any language, ASL is constantly evolving and changing. New signs are being created all the time, and the language is adapting to new technologies and changes in the world around us. It’s important to recognize that ASL is a living and dynamic language that will continue to change and evolve over time.


In conclusion, ASL is a unique and fascinating language that has a rich history and culture. Whether you’re interested in learning ASL for personal or professional reasons, there are many benefits to learning this language. By understanding these ten facts about ASL, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the language and the Deaf community, and be inspired to learn and use this beautiful language.

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