Languages Magazine

Facts Concerning American Sign Language as a Foreign Language

By Tlb
The American manual alphabet in photographs

Image via Wikipedia

Sign language is as important as the typical language that we used to know. We don’t want to argue with that. Since we have respective people in this world who are not capable of verbally speaking out languages, we who are capable then must learn the language that they are learning. It makes no difference actually when a person learns the sign language to a person who learns a foreign language, because today, American Sign Language is now considered a foreign language already.

There was actually a sort of debate in implementing ASL learning as a foreign language course. Posted by Philip Ramati, a teacher named Merle Plain pursues the school board to adopt ASL as a foreign language to be taught in their high schools. Plain is currently a teacher for the deaf in the Bibb County school system, and she understands the importance of letting the teenagers know how to communicate to special people effectively.

The importance of ASL has really come to a certain state to which it has to be learned compulsorily. In fact, Plain even said that ASL is the third-most used language in America, a number behind English and Spanish. “It’s fast overtaking German as the third-most taught language in high schools and universities.”

Written by the Center for Applied Linguistics, “a number of states have passed legislation recognizing American Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language and permitting high schools and universities to accept it in fulfillment of foreign language requirements for hearing as well as deaf students.” In fact, since July of 1997, 28 states in the US had already passed the legislation. Certain colleges and universities even accept ASL as a foreign language for academic or elective credit.

See how important American Sign Language is? As far as communication is concerned, ASL will always be considered a foreign language due to its weight of significance for the people who cannot have the opportunity to articulate English—or any other languages we have known.

So let’s just bridge the language barrier that we and the Deaf are separating. Truly indeed, ASL is worthy of study as a foreign language.

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