Deaf Sign Language

Written by Linda Alexander
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There are many, many resources on the web available to help you learn deaf sign language. If you thought deaf people had limited access to the world, you are in for a rude awakening. Between the many sign languages, technological advances, and Americans with Disabilities Act, deaf people today enjoy as high a quality of life as anybody who can hear.

Variations of Deaf Sign Language

First, deaf sign language is not one language. Just as there are hundreds of spoken languages throughout the world, there are many visual languages as well. The one most commonly used in the United States is American Sign Language (ASL), the fourth most common language in our country. It is its own natural language with different syntax, vocabulary, and grammar than American English.

Another deaf sign language system is the process of signing in English word order, called "Pigdin Sign English" (PSE) or "contact sign." This developed naturally out of the desire for both deaf and hearing people to better communicate with each other. Therefore, it incorporates features of both English and ASL. Finally, Signing Exact English (SEE) is a sign language system modeled after English. It uses the exact sentence structure, verb endings and idioms as American English. Basically, it's a visual form of English.

Whichever sign language or languages you choose to learn, you will be opening up a new world of communication for yourself and those around you. Visit the hundreds of resources on the web to gather more information. From there, you can learn through classes, books and videos, and by conversing with other deaf and hearing people to develop fluency.


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