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Frequently Asked Questions

Who invented ASL?

No person or committee invented ASL. The exact beginnings of ASL are not clear, but some suggest that it arose more than 200 years ago from the intermixing of local sign languages and French Sign Language (LSF, or Langue des Signes Française).

What research is being done on Sign Language?

Funded research includes studies to understand sign language’s grammar, acquisition, and development, and use of sign language when spoken language access is compromised by trauma or degenerative disease, or when speech is difficult to acquire due to early hearing loss or injury to the nervous system.

What is ASL (sign language)?

Sign languages are based on the idea that vision is the most useful tool a deaf person has to communicate and receive information. ASL is a language completely separate and distinct from English. It contains all the fundamental features of language—it has its own rules for pronunciation, word order, and complex grammar.

Is ASL the same in every country?

ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing, and is used by many hearing people as well. Is sign language the same in other countries? There is no universal sign language. Different sign languages are used in different countries or regions.

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