Why Study American Sign Language?

Personal benefits:

  • Learning other languages promotes mental flexibility.
  • It promotes cross-cultural understanding.
  • Studying American Sign Language opens possibilities for meeting Deaf people at work or in the community.
  • Learning about other cultures will help you expand your personal horizons.
  • Learning about other languages and cultures can contribute to your community and country.

Educational benefits: 

Studying American Sign Language helps one to gain a new perspective on how human languages are structured. American Sign Language uses a different modality of expression compared to spoken languages but research shows that signed and spoken languages are governed by the same basic properties.

  • Studying American Sign Language will improve your understanding of English and will facilitate the learning of other languages as well.
  • You will gain a rich cultural heritage of the Deaf community, which includes a distinguished tradition of visual poetry, storytelling, theatre, jokes, folklore and other forms of cultural expressions. You will also learn about different aspects of the Deaf community such as their values, beliefs, social, educational and political aspects. These aspects will help improve your understanding of other cultures as well.
  • American Sign Language is the fastest-growing language offered at colleges nationwide. It has gained popularity and is now being taught for foreign language credit in American schools and colleges across the country.
  • Careers in deaf-related fields have expanded nationwide, sign language interpreting, sign language instructors, counselors, government specialist, audiologists, speech pathologists, program administrators, community service personnel and many other vocations.
  • Increased acceptance of having deaf people as employees and co-workers encourages programs such as education, social work, criminal justice, business, art and others to promote the study of American Sign Language.
  • You can gain access to Deaf art, science, music, literature and film.

Career opportunities:

  • Knowing American Sign Language opens opportunities for interesting jobs and promotions in professions such as nurses, doctors, police officers, business, law, teaching, technology, government, social service and so forth.
  • American Sign Language is estimated to be the fourth most commonly used language in the U.S.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) is the language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. It is the central vehicle for communication among Deaf people, and is therefore also a binding force in their culture.

American Sign Language professional interpreters, educators of the Deaf, teachers of ASL are in high demand.

Websites on learning American Sign Language as a world language: