Discussion on sign language

In class a week or two ago, we were discussing sign language as a second language for hearing people.  There was some conflicting opinons as to whether sign language should be considered as such.  I feel that it should be considered a second language for hearing people since it is a first language for deaf people.  Language is what we use to communicate thoughts, feelings, & information to others around us.  Having lived in a foreign country for 3 three years, I realize how hard it is to be understood if you don’t speak the same language.  Sign language is a form of communicating with those that otherwise could not understand you.

The Center for Applied Linguistics apparently agrees with me.  “ASL is a fully developed language, one of hundreds of naturally occurring signed languages of the world, with a complex grammatical structure (see, e.g., Klima & Bellugi, 1979; Valli & Lucas, 1993).  Although the precise number of ASL (American Sign Language) users is difficult to determine, ASL is the predominant language — in other words, the language used most frequently for face-to-face communication, learned either as a first or second language of an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 Americans (Padden, 1987), including Deaf native signers, hearing children of Deaf parents, and adult Deaf signers who have learned ASL from other Deaf individuals.” http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/ASL.html

I know that for my daughter-in-law, being married previously to a deaf person, her ability to learn sign language allowed to communicate with him.  By teaching her son to sign too, gives him the chance to talk with & be understood by his father.  Isn’t that what language is?

Deanna Cote’


~ by dscote on November 15, 2009.

One Response to “Discussion on sign language”

  1. When searching for the definition of language on google, I found it defined as “a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols”. Looking at this definition, I agree with you. Sign language is definitely a language, in that it is communicating through symbols. Good post!

    Ryan Van Wagenen

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