ASL Day is recognized every year on April 15th, because this is when the first Deaf School in America was opened. In honor of ASL day, we’re sharing five fun facts about American Sign Language!
1. Though ASL has been used since the early 1800s, it was finally recognized as an independent language in the early 1960s!
2. ASL has its own grammar and syntax! Perhaps Yoda has really been speaking in ASL gloss?!
3. American Sign Language is not universal! There are over 300 signed languages which can be seen all over the world. (See a list here.)
4. ASL has polysemy (the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase), just like most other languages! To make it even more confusing, many signs look similar but differ only by their handshape, orientation, location, or movement!
5. A large portion of the signer’s meaning is conveyed by the grammar on their face!
We hope that you, like this family, take time to think about what ASL means to you!
How are you celebrating ASL day this year?