Why Learn American Sign Language?

American Sign Language has to be one of the most fascinating languages to learn. But, why learn it, especially if you don’t know anyone who is deaf? Many people have decided to learn American Sign Language for personal satisfaction, while others learn so they can communicate with a family member, friend, or a loved one that happens to be deaf. Some decide to learn American Sign Language as a preparatory measure in the event they encounter deaf people while working in their particular profession.

One of our very first subscribers to ASLdeafined was a young man who wrote us an e-mail, stating he wanted to learn sign language because he had fallen in love with a deaf girl and they had started dating. He said he needed to learn how to communicate with her. The reasons for learning how to sign are many, and as varied. Why do you want to learn ASL, and what will you do with the language once you acquire some skill with it? Some people have decided to make it a profession, either by becoming a teacher for the deaf, or to become an interpreter. As many of you may know, there is a huge shortage of qualified and certified interpreters in the United States.

Some people have joined established groups of friends who have an interest in learning ASL. Working with a group is often a great way to continue the motivation to learn. We receive e-mails fairly frequently from folks who are interested in forming groups at church, work, or for a variety of reasons.

For those who have already learned ASL, in what ways were you grateful for knowing this amazing language? For me, I have met some wonderful deaf people and have many friends because of this language that broke down the barrier to communication. There have even been times when I was able to communicate with a deaf person who was far away, but in the same general area. Signing to them made it easy to ask questions, or to simply have communication (and in deaf culture, that is not considered to be rude). As well, I’ve worked with many deaf people in the professional setting, too.

As an educator, I have been approached by many teachers who have inquired about their students learning sign language because of disabilities, or for a variety of other reasons. Some of those students may have been diagnosed with autism, or another type of learning disability. Personally, anyone can learn American Sign Language. However, it does take a bit of practice, and practicing with a friend makes it much easier to learn, and socializing with a member of the deaf community is even better. It really helps you to not only practice, but to refine your skills and knowledge with this wonderful new language.
American Sign Language is a great language to learn, and a tremendous skill to possess. Please share with us your stories that made you grateful for learning ASL. And, if you would like to know about a certain topic in American Sign Language, please let us know. We are here to share both your and our experiences and knowledge, as they pertain to advancing your communicating skills with ASL.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and “Thank You” for being a part of our wonderful class of learners.

6 thoughts on “Why Learn American Sign Language?

  1. I began learning ASL when I was just 6 years old. As soon as my parents received the news that my little brother would lose his hearing, they asked an interpreter to visit our house once a week to teach our whole family ASL.

    I am so grateful to know ASL! My brother and I are such close friends, I can’t even imagine NOT being able to communicate with him.

    My brother started dating a hearing woman a few years back and they fell in love almost instantly. She applied herself and learned ASL as quickly as possible! Within 3 months of her intense studying, they no longer needed to write any notes to each other, they were just able to communicate through sign language.

    When they decided to get married, they searched for a pastor who could sign. No luck. They asked me if I would be willing to get my ministerial license so I could perform the marriage ceremony. What an honor! My brother’s wife said, “He should not have his own wedding interpreted to him, he should be able to have the entire ceremony signed by the minister.” It was a beautiful day, and I am so grateful that I was able to help them create the perfect wedding.

  2. My first experience with American Sign Language is when I was 13. I didn’t know it, but I was working next to a guy who happened to be deaf. After I found out he couldn’t hear, I bought an ASL book instantly. However, it is hard to learn from a book and arrows. Thank you for this online resource / program. Great stuff!

  3. People ask me all the time, “Why are you learning Sign language?” I am a hearing woman with no deaf connections. My answer ‘ “Why not?” Since I was a kid, I loved sign language. Sesame Street taught the song ” Sing a Song” in ASL. I wanted to take a night class but they kept getting cancelled due to low enrollment. A local community college had a Deaf Studies program. I enrolled taking one class at a time. I am now in the last semester of my interpreting degree. Learning ASL and Deaf culture has been such an enrichment.

  4. Sarah and Megan,

    Thank you for sharing your stories. Mercy and I think it an amazing language, and have been involved in deafness for over 40 years combined. Please come back and visit our blog often. We try to send out a post every other day. All the best to the both of you. If we can help you in any way, please let us know.

  5. I just want to learn American Sign Language for fun… I love your program the best one online!!!!!

  6. I was loss hearing when I was 2 or 3 year old and So I cannot hear no one talk so my ear was so clear and quite… At later I was 5 through 13 I’m deaf I sign lots so the thing before I was 4 year old interpreter learn me to sign I was happy ya!!!!!

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