American Sign Language (ASL) is the visual language which is the keyway of communication of hearing-impaired people in America and parts of Canada. Some approximations show that that between 100,000 and 500,000 people use ASL. This includes local signers who have studied ASL as their first language from deaf parents, hearing children of deaf parents who also learned ASL as their indigenous language and articulate signers who have been taught ASL from deaf people.
The actual and representational significance of sign language remains at the root of Deaf people’s individuality. Since the launch of schools for deaf students in America, the application of sign language as the principal method of classroom interaction has facilitated students’ easy access to understanding. It suits the visual needs of individuals who cannot hear and for whom reading lips is awkward, if not impossible. Sign language’s educational connotations -the meaning of sign language-goes beyond the classroom. Deaf people, in the past and even today, consider it as the clearest feature of their society. They have come to describe themselves principally as a linguistic group. In many ways, sign language narrows the perceived and real differences between this group and mainstream society.
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