American Sign Language is Complex but Beautiful

by Athena

For years hearing people or non native signers believed that sign language was not a real language. They believed it was either pantomime on the hands and in the air, or that it was English on the hands. English words with English word order.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Without getting too nerdy, a guy named William Stokoe made some pretty important linguistic discoveries about sign language.

It has its own structure and functions, and all the required language categories as set out in Noam Chomsky's linguistic theories.

None of that is really going to matter to you in this day and age. While there are still a lot of ignorant detractors, the fact remains that there is tons of research and many educators that solidify this as a language to learn.

If you want to learn American sign language as a language itself, the fact is that its a very complex language and takes an open mind. You are going to have to do your best to put aside what English and the desperate dependence we have on word type vocabulary and word order. If you can do that and accept ASL for the structure and components you have, you will be able to learn to sign beautifully and effectively. If not, you will be really just using a simplified for of English on the hands. One of the things I like about it, is not only its indepth beauty and the fact that it utilizes and strengthens different parts of your brain, but it is exceptionally helpful in noisy situations, big crowds, places where you have to be quiet, or situations where you can't reach each other. (like from car to car when following each other.)

I've found it to be quite invaluable and opened myself up to a whole culture and group of people that I would otherwise never really be able to see fully.

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