American Sign Language (or ASL) is among the most commonly used languages in North America behind Spanish and English and is growing immensely in popularity with people outside of the deaf community, for good reason! Whether you know someone with severe hearing loss or not, knowing some basic sign language is an incredibly useful thing to have under your belt. There are countless free resources to learn some signs for basic conversation and plenty of good reasons to use them. This nonverbal language opens surprising doors that you might not have ever considered.
In an ever-bustling and noisy world, it’s a rare opportunity to enjoy the blissfulness of peace and quiet. Whether you’re in a library, at the movies, or spying on wildlife, imagine how helpful it would be to be able to say “Can you help me?” without verbalizing it. The same benefits of ASL come with noisy environments like a music concert or crowded restaurant. The useful applications are endless: your mouth is full of food, you don’t want to wake up the light sleeper, riding motorcycles, scuba diving, across the room communication, etc. People are so used to communication by speech and writing that they don’t often consider the alternative. With all of it’s flexibility and practical uses where verbal speech is limited, it’s no wonder that it has become one of the highest rates of student enrollments of any language in the US.
As it has been studied and proven time and time again, the brain-boosting effects of bilingualism are significant. Cognitive abilities are greater, attention span is improved, and there is less risk brain power deteriorating with age. Like other languages, ASL has its own set of grammar rules that differ from spoken English. However, these rules are much easier to learn than most languages. The only big difference is learning how to structure a sentence without filler words, like “is, to, a, and, the.”
To get started, check out these resources for learning some basic ASL:
This post was written by jsolow