New ASL club invites students to learn sign language

If you want to learn a completely different style of language, join ASL Club!

Kavita Parasuraman, Staff Writer

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Learning a new language is always fun but not the easiest thing to do. You have to learn all the different conjugations, everyday words, and just how to easily converse with people. In the end, even though it is a time-consuming process, it’s satisfying to know multiple languages.

The thing with every language is that we literally speak it, but have you ever thought about learning a language in which all you use are your hands? Maybe you do when you’re trying to communicate a message to your friend across the room but that’s probably not a proper language, just a fun way to “speak” a secret language. However, there is a language used by 500,000 people in America and Canada through hand motions to get their point across. This language has more than 50,000 signs, and is known as American Sign Language or ASL.

SWMHS has a new club called the ASL Club, which is headed by Ms. Wilfong. They have had one official meeting thus far which had to do with signing Halloween items, like a costume, candy, and monsters. If you want to go over what they did in the last meeting just watch this video. This club will definitely be a great way to learn sign language since you are provided with the material to look over as the club members did in their club. Ms. Wilfong is also helpful since she is learning sign language. If you are interested, there is a meeting on November 15th, and it was decided to keep meetings every two weeks (on Thursdays.) Also, make sure to keep listening to the announcements for the club and look around for any fliers!

As the name suggests, American Sign Language is mostly used in America and Canada, but also Mexico and some areas of Africa and Asia. It appeared 200 years ago when local and the French Sign Language (LSF) intermixed creating a whole new system. This was made possible when Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet created the American School for the Deaf and taught this new language.

When it comes to ASL, not only are the hand movements important but also facial expressions. For example, when asking a question, the person can not just have a blank face but must raise their eyebrows to imply that it’s a question. It is the main mechanism of getting the point across for Deaf people, some of whom were born impaired and others that were affected later in life. Even though it is very important for the hearing-impaired to learn this language, anyone is welcome to learn it and could be very useful in the long-run.

One of the biggest advantages of learning sign language is that if you were to ever meet a Deaf person, at a gathering or even where you work, it can be helpful for both of you. This heartwarming video shows just how happy a Deaf person will be  able to easily converse with someone other than his/her parents or close family and friends. Just knowing this language can keep you prepared for a situation if you ever do meet someone that is Deaf.

In addition, it can be something different from what you usually learn, like conjugations in Spanish or French. In the end, it’s your decision of whether or not you want to learn ASL, but there is an opportunity in SWMHS which will make it easier for you to learn.

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