2 It is used in the United States and Canada. What is ASL?ASL is a unique visual language with its own grammar and structure used by the majority of Deaf Americans.It is used in the United States and Canada.
3 Important Things to Know It is very important to maintain eye contact. It is considered rude in Deaf culture if you do not.Sign space is the area in which most ASL signs are made: head and torso areaSign with the hand most comfortable to you (your dominant hand). Avoid switching between both hands.
4 More Things to Know: EXPRESSIONS Facial expressions and non-manual signals (NMS) are an essential part of ASL grammar- they convey emotion, your tone of voice, and can vary the meaning of a sign.Examples: The Question-Maker Facial expression, the WHQ Facial Expression, the head nod, and head shakeTry to sign clearly- if you are sloppy in your signing, this may affect the meaningEx- DRY UGLY SUMMER
5 Move away from your body slightly as you sign FingerspellingFingerspelling is used for names of people, places, and specific pronouns. Do not fingerspell in place of a sign you do not know.Taps vs slidesMove away from your body slightly as you sign
6 DeixisThis refers to pointing to a person, place, or thing to refer to it.This is not considered rude in Deaf culture.If the person, place, or thing is not visible you can still point to an empty space to refer to it.Examples: I/me, you, he/she/it, We/us, You (plural), and They
7 IntroductionsWhen you meet a Deaf person for the first time you should:Fingerspell your first and last nameExplain you are hearing, taking ASL, and whyDon’t use your voice (only about 30% of the English language can be lipread)If two Deaf people meet for the first time, they will tend to discuss topics such as where they attended school and people they may know in common.
8 Learning ASL Most Deaf people (90%) have hearing families. Deaf children born in Deaf families will learn signed language at home, but deaf children with hearing families tend to learn signed language at residential schools for the deaf.The best way for you to learn ASL is to use it as much as possible and try to interact with the “Deaf World”.