The study of American Sign Language (ASL) involves learning the visual-gestural language used by the Deaf community in the United States and parts of Canada. ASL is a complete and complex language with its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Studying ASL encompasses not only learning the signs and structure but also understanding the culture, history, and experiences of the Deaf community.
What does the study of American Sign Language/ASL consist of?
ASL study consists of learning the language's vocabulary, syntax, and grammar, as well as developing expressive and receptive skills. It also covers topics such as Deaf culture, Deaf history, linguistics, and interpreting. Students may also explore sociolinguistic aspects, including regional variations and the impact of ASL on education and social policy.
What are the benefits of studying American Sign Language/ASL in the U.S.?
There are several benefits of studying ASL in the U.S., including:
- Enhancing communication skills and cultural awareness.
- Fostering empathy and understanding of the Deaf community.
- Broadening career opportunities, particularly in fields like education, healthcare, social work, and interpreting.
- Meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population, as ASL is the third most commonly used language in the U.S.
What colleges and universities in the U.S. have strong American Sign Language/ASL programs?
Many colleges and universities in the U.S. offer strong ASL programs. Some of them include:
- Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.)
- Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)/National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) (Rochester, New York)
- California State University, Northridge (CSUN) (Northridge, California)
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
- Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts)
What community colleges have strong American Sign Language/ASL programs?
Numerous community colleges across the U.S. offer strong ASL programs. Some of them are:
- Austin Community College (Austin, Texas)
- Ohlone College (Fremont, California)
- Palomar College (San Marcos, California)
- Front Range Community College (Westminster, Colorado)
- Pikes Peak Community College (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
What kind of career opportunities will I have after studying American Sign Language/ASL in the U.S.?
There are various career opportunities available for individuals who study ASL in the U.S., such as:
- ASL interpreter or translator (community, educational, or medical settings)
- Deaf education teacher
- Speech-language pathologist or audiologist
- Deaf services coordinator or advocate
- Community outreach specialist
- Researcher or professor in ASL, Deaf studies, or linguistics
- Counselor or social worker specializing in services for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing populations