American Sign Languagewikipedia
American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of Anglophone Canada.
ASLsign languageAmerican Sign Language (ASL)American Sign Languagesignedsigninga.s.l.sign-languagedeafAmerican Sign Language Interpreting

Deaf culture

deaf communitydeafdeaf culture
American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of Anglophone Canada.
As educator and American Sign Language interpreter Anna Mindess writes, "it is not the extent of hearing loss that defines a member of the deaf community but the individual's own sense of identity and resultant actions."

Sign language

sign languagedeaf sign languagesign languages
American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and most of Anglophone Canada.
For example, the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand all have English as their dominant language, but American Sign Language (ASL), used in the US and English-speaking Canada, is derived from French Sign Language whereas the other three countries sign dialects of British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language.

Fingerspelling

fingerspellingmanual alphabetfinger spelling
English loan words are often borrowed through fingerspelling, although ASL grammar is unrelated to that of English.
Fingerspelling can be one-handed such as in American Sign Language, French Sign Language and Irish Sign Language, or it can be two-handed such as in British Sign Language.

Gallaudet University

GallaudetGallaudet CollegeGallaudet University
Recognition of the legitimacy of ASL was achieved by William Stokoe, a linguist who arrived at Gallaudet University in 1955 when this was still the dominant assumption.
Gallaudet University is officially bilingual, with American Sign Language (ASL) and English used for instruction and by the college community.

Auslan

Australasian Signed Englishsign languageasf
Although the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia share English as a common oral and written language, ASL is not mutually intelligible with British Sign Language (BSL) or Auslan.
Auslan has also been influenced by Irish Sign Language (ISL) and more recently has borrowed signs from American Sign Language (ASL).

Varieties of American Sign Language

Costa Rican SignFrancophone African SignSelangor Sign
These languages, imported by boarding schools, are often considered by associations to be the official sign languages of their countries, and are named accordingly, e.g. Nigerian Sign Language, Ghanaian Sign Language.
American Sign Language (ASL) developed in the United States and Canada, but has spread around the world.

British Sign Language

BSLsign languagebfi
Although the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia share English as a common oral and written language, ASL is not mutually intelligible with British Sign Language (BSL) or Auslan.
As a consequence American Sign Language today has a 60% similarity to modern French Sign Language and is almost unintelligible to users of British Sign Language.

Black American Sign Language

The variation between sign produced by black and white signers is sometimes referred to as Black American Sign Language.
Black American Sign Language (BASL) or Black Sign Variation (BSV) is a dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) used most commonly by deaf African Americans in the United States.

Manually coded language

manually codedmanually coded languagesigned form
Additionally, Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet may have used an artificially constructed form of manually coded language in instruction rather than true LSF.
The result is a kind of "Pidgin Sign English" which lacks the grammatical complexity of both English and American Sign Language.

Grammatical aspect

aspectgrammatical aspectaspectual
ASL has verbal agreement and aspectual marking and has a productive system of forming agglutinative classifiers.
Prominent in this category are Chinese and American Sign Language, which both differentiate many aspects but rely exclusively on optional time-indicating terms to pinpoint an action with respect to time.

Henniker, New Hampshire

HennikerConcordHenniker, NH,
In the 19th century, a "triangle" of village sign languages developed in New England: one in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; one in Henniker, New Hampshire, and one in Sandy River Valley, Maine.
In the 19th century Henniker had a high rate of congenital deafness, and its own sign language, which may have played a significant role in the emergence of American Sign Language.

French Sign Language

LSFFrenchLangue des signes françaises'' (LSF)
ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF).
French Sign Language is related and partially ancestral to Dutch Sign Language (NGT), German Sign Language (DGS), Flemish Sign Language (VGT), Belgian-French Sign Language (LSFB), Irish Sign Language (ISL), American Sign Language (ASL), Quebec (also known as French Canadian) Sign Language (LSQ), and Russian Sign Language (RSL).

Si5s

si5s
Several additional candidates for written ASL have appeared over the years, including SignFont, ASL-phabet, and Si5s.
si5s is a writing system for American Sign Language that resembles a handwritten form of SignWriting.

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's VineyardMartha's Vineyard, MassachusettsMartha’s Vineyard
In the 19th century, a "triangle" of village sign languages developed in New England: one in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; one in Henniker, New Hampshire, and one in Sandy River Valley, Maine.
The sign language used by Vineyarders is called Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL), and it is different from American Sign Language (ASL).

Malaysian Sign Language

xmlMalaysian Sign
For example, Malaysian Sign Language, which has ASL origins, is no longer mutually comprehensible with ASL and must be considered its own language.
It is based on American Sign Language (ASL), but the two are considered different languages.

Stokoe notation

Stokoe's terminology and notation systemAv
In the 1960s, linguist William Stokoe created Stokoe notation specifically for ASL.
It was created by William Stokoe for American Sign Language (ASL), with Latin letters and numerals used for the shapes they have in fingerspelling, and iconic glyphs to transcribe the position, movement, and orientation of the hands.

Tactile signing

tactile signingtactuallytactile sign
Tactile ASL (TASL) is a variety of ASL used throughout the United States by and with the deaf-blind.
It does not indicate whether the signer is using a tactile form of a natural language e.g. American Sign Language (ASL) a modified form of such a visual sign language, a modified form of a manual code for English Manually Coded English or something else.

Old French Sign Language

Old LSF
This school brought together Old French Sign Language, various village sign languages, and home sign systems; ASL was created in this situation of language contact.
As deaf schools inspired by Épée's model sprung up around the world, the language was to influence the development of many other sign languages, including American Sign Language.

Iconicity

iconicityiconiciconically
ASL is not a form of pantomime, but iconicity does play a larger role in ASL than in spoken languages.
In American Sign language (ASL) a grammatical marker denoting “intensity” is characterized by a movement pattern with two parts: an initial pause, followed by a quick completion.

American Sign Language grammar

sign spaceSyntax in ASLAmericanClassifiers
The grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s.

William Stokoe

William StokoeStokoeWilliam C. Stokoe, Jr.
Recognition of the legitimacy of ASL was achieved by William Stokoe, a linguist who arrived at Gallaudet University in 1955 when this was still the dominant assumption.
Stokoe researched American Sign Language (ASL) extensively while he worked at Gallaudet University.

National Association of the Deaf (United States)

National Association of the DeafNational Association for the Deaf
Societies such as the National Association of the Deaf and the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf held national conventions that attracted signers from across the country.
The NAD fights for the right of deaf individuals to be able to use American Sign Language and to be provided an interpreter.

Home sign

home signhomesignhome-sign
This school brought together Old French Sign Language, various village sign languages, and home sign systems; ASL was created in this situation of language contact.
Home sign also played a part in the formation of American Sign Language, which is a blend of home sign, Old French Sign Language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language and Plains Indian Sign Language.

ASL interpreting

Sign Language interpreters
American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that uses signs, facial expressions, and body postures to communicate ideas.

Classifier (linguistics)

classifierclassifiersnoun classifier
ASL has verbal agreement and aspectual marking and has a productive system of forming agglutinative classifiers.
In American Sign Language classifier constructions are used to express position, stative description (size and shape), and how objects are handled manually.