person's left hand

Language is used as a way to communicate one’s thoughts and feelings to others in order to achieve an understanding of a problem or situation. There are many different languages, but they are all used for the same purpose which is, “that language enables us to express our wishes, feelings, likes, dislikes and ideas” (Evans). One language in particular, sign language, is a more unusual, but crucial, way of communicating. This language, used for the hearing impaired, uses hand motions and symbols to convey the point a person is trying to make. American Sign Language, or ASL, “is a language completely separate and distinct from English. It contains all the fundamental features of language, with its own rules for pronunciation, word formation, and word order” (American Sign Language). Though ASL uses English words, the way the words are put together to create a sentence is different from the way English speakers form sentences. It has become more difficult for the hearing impaired to read one’s lips to communicate, with the recent use of masks, so ASL has grown in use. When speaking to someone, language, “involves a process of transmission by the speaker, and decoding and interpretation by the hearer” (Evans). Because of this it is also difficult for those who use sign language to use drive throughs. Some companies, such as Starbucks, have put cameras by the speaker when ordering and have certified their workers who are able to understand sign language, for the convenience of the hard of hearing customers.  Overall, the development and recognition of sign language over the past few years has had a positive impact on the communication of those who are hearing impaired. 

“American Sign Language.” National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication

 Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5 Nov. 2020, 

www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/american-sign-language.

Evans, Vyvyan. “What Do We Use Language For?” Psychology Today, Sussex 

Publishers, 14 Dec. 2014, 

www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/language-in-the-mind/201412/what-do-we

-use-language.

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2 Comments
  1. Ashley 2 days ago

    Dear Julia:
    I am intrigued by your post, “The Development of Sign Language,” because it gives me an insight into how sign language was developed and how it has helped those to communicate who are deaf or are hard of hearing. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “ Overall, the development and recognition of sign language over the past few years has had a positive impact on the communication of those who are hearing impaired. ” I think this is relative because it shows how much of an improvement that today’s world is doing with the understanding and the development of sign language.
    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because it brings great attention to things that most people wouldn’t deem important.
    Ashley

  2. Maia 2 weeks ago

    Hi Julia!

    I was interested in your post because I am fascinated by the influence of language and how it contributes to the connections we form with other people. I like how you focused your discussion on one specific language, especially a language that is unique due to the fact that it is not verbal. You did a good job of defining what ASL is, explaining how it is used, and the ways in which current events have affected the effectiveness of the language, such as mask mandates. I like how you discussed how big-name companies are accommodating to the needs of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. I saw the example you mentioned of Starbucks putting cameras by the speaker where you order on Tik Tok and thought it was a good idea on their part. I’ve seen a prevalence of the importance of sign language on Tik Tok and other forms of social media with creators including closed captions on their content and even some using ASL in addition to that. Thank you for your post, and I look forward to seeing what you write next!

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