As the world grows more diverse and strives to become a more accepting environment overall, the ability to communicate with every person, no matter their way of communication, becomes increasingly significant as well. This does not mean just language and words one forms with his or her mouth, but with one’s hands as well: Sign Language. The National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders defines American Sign Language as a “complete and complex language that employs signs made by moving hands and combining facial expressions and postures of the body” to communicate thoughts and ideas (“5 Ways”). Learning this language can help connect those who feel separated by being deaf to the rest of society. The use of physical signs and facial expressions is shared between every human on earth; to not utilize this form of physical communication would isolate hard-of-hearing people, even though all people could learn Sign Language. Sign Language is valuable to learn as it can equate all those in communicating society and diminish the barrier between hearing and hard-of-hearing humanity.

Sign Language helps build communication and bridge the gap between those who can hear and those who are hard-of-hearing, but it has other benefits as well, including “strengthening one’s mental capacities” and “improving expressive communication” and interpretation of body language (“5 Ways”). Though not spoken, American Sign Language is a language, and becoming bilingual enriches cognitive processes. The “higher abstract” and “creative thinking” that comes with sign language increases one’s ability to problem-solve and listen efficiently, overall creating more brain flexibility (“Top Benefits”). The ability Sign Language has in altering one’s brain functions to think differently makes him or her a more educated individual, and can translate to different ways of life. With any non-native language, a person must put thought into the words he or she wishes to express as there may be changes between a native language and a second language. It is not different for sign language, and one may argue the gap between the languages is even greater with Sign Language as communication happens almost entirely through the hands instead of the mouth. Sign language pulls on the mental and physical sides of one’s body, the thought of what to say, and the physical forming of the words with the hands, forcing one who uses the language to engage more aspects of the brain and become more educated. 

Sign Language is becoming increasingly beneficial to learn and know as it closes the communication barrier between individuals, all while creating more educated and communicative people. This speech medium allows one to communicate with those who are hard-of-hearing and enriches the brain’s cognitive functions. The language is a valuable tool in day to day life since one may encounter a person that cannot hear. Knowing sign language will still allow those two persons to communicate and exchange ideas, an exchange that may not have been able to happen without the power of sign language. The world should desire to learn sign language to not only become a more inclusive society but to also grow one’s cognitive abilities. Sign Language is powerful; to become a mentally stronger individual, one should employ the practice of this language.

Works Cited

“5 Ways Sign Language Helps Communication.” Family Audiology, 17 July 2018, familyaudiologyonline.com/5-ways-sign-language-helps-communication/. 

“Top Benefits for Learning Sign Language.” Handspeak, www.handspeak.com/learn/index.php?id=11.

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  1. Sarah 3 weeks ago

    Dear Anna,
    I am excited about your post because the use of sign language is a clear example of one of the many ways in which language can be expressed through human beings. The power of language can go beyond a pen and paper or the tongue.

    One thing you said that stands out for me is “Sign language pulls on the mental and physical sides of one’s body, the thought of what to say, and the physical forming of the words with the hands.” I think this is interesting because it is a clear example of how language can be communicated in more than one way. It is evident, therefore, that sign language requires an intense level of multi-tasking, and it reminds me of playing an instrument, as you have to not only read the sheet music, but also physically use the instrument to create sound. Although I do not play an instrument, as a viewer, I can clearly notice that music composers are very concentrated and focused.

    Your post reminds me of the discussion we are having in Spanish class, as we are examining how your language unites you with people in the world. Although there are thousands of languages, and it seems as though they seem to only form barriers among people, the mere fact that we are even able to communicate with people with letters and words is astounding. I believe that the use of sign language will continue to increase in the world. Already, the creation of sign language has bridged a gap between those hard of hearing and those who are not. For this reason, language is truly powerful and unifying.

    Thanks for your post. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you advocate for minority groups. We tend to think of only the most commonly-spoken languages in the world, but I appreciate that you took the time to highlight and bring awareness to the importance of and benefits of learning sign language. I only know how to spell my name in sign language, but because of your post, I am reminded of its importance. I will try to learn more of this crucial language.

    Sarah

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