Saturday, August 16, 2008

American Sign Language Facts

• ASL can be traced at least to the late 1600s when a form of sign language was used by the deaf community on Martha's Vineyard.
• ASL moved closer to its current form in the early 1800s with the help of Protestant minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.
• By the late 1860's signing was outlawed in many schools for the deaf. Some offenders were even forced to wear mittens.
• It's the primary language for as many as 500,000 people
• ASL is the second most taught language on college campuses according to National Public Radio.
• ASL has a distinct vocabulary. One dictionary lists more than 7,000 entries.
More than 100 four-year universities accept it as a foreign language requirements
• More than 700 public high schools offered sign language classes in 2004 (456 more than in 2000)