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How to Learn American Sign Language Quickly: Learn ASL 101

Do you know there are more than 500,000 people in the US and Canada learn American Sign Language? They can communicate without even uttering a word? How do they do it?

Deaf community specially learn American Sign Language quickly in early age. Besides, family members learn American Signs to communicate with their deaf or hard of hearing members. It has become quite natural in the United States to pursue career in Sign Language interpretation.

This blog is going to inform you the importance of American Sign Language. Also, I tried to summarize American Sign Language Alphabets in the most meaningful way possible.

What is American Sign Language?

The United States of America is home of hundreds of ethnicities and cultures. Though everyone is connected by English language, there are other widely spoken languages in the US e.g., Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Italian, etc.

It is to say that a deaf is immune to sound. So no matter how much you talk in a language, deaf will not hear it and also can’t say it. Therefore deaf were treated as mental sickness in Eighteen hundred century. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a Yale graduate and divinity student founded The American Asylum at Hartford, Connecticut in 1817. His first successful student was a young deaf girl, Alice Cogswell.

He taught Alice the signs related to Ancient French Sign Language about which he had a little idea. After the successful communication by signs, Gallaudet travelled Europe and learned the French Sign Language to develop American Signs. As a matter of fact, 58% of the ASL are similar to the old LFS.

ASL Language Learning

American Sign Language is not only for deaf. A deaf is a part of family and needs medium for communication. ASL abridges the gap in between. Here are some reasons why you should learn American Sign Language-

Connection and Communication

Learning American Sign Language at early age is very beneficial. ASL is a widely used language in the US and the fourth/fifth most studied language in American Universities. Most importantly, approximately 250,000 – 500,000 people use American Sign Language in the US and Canada.

Meanwhile, not every user is deaf. Instead, many of them learn ASL to communicate with deaf. In addition, American Sign Language helps to communicate-

  • Hearing children to deaf parents
  • Hearing siblings or close relatives to the deaf
  • Adults who are becoming deaf gradually due to age or any accidents
  • Interpreters who sign ASL in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary classrooms
  • Religious programs, conventions, lectures, motivational conference, community programs
  • Interpreters in news channels, international conferences, meetings, etc.
  • Instructors who want to teach deaf students

ASL allows you to communicate proficiently with hearing, hard of hearing, and deaf individuals. Additionally, mainstream students and deaf schools or universities use ASL to communicate with between them and hearing people. In other words, ASL improves the quality of family and inter community communication between hearing people and deaf or hard of hearing family members.

Cultural Attachment

We always have a soft corner to deaf society. American Sign Language is deeply connected to deaf and hard of hearing people. While you learn their language ( here ASL), you become a part of their society. You begin to understand their sensitive points and their struggle in society. The more you participate in their programs, the more they will appreciate you.

Career Opportunities

A sign interpreter has a wide range of opportunities to explore. For example you can work in-

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Courtrooms
  • Meeting rooms
  • Conference centers
  • Translation and interpretation companies
  • Individual organizations
  • Private clients
  • Work remotely
  • As self-employed interpreters and translators frequently
  • Translators as full-time regular business hours

Don’t you worry about salary. Sign Interpreters get more than $50k per year according to the US government labor statistics.

Enroll in this course and learn American Sign Language Online.

Learn American Sign Language Quickly
Source: bls.gov

How To Learn American Sign Language Quickly

Learning American Sign Language quickly needs two things in particular. Firstly, you need to learn signs of the alphabets. Secondly, finger spelling is necessary. Let me give some tips regarding these two sections.

Learn American Sign

For Instance, ASL alphabets maintain similarity with the English letters. As a result, they are quite easy to grasp if you speak English. So check the letters below and try yourself-

Thumb Rule: NEVER USE TWO HANDS TO LEARN ASL. USE EACH HAND SEPARATELY TO LEARN.

Learn American Sign Language quickly

A

  • Fold your 4 fingers but do not break the second joint.
  • Keep your thumb straight but attached to other fingers.

B

  • Keep your 4 fingers straight but attached to each other.
  • Band your thumb a bit and keep it in front of the palm.

C

  • Band your 4 fingers like an arc but don’t touch your palm.
  • Band your thumb a bit but keep it face to face with other 4 fingers.
  • Show this sign in side wise direction.
Learn American sign language quickly

D

  • Band your 4 fingers like an arc but touch your thumb with middle finger.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index finger upward.

E

  • Band all of your fingers but don’t let it go down to your palm.
  • Meanwhile, touch your index finger with thumb.

F

  • Touch Your thumb to index finger.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your other three fingers upward.
ASL alphabets G-H-I

G

  • Face your hand side wise but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your thumb and index finger separately.

H

  • Face your hand side wise but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your index finger and middle finger jointly.

I

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your pinky and thumb attached to other fingers.
ASL alphabets J-K-L

J

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your pinky and quarter circle your wrist from outside to inside.

K

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your index finger upward and put your thumb 90 degree to your index finger.

L

  • Fold your pinky and ring finger.
  • Meanwhile, Straighten your middle finger in folding direction and index finger in upward direction.
ASL alphabets M-N-O

M

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, hide your thumb by your next three fingers so that they look a bit higher than folded pinky.

N

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, hide your thumb by your next two fingers so that they look a bit higher than folded ring finger and pinky.

O

  • Face your palm to the front but make a semi arc with your 4 fingers.
  • Meanwhile, connect your thumb to your index and middle finger.
ASL alphabets P-Q-R

P

  • Face your palm downward but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index finger and make the middle finger perpendicular to the index finger.
  • In other words, just spell ‘K’ and make the wrist downward.

Q

  • Face your palm downward but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index finger and thumb separately.
  • In other words, just spell ‘G’ and make the wrist downward.

R

  • Face your palm to the front but do not unfold your fingers.
  • Meanwhile, make a spiral of your index finger and thumb upward.
ASL alphabets S-T-U

S

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.

T

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, raise your thumb through the index and middle finger.

U

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index and middle finger jointly.
ASL alphabets V-W-X

V

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index and middle finger separately.

W

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index, middle, and ring finger separately.

X

  • Face your palm side wise and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, make a hook with your index finger.
ASL alphabet Y-Z

Y

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your thumb and pinky.

Z

  • Face your palm to the front and make a fist.
  • Meanwhile, straighten your index finger.
  • Incline your wrist to right side if you are signing in right hand and do the same for left hand.

Learn American Sign Finger Spelling

After learning each of the sign alphabets, it is your time to grasp the hold of finger spelling. Maintain the following points-

Learn Basic Words:

At first, learn some basic words in sign language. It is more like wetting your feet. Words make your brain start to think more. You know more words that a child. So when you will be able to learn a few words, you brain can process more words automatically.

Take Time to Learn:

Learning a language is a long process. Spelling words can be tough sometime. Because you are learning a new language, take it slowly. When you attempt to finger spell a word, sign each words slowly and carefully.

Mistake Is Fine:

Give yourself a break. Above all, nobody is hundred percent accurate. That is to say, making mistakes are normal. Don’t get frustrated. Instead try again and correct your errors.

Acronyms and Same Letter:

Sign Users do not use acronyms like our conventional way. Instead they round every alphabet after spelling. This shows that every sign means something. For example: NASA, EU, USA, UK, G8, etc.

At the beginning, Spelling same letter twice can be difficult. French rooted sign languages use a common system. Bounce the first letter then spell the second one.

You will get a better understanding if you pursue a course. Enroll in this enriched American Sign Language (ASL) Course to learn practically.

Closing Note

Learning American Sign Depends on two things: Sign language alphabets and finger spelling. Sign language is not only for deaf community but also for hearing people. There are numerous families in the US and Canada where deaf members communicate through ASL language learning.

If you learn American Sign Language, you can get enough opportunities over a large population to work with. This in term beneficial for your career as they earn $50k+ per annum. So why would you wait for classes? Learn American Sign Language Online!

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