Communication is usually taken for granted. Some people do not give it a second thought, it is simply a daily part of their life. For the deaf or hard of hearing, however, there are obstacles that make it difficult. Thankfully, with sign language, those who might not be able to speak can still converse with others easily.
Did you know:
● There are different types of sign language. Each country has their own form of sign language, and they are completely different from one another. There are different dialects of sign language, as well. Sign language even has its own slang!
● Sign language also has its own grammatical form. American Sign Language (ASL) is similar to English where sentences are in subject-verb-object order. Facial expressions are extremely important in asking questions; for example, when asking a question related to who, what, when, where, or why, the eyebrows are kept down. If it is a yes/no question, the eyebrows are kept up. Along with this, each sign has several different meanings, using context to enhance understanding.
● Sign language is used not just by deaf or hard of hearing people. Knowing sign language can be convenient in a noisy restaurant, in a quiet movie theater, or speaking across different sides of a room, among other situations. Sign language can even be helpful in places where you don’t want people listening in.
● Research has reported that babies can communicate using sign language 6-8 months earlier than speaking verbally.
● Over 500,000 people in the United States communicate using sign language, and the number is continually growing. Knowing other languages has been shown to improve cognitive skills. Being bilingual can also be helpful in job opportunities. In fact, ASL is considered a foreign language!
Interested in learning sign language?
Idaho State University’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training will be offering two sign language courses this fall for beginners and intermediate students.
Starting October 18, Sign Language for Beginners will focus on the basics of gestures and grammar.
Starting December 3, Intermediate Sign Language will focus on more advanced aspects of sign language.
For more information on how to sign up, please visit cetrain.isu.edu or call (208) 282-3372 to register.