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Subject: Sign

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual and gestural language. It has become the primary means of communication of deaf people in America and parts of Canada. Current estimates are that between 400,000 and 500,000 people use ASL. This includes native signers who have learned ASL as their first language from deaf parents, hearing children of deaf parents, and fluent signers who have learned ASL from deaf people. Much of ASL history remains poorly documented and because of this little is known about the structures that deaf people used prior to this time. In spite of this, there is historical reason to believe that over time deaf people have communicated with each other in a natural form of sign language. Some of the first founders of ASL failed to realize that the language already developed by deaf people was complete in its grammatical style and tried to teach a new version themselves that was used solely in the classroom. The mixture of these two forms has become what we now know as ASL.

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This document was last modified on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 11:51:30.