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Influence of ASL on Deaf Culture

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Deaf people, for many years, have grouped themselves together and have formed a deaf culture. It means having a sense of community and pride in a group where deaf people can feel like they have similar things with others in their cluster. Many deaf people outside their deaf culture often feel left out by the hearing population. There is an integral part played by the American Sign Language (ASL) in the framework of grasping the culture of the people who implement it while communicating. Internationally deaf people have developed distinct forms of sign language; ASL far from being a primary visual translation of English is, in fact, a language by right (Nation,53).This paper will discuss the impact that ASL usage has had within the Deaf culture.

Excluding the collective impacts associated to second language learning ASL, has given insight and enabled understanding of the Deaf culture as well as providing more communication opportunities with those who are deaf. Learning the ASL nurtures sensitivity and awareness to linguistic and cultural diversity in addition to preserving of the deaf cultural identity. It also influences cultural fulfillment as well as being the best mode of developing among the population that are deaf and those who can hear. In addition, it also offers the chance to recognize questions and challenge one’s cultural values, assumptions and views to add positively to the community (Senghas and Leila, 76).

Research has shown that signing in ASL if taught while young allows a child to learn and communicate in two languages in more than one way with their age mates and teachers. In addition, the use of signing in class reduces acts of violence. In that there are fewer cases of screaming, biting, hitting since the children are less frustrated since they can communicate. ASL still influences the deaf community by allowing people who speak different languages to use signing as a medium to communicate making things a lot easier.

Special needs children are also observed to be affected by ASL since it makes it easier to talk with their caregivers and others. Children affected by autism, Down syndrome, aphasia as well as other language and impairment delays have used the ASL model to communicate with each other. An article on the influence of learning ASL shows that children who have mastered the ASL language at a young age have averagely higher IQ points of 8 – 13.As compared to their counterparts who never learned it (Goss, 32).


           As shown by the paper ASL, use has many impacts to the deaf community and culture especially if taught from an early age. It not only helps the children communicate at an early age it assists children with special needs to express themselves. In addition, it is shown to be a connector between languages whereby different people from different language backgrounds can use to communicate. To the deaf community the ASL influence is incredible, and analysis has proved that children who learn to sign at a younger age are much smarter that their counterparts. Learning the ASL gives the deaf community an opportunity to gain appreciation and explore the Deaf and hard of hearing culture.


Goss, Blaine. “Hearing from the deaf culture.” Intercultural Communication Studies 12.2 (2003): 2003. 23-48

Nation, Ian SP. Learning vocabulary in another language. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2001.42-63

Senghas, Richard J., and Leila Monaghan. “Signs of their times: Deaf communities and the culture of language.” Annual Review of Anthropology(2002): 69-97.

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