11 Reasons You Should Learn ASL

11 Reasons You Should Learn ASL

It's not just for deaf people!
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American Sign Language is primarily used by deaf people within the United States. It is, however, the fourth most used language in the United States. It is becoming increasingly popular as more hearing people learn about the world of the deaf and choose to involve themselves more with it. Learning ASL is a great way to start to learn more about deaf culture, and has other benefits for anyone that learns it as well!

1. Meet new friends and people!

According the CDC there are about 28 million people in the United States who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Not all deaf use ASL, but many do, so by learning it you could open yourself up to so many more friends!

2. Become bilingual.

Just like being bilingual in any two languages, becoming fluent in ASL also counts as being bilingual. The super cool thing about being bilingual in ASL and English is that you can communicate in both at the same when you get really good.

3. Have private conversations in public.

You’ve wanted to have a “secret” language with your friends for the longest time. This is your chance.

4. Communicate with babies and animals.

Many people teach their hearing children a little bit of ASL before they can even talk. It can help them to learn how to effectively express their needs better. Animals also have been known to be able to pick up on what an owner who uses ASL is trying to communicate.

5. Accommodate better for deaf people!

Deaf people live their whole lives needing to adjust to the hearing world. Learning something that can help you adapt to being better suited to interacting with random deaf individuals is beneficial to both involved parties. It is a useful skill for teachers, police, politicians, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and just about anyone!

6. Create visual stories.

ASL is a visual language and it often uses variations of signs to create visual stories. The process of making these stories involves critical thinking that could be applied to story telling and creating messages in other languages!

7. Enhance cognitive functioning.

Being bilingual has been shown to increase cognitive functioning individuals.ASL also has various ways to say similar things, so just by using it frequently you may think differently about communication.


8. Practice spelling.

A lot of words, like names, in ASL are spelled out using fingerspelling. This is great practice for spelling and also is a good place to start when learning the language.

9. Learn more about deaf culture!

There is a whole culture of people who identify with deafness and they are often overlooked and looked down upon. Their culture is just as legitimate as any other and should be learned about and embraced. Although not all people in the deaf culture use ASL, many do and it is a good way to be introduced to the culture.

10. Understand what’s going on in those viral videos.

Videos about advancements of ASL and deaf culture in mainstream society come out frequently recently. It's always great to understand what's being said without a translation!

11. Be prepared for the future.

You never know what's going to happen. You or a family member could one day lose the ability to hear or you could very well have a child or friend who cannot hear. It would be best to be prepared for the situation by learning ASL now!

Cover Image Credit: http://i.imgur.com/pUTHLGo.gif

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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