8 Misconceptions Of ASL
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Politics and Activism

8 Misconceptions Of ASL

Hearing folks- back at it again with the myths and uneducated beliefs.

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8 Misconceptions Of ASL
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Generally, people have an interest in sign language, even if they can't sign themselves. It is foreign to most and different than what they call "normal". Naturally, people are interested in things they don't understand. American Sign Language is just as extraordinary as the community that surrounds it. As with most things, there are many misconceptions regarding ASL and the Deaf community. Most are myths, some are made up stories, and others are based off sheer uneducated guesses.

1. ASL is universal.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F22%2F6359689049324418261655342374_i02li3R.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=869&h=a467e1e386c3ccb0a504912c32c43b76dfa560a69d94f698caa12e5d24a2cac1&size=980x&c=3897165188 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F22%252F6359689049324418261655342374_i02li3R.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D869%26h%3Da467e1e386c3ccb0a504912c32c43b76dfa560a69d94f698caa12e5d24a2cac1%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3897165188%22%7D" expand=1]

Contrary to popular belief, American sign language is not universal (keyword being "American"). Sign language is like any other language in the sense that it is different in most countries and even regions. Within our own country, sign language is regional and differs from coast to coast.

2. Deaf people can't speak.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F23%2F6359697495001179881424496619_18c20d30-ed29-0132-ab1c-0acd8dfea39d.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=631&h=91205a790ba3c4cc7fc976baef97b2eedfefdfb0f1a870375e624ee417aabf2e&size=980x&c=222778072 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F23%252F6359697495001179881424496619_18c20d30-ed29-0132-ab1c-0acd8dfea39d.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D631%26h%3D91205a790ba3c4cc7fc976baef97b2eedfefdfb0f1a870375e624ee417aabf2e%26size%3D980x%26c%3D222778072%22%7D" expand=1]


Actually, some choose to speak and some don't. It's just a preference and depends on how comfortable they are with their speech. Which brings us to my next point:


3. Deaf people are quiet.

Nope. Wrong. Negatory. Some of the loudest people I know are deaf and it is just part of their personality. Just like a hearing person is soft spoken or a loud mouth, a deaf person expresses themselves in the same way.


4. All Deaf people read lips.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F23%2F635969737550780204784656437_Na68dcd.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=784&h=a8812dfd90733b3382da7d13428d22dbd1ee6b988afccbc340e73a4c7f63c0cf&size=980x&c=2473413882 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F23%252F635969737550780204784656437_Na68dcd.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D784%26h%3Da8812dfd90733b3382da7d13428d22dbd1ee6b988afccbc340e73a4c7f63c0cf%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2473413882%22%7D" expand=1]

This is not all that accurate either. Some deaf people read lips and some do not. Not only is it difficult, but it is a totally ineffective way to communicate. Studies have shown that only about 30% of a conversation is understood when reading lips. Note: talking louder and exaggerating your words does not help either.

5. Deaf people are "hearing impaired".

I'll just let this clip explain:


6. Deaf people can't drive.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F23%2F635969742503760649-1228441651_tumblr_n1mhvrNBzk1sqrd7to1_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=640&h=f46bbd77acea9eb28b788a3abcb7d79d66c1e250a06e60ce419f2ea8556db161&size=980x&c=2911673794 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F23%252F635969742503760649-1228441651_tumblr_n1mhvrNBzk1sqrd7to1_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D640%26h%3Df46bbd77acea9eb28b788a3abcb7d79d66c1e250a06e60ce419f2ea8556db161%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2911673794%22%7D" expand=1]

Well, this is wrong,too. Deaf people can do anything hearing people can do, except hear. Due to enhanced peripheral vision, they actually can drive better than hearing people.


7. Deaf people read Braille.

I wasn't even going to add this one because of how outrageously ridiculous it sounds, but there is a vast amount of people who actually believe this. So, for those intelligent beings: Braille is for the blind. That is all.


8. Deaf people would rather be hearing.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F04%2F23%2F6359697549080117952055528931_635939589851210071786493665_tumblr_nvhm6jXqEd1ue5nbgo1_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=827&h=6cb3bbcfb0617d7c0c7127b9696da1a216a7fb0bb82eb12fadb1f1e723872cc7&size=980x&c=646546996 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F04%252F23%252F6359697549080117952055528931_635939589851210071786493665_tumblr_nvhm6jXqEd1ue5nbgo1_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D827%26h%3D6cb3bbcfb0617d7c0c7127b9696da1a216a7fb0bb82eb12fadb1f1e723872cc7%26size%3D980x%26c%3D646546996%22%7D" expand=1]

I can't speak for everyone and I am in no position to make an assumption regarding the community as a whole, but I can say that I have met several deaf people who wouldn't have it any other way.

There are so many misconceptions regarding ASL, but these are the most common. I made this list with the help of some interpreter students, so if you have anything to add, please feel free to share your ideas!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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