The Reason Why I'm Learning American Sign Language
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The Reason Why I'm Learning American Sign Language

ASL is a language that includes the movement of hands combined with the facial expressions and body movement.

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The Reason Why I'm Learning American Sign Language
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The main reason why I am learning American Sign Language (ASL) is because I want to be able to communicate with the deaf community. The way one is able to communicate using facial expressions and the movement of hands fascinates me. I absolutely love it. The language itself is amazing.

American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that includes the movement of hands combined with the facial expressions and body movement. When signing, it is important that one is not only moving their hands but also using facial expressions. There are many words that are signed nearly the same or are quite similar to each other, therefore the way you express it on your face determines the meaning of the sign. For instance, when singing the five W’s (why, what, where, when, why, who) you have to have that questioning look on your face.

American Sign Language is mainly for North Americans who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. Other countries use different sign languages. It’s similar to how Spanish is different in Spain and in Mexico.

My first encounter with the language was when I began watching the show "Switched at Birth." This show is about two teenage girls finding out they were switched at birth. One comes from a wealthy family while the other does not. The one that does not is also hard of hearing, that's where sign language comes in. Both girls then unite their families, and that's what the show is about. Another cool fact is that the scripted show is set in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Although that not really an “encounter,” it was more of an eye opener to the language. That’s when I realized that it’s a neat language and maybe I should give it a try and learn it.

Though working in retail is what truly opened my eyes to it.

Working in retail has taught me and many others how to communicate well with customers. Always smile and speak in a pleasant tone. However, I have a difficult time doing so when hard of hearing or deaf customers come in. I’m aware that we are all people or that I should treat everyone equally, so I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression, but I do get a bit awkward and nervous because I don’t know whether to talk or wait for them to sign me something or to speak a bit louder than usual. I dislike the fact that I am unable to properly communicate with them. I don’t feel bad for them, rather for myself because I can’t understand them. They always tend to smile and nod, and it upsets me that they know I can’t understand them so why even try. I want to be able to proudly begin signing to communicate and interact with deaf customers.

Although I don’t know the history of where ASL necessarily comes from or am perfect at finger-spelling (yet), I’m in the process of learning. I know this road will be difficult, because, I mean, come on—learning any new language from the beginning is quite hard. I’m currently trying to teach myself with the help of this wonderful thing called the internet. I do want to take classes but they are so expensive, therefore I’m attempting to do this on my own. I’ve heard it’s possible, so why not give it a try?

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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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