National ASL Day is celebrated on April 15 of every year. National ASL Day celebrates and honors American Sign Language. ASL is a natural language which serves as the main sign language of Deaf groups in the U.S and much of Anglophone Canada. Apart from North America, ASL and various other ASL-based creoles are used by different countries across the world including most of West Africa and Southeast Asia. American Sign Language (ASL) is serving as a lingua franca, as ASL is extensively learned as a 2nd language. American Sign Language (ASL) is very much related to French Sign Language (LSF).
“Sign language is the noblest gift God has given to deaf people.” – George Veditz.
History of National ASL Day
ASL was born at American School for the Deaf on April 15, 1817. It brought together Native American Signs, Old French Sign Language, various village sign languages, Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, and home sign systems; American Sign Language was developed in this circumstances of language contact. Its predecessors influenced ASL but different from all of them. It has been said that American Sign Language is a creole language of French Sign Language (LSF), even though ASL exhibits features untypical of creole languages, like agglutinative morphology. In spite of its extensive use, no exact count of American Sign Language users has been taken, but approximately American ASL users vary from 250,000 to 500,000 persons, including some kids of deaf adults. ASL users face disgrace due to beliefs in the supremacy of spoken language to sign language, constituted by the fact that ASL is frequently glossed in English because of the absence of a standard writing system. ASL signs have a variety of phonemic components like the movement of the torso, face and also hands. American Sign Language is not a type of pantomime, but the iconic sign does play a more significant role in ASL than in oral languages.
Other Celebrations on April 15
April 15 is also celebrated as
- World Art Day
- National Take a Wild Guess Day
- International Microvolunteering Day
- National High Five Day
How to Celebrate National ASL Day
On National ASL Day, If you know ASL then teaches your family members, friends, and colleagues 10 ASL words, Share with them the story of how you learned ASL. If you don’t know ASL, then try learning it. Take a picture of your favorite ASL handshape and share your thoughts about ASL with others on social media using the hashtag #NationalASLDay or #ASLday.
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