How can I learn American Sign Language?

sign language

Historians believe early humans used signs to communicate long before spoken language was created. You may have also communicated this way in various situations—waving hello, pointing to an item on a menu, or hailing a cab, are all examples of sign language in its most elemental form.

American Sign Language (ASL) has evolved to be more complex— the language uses eyes, hands, face, and the body to communicate. Learning ASL helps you to develop an awareness and sensitivity to the Deaf community. In addition to being bilingual, ASL offers the benefits of bimodality.

ASL Course Offerings

ASL 101R: American Sign Language 1

This introductory course in American Sign Language (ASL) teaches students to manage everyday communication in ASL and integrate deaf culture and deaf community content. Grammar is introduced in context with an emphasis on developing question and answer skills.

[Note: Conducted in ASL. No prior knowledge of ASL is expected. Not open to students with advanced ability in American Sign Language.]

ASL 102R: American Sign Language 2

This course extends the introduction to sign language by refining the skills attained in ASL 101R to include personal conversations and storytelling. Cultural notes and videos add to information on deaf culture and deaf community. Grammar includes an emphasis on giving directions and adding description.

[Note: Conducted in ASL. Not open to students with advanced ability in American Sign Language.]

Prereq: ASL 101R

ASL 201R: American Sign Language 3

This course enables students to rehearse conversation and to correct information to minimize misunderstandings. Major topics will include family and occupations, attributing qualities to others, and discussing routines. Cultural notes and videotapes provide information on Deaf Culture and Community. Grammar is introduced in context.

Prereq: ASL 102R

ASL 202R: American Sign Language 4

This course refines the skills learned and retained from ASL 201R. Students learn to communicate the locations of items around the house, complain, and make suggestions and requests. Advanced exploration of Deaf Culture and Community is incorporated. Grammar is introduced in context with emphasis on question and answer skills.

Prereq: ASL 201R