The American Sign Language is a complete and native language for the deaf, those with hearing impairment, and those who can hear. Conveyed by the movement of the face and hands, ASL has all the essential attributes of language.
Even though it has indistinguishable linguistic properties as a spoken language, it is completely different from traditional American English. ASL expresses meaning and not English words. Using video computer applications, one can learn American sign language online. Following is information on what makes ASL grammar different from traditional American English.
What Is the Difference Between ASL Grammar and Traditional American English?
Apart from having different communication channels, the ASL and English grammar vary greatly, with each having its own rules for pragmatics, phonology, syntax, and morphology.
ASL can express meaning in ways that spoken English cannot since, unlike American English, which uses sound to produce a series of words, ASL uses signs produced by the movement of the hand or face.
While the phonemes in American English form a direct alphabetical correspondence to graphemes in written English, ASL signs correspond to English print through non-alphabetic parameters. However, fingerspelling provides a manually based alphabetic post to graphemes in written English.
This usually includes the word order and the principles and rules that govern sentence structure in a given language. The traditional American English uses Subject-Verb-Object (SOV) word order, while the ASL depends on topic-comment relations. ASL has several word orders; there can be: Subject-Verb-Object or Subject-Verb order and also Time-Subject-Verb-Object or Time-Subject-Verb word order.
This is the study of a particular language; it deals with morphemes (words or parts of words), which are units that bear meaning in language. ASL uses a complicated non-concurrent way to form words because the combination process does not depend on affixation but rather on stem-internal changes.
How Students Can Adapt Their Learning When Studying ASL
As a student, it is imperative to find methods that will help you adapt to your learning; whether taking a physical or online sign language class. Below are some easy ways that one can incorporate during the study;
Utilize Real-Life Situations
Approaching a deaf friend or family member and asking them to teach you ASL is a great technique. You get to practice what you have learned in class, learn new things, and get close to friends or family members.
Watch and Mimic Interpreters
Practice makes perfect! Learning sign language is easier if you are watching someone; not just anyone but qualified sign language interpreters and tutors. You can learn American sign language online, on YouTube/ DVDs, and at live deaf events.
By mimicking these experts, you will be practicing your finger spellings and a better way to adapt your learning when studying ASL.
You can have these lessons alone or with few people, whatever you are comfortable with. Make sure you hire a qualified tutor for a better learning experience. One-to-one learning is faster as the tutors are focused on a single individual. Not to mention, these lessons are flexible, so you get to do them in your own spare time.
Joining Sign Language Groups
There are clubs, groups, and cafés for the deaf where they occasionally get together. You can join these groups to observe their fingerspelling and facial expressions. In all sign languages, not just ASL, facial expressions are key since they determine the conversation’s mood.
Learn American Sign Language Online
Being in the presence of people who use ASL daily is certainly a great way of adopting your learning when studying ASL. LanguageBird’s online ASL classes connect students directly with experienced ASL instructors while providing opportunities for interaction with other students. Download your free ebook below to learn more about how LangaugeBird helps students learn ASL online.