Many myths and misconceptions surround sign language despite the rise in awareness of sign languages and Deaf culture over the years. Check out the top 6 myths about sign language debunked!
1. Sign language is universal
Sign language isn't a universal language. There are over 135 sign languages around the world. Even though the USA, Britain and Australia all share the same spoken language, English, they each have their own sign language, American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan).
2. Sign language only uses your hands
Facial expressions and body movement are vital and bring sign language to life!
3. Sign languages are easy to learn
Sign languages are just as complex as spoken ones. Just like any spoken language, it takes many years to become fluent in a sign language. In order to learn a sign language it is important to interact with people in the Deaf community to improve your fluency.
4. Sign language was invented by hearing people
Sign languages developed naturally in Deaf communities. They are the product of the imagination and intelligence of Deaf people.
5. American Sign Language is based on English
ASL is not a subset of English. The language arose independently and has its own linguistic structure. Signs are not always expressed in the same order as words are in English. This is due to the unique grammar and visual nature of the language.
6. ASL is most similar to British Sign Language
ASL actually has more in common with French Sign Language. ASL and British Sign Language are completely distinct languages. In fact, they don't even share the same alphabet! ASL has a one-handed alphabet and BSL uses a two-handed alphabet.
Check out this video we made all about these myths!