Contrary to a common misconception:
ASL is not a universal language.
AMERICAN SIGN Language- is just that.
A sign language unique to AMERICA- specifically North America. (English speaking parts of Canada use ASL as well.)
Each country has it's own unique sign language. Which makes sense if you stop to think about, how did signed languages first start?
Historically, families with deaf family members created their own gestures to communicate basic concepts. (They are referred to as HOME SIGNS.) Home Signs were often unique to each family. So until schools for the deaf were established, deaf people from different families rarely met and if they did, they most likely used different home signs.
Once schools for deaf children were organized, a common language developed. Therefore the signs used in each country is as different and unique as the spoken language of that country.
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE- is not visual ENGLISH. To illustrate, BSL or British Sign Language is completely different from ASL, even though our countries founding fathers came from England and both countries speak 'English'. Ironically American Sign language is more closely related to French Sign Language! There is a fascinating story of why this is- and you can read more about it:
HERE- for a short version.
If you are interested in a more detailed account- check out my newly released book!
You can find it on Amazon by clicking this link- A Study of Alice Cogswell.
One last point- ASL is not a visual or manual form of English. It is it's own language, with a grammar structure like other foreign languages. (Subject + Verb+ Object.)
ASL is conceptual.
Each sign is a concept.
This means, each English word does not have a corresponding unique sign.
There is one sign for the concept ( that we describe with words as) FANTASTIC/WONDERFUL/OUTSTANDING/GREAT/AWESOME, etc....
Just thought I would share some fun facts about American Sign Language.
I will continue posting topics about ASL on my blog and use the tag: ASL.