From Jamie Berke, former About.com Guide
What is Sign Language?
One reason some hearing people resist learning sign language is because they think they need to become fluent in it. It is not necessary to become fluent in sign language unless your intention is to work with deaf people. Most hearing and deaf people can benefit from learning just enough sign language to be able to communicate. At a minimum, the sign language alphabet should be learned.
Learning Sign Language
People have multiple resources for learning sign language. They can learn through classroom training, online training, video materials, and books. However, these are resources and are not a substitute for the best way to learn sign language. The best way to master sign language is by interacting with other sign language users.
- Challenges of Learning Sign Language
- Sign Language Learning Experience
- Sign Language Classes
- Sign Language Dictionaries
- Sign Language Word Reference Guide
- Sign Language Books
- Sources of Sign Language Videos
- American Sign Language Idioms
- American Sign Language Classifiers
- Animal Sign Language Gallery
- Thanksgiving Sign Language Gallery
- Christmas Sign Language Gallery
- Valentine's Day Sign Language Gallery
Signing with Hearing Children
Sign language benefits both hearing and deaf children, particularly when they are babies. Using sign language with babies and toddlers has been shown to reduce frustration at a time when babies are old enough to know what they want but still unable to talk. Early exposure to a visual language also pays off later on in school.
- What is Baby Signing?
- Baby Sign Language Books
- Baby Sign Language DVDs
- Signing with Older Children
- Children's Sign Language Books
Sign Language Interpreting
Many people learn sign language with the goal of becoming an interpreter. Sign language interpreters are crucial as one of the many ways access is provided to deaf and hard of hearing people. Modern technology does exist for accessibility (captioning, etc.) but there are many situations in which only an interpreter will do, or the deaf person may prefer an interpreter.
- Sign Language Intepreting Central
- Why Become an Interpreter?
- Sign Language Interpreting Jobs
- Interpreter Directories and Referral Agencies
- What is Video Remote Interpreting?
- Profile of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters
- Interpreters at Doctors, Dentists, and Hospitals
- Gifts for Sign Language Interpreters
As you learn sign language, you will inevitably be exposed to deaf culture. The deaf community has developed its own cultural hallmarks in art, theater, and film. Deaf culture has expanded to incorporate the Internet as well, with deaf sites, deaf films being posted online, and deaf blog sites. The deaf community's culture continues to evolve and adapt.
- Deaf Culture - Culture and Heritage of Deaf People
- Pathological View of Deafness versus Cultural View of Deafness
- Deaf Cinema
- Deaf Humor
Outstanding Deaf and Hearing People
Deaf heritage includes many deaf and hearing people who have made their mark in the deaf and hard of hearing community. Some stood out in the world of entertainment; others made a contribution to the field of deaf education, or in sports. Those are just examples of how deaf and hard of hearing people contributed to society.