American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual-gestural language used as a primary means of communication by many Deaf people in the United States and Canada. ASL is a major part of American Deaf culture, and is transmitted from one generation of signers to the next. In addition to Deaf native users and deaf people who learn it later in life, many hearing children whose deaf parents use ASL learn it as a first language; other children learn ASL in schools or from friends and deaf adults; and it is increasingly popular as a "foreign language" in hearing schools and colleges.
ASL should not be confused with signed English or with signed pidgins, which use signs from ASL but put them in English-language order, often with additional invented signs to show English grammar and syntax.
Deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with each other and with hearing people who know the language.
ASL is a visual/gestural language that has no vocal component
ASL is a complete, grammatically complex language
It differs from a communication code designed to represent English directly
ASL is not a universal language - there are signed languages in other countries (e.g., Italian Sign Language, Chinese Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language).
Like English, every ASL sentence consists of a subject and a predicate.
The basic, uninflected, word order of ASL is subject, verb, object.
Signing (and Grammatical) Terminology
Subject - The noun or noun phrases in the sentence. Describes the main focus of the sentence - the person, place, thing, idea, or activity.
Predicate - A predicate can be a verb, a noun, an adjective, or a classifier. The predicate contains the words or signs that describe the action preformed by the subject or that say something about the subject.
Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high-resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada.
Face and lips must be visible (hands, papers, etc. should not be directly in front of your face)
Choose a location that is well-lit
Avoid standing with your back to any light source
Look directly at the person with whom you are speaking with
Avoid distracting background noise (conversations, printers, etc.); move to another location if necessary
Getting the Person's Attention
Call him by name or title (such as "sir")
Tap them on the shoulder or arm
Wave your hand (but not frantically)
Make sure they are looking at you before you speak
Tap on the table or counter
Avoid eating, drinking, or chewing gum while speaking
Keep your hands away from your mouth
Speak naturally - don't exaggerate, shout, or speak too slowly/quickly