When many people hear the term second language they think it only applies to learning a language that you can physically speak. However that is not the case. In my free time I have begun to learn the basics of ASL (American Sign Language). It was much easier to learn the basics of Spanish than it has been to learn the basics of ASL. Many of the signs are similar so you have to be extremely cautious in the signs you choose to form a sentence, so you don’t offend anyone. Once you decide to learn a certain phrase it takes you multiple tries to successfully retain all the information, so that you can both recognize and communicate it with a deaf person. Each person signs with varying emotions behind their words. Since the deaf cannot vocalize their feelings they have to use facial expressions and they do all their signs with great force behind them. To people who have never been associated with deaf people learning ASL seems to be pointless. But, if your life involves someone who is hearing impaired, learning how to communicate with them helps brighten their life. It helps them feel welcome in a world in which they are looked upon as out casts. This is why ASL is considered a second language to me.
By: Meleah Handley