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Benefits of Learning Sign Language

Updated on November 23, 2009
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

There is something missing in our educational system.  An element that could be so beneficial.  A class that could be one of the most used in a life.  It can be used in daily life, science, history, math, literature, and even the arts.  Would you believe that is a language?  Not Chinese, Spanish, or French.  Try sign language.

Yes, sign language is a missing element in our educational system.  The uses of it are numerous and the learning of it so easy.  It could be the most versatile language that you could ever learn.

All Around - There are literally millions of people in the United States alone that use sign language as their native language.  The deaf community is very large and is throughout the world.  Because of the silence the language is spoken in, it can go unnoticed.  So, if we go through our lives without hearing it why should we learn it?  Because it is all around us.  If you work at fast food or as a cashier, you will eventually encounter someone who signs.  Though most that hail from the deaf community read lips fluently, the chance to interact in their own language is always welcomed.  Have you ever been in a foreign country in which you knew a smidgen of the language, just enough to get by?  When you hear your native tongue spoken, notice how your face brightens and your eyes light up?  You love to hear your native language.  Those that use sign language also love to see their language used before their eyes. 

Easy to Learn – Sign language is one of the easiest languages to learn.  So many of the signs are commonplace gestures.  Children pick up on the signs quickly and are eager to use them.  The fact that it is easy helps encourage the learning.

Allows Silence – When sign language is used in the classroom and even outside the classroom, noise levels drop dramatically.  Teachers will find that when students begin to use sign language communication is not so painful on the ears and interruptions diminish.

Exceedingly Useful – Sign language can be the most used language you learn.  Need to communicate across a crowded room without shouting?  Use sign language.  Lose your voice?  Use sign language.  On the phone and need to communicate to someone in the room without breaking your conversation?  Use sign language.

Beautiful – Sign language is the most beautiful language there is.  Have you had the opportunity to see someone use sign language?  It is beautiful.  To see sign language used with a song is beautiful.  The fluid movements are dramatic and so full of expression.

Personal Experience

I learned a few signs when I was small and watched Sesame Street on a regular basis.  The alphabet was fun to learn, and I quickly learned it.  When I was thirteen, my grandmother in her ninetieth year contracted pneumonia and had to have a breathing tube.  She was attempting to communicate with her daughters and was getting frustrated.  She glanced at me and it dawned on her that I knew a little sign language.  She had learned it many decades ago and had always claimed to have forgotten it.  She grabbed my hand and began signing furiously.  Because I knew sign language, she was able to communicate about important papers before she passed away a few months later.

In college most of my roommates were audiology majors.  They were required to take two sign language classes.  I wanted to know that they were saying.  During that time I also worked as a cashier for Wal-mart.  There was one customer who was deaf.  He would get frustrated with the cashiers who would not tell him what his total was so that he could read their lips.  A few of the cashiers were not known for their politeness.  When he realized that I knew a little sign language, he would try to look for me at a register.  We had several good conversations.  He was one of my greatest teachers as he corrected me and taught me knew words.

I had to go through surgery to remove my thyroid.  The surgery had some complications and when I awoke I could not speak and my throat felt like it was on fire.  Nausea began to creep up on me and the thought of throwing up right after throat surgery terrified me.  I began signing to the nurses.  Not one of them understood me.  Terror rose up in me when finally one of them guessed what I was trying to communicate to them.

Resources Available

There are various resources available to learn sign language.  The internet is full of various tools.  There are books that are great to learn basic signs.  Check out the DVD's that have been produced in the last few years that help visually show you how the signs work along with the facial expressions which are the "tone" of the language.  Check out the local colleges and universities for classes on sign language.

Look Further into this Gem

Sign language is valuable tool.  It is fun.  It is useful.  It is a beautiful language.  It can be used anywhere at anytime.  Learning Spanish is very useful.  Learning Chinese is not a waste.  Learning sign language could be the best decision you make.


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    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 5 years ago

      Great hub! I love ASL, it's so beautiful! I am learning sign language now. I can communicate a little and sign a few songs, but I am no where near fluent yet. I hope to reach fluency.

    • JoSmart profile image

      JoSmart 7 years ago

      I agree - I have used sign language in dance and worked with severely disabled children where they have actively taken part in a church service. It takes things to a whole new level and integrates people far more. A good hub

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great hub. I'll look into that. It's on my list of things to do, and you're so right about it. When I worked for the tax department, there were a few deaf taxpayers who got SO FRUSTRATED, because no one could understand what they needed.

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 7 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Thanks for the article. Signing is common in churches and other events and meetings. This was a good article. Don White

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner 7 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      I always wanted to learn sign language & spanish. Excellent article! Thank YOU!