American Sign Language

A woman making signs to another person, overlaid with "American Sign Language"

Edit Headline Text

Edit Subhead Text

American Sign Language (ASL) is the naturally-evolved language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. It is the primary language of approximately one-half million Deaf individuals and is also used on a daily basis by many hearing individuals.

ASL is historically related to French Sign Language but not to British Sign Language. It is the linguistic medium through which Deaf individuals express themselves artistically, in sign poetry, storytelling, video, and theater, for example in the productions of the National Theater of the Deaf. The study of ASL is a foundation for careers in education, communication sciences and disorders, sign interpeting, counseling, and other fields.

At UT, the first course in the three-semester language sequence (ASL 601D) is generally taught in the fall semester. ASL 610D and ASL 311D complete the intermediate level proficiency sequence. Students can minor in ASL by taking additional upper division courses, which are taught on an annual basis. These include courses in advanced conversation, interpreting, the linguistics of signed languages, and advanced topics related to sign languages or Deaf culture.