Can A Person Become Proficient In More Than Two Languages American Sign Language (ASL) History

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American Sign Language (ASL) History

American Sign Language is by far the youngest organized and recognized language we have on earth today. This is just one of the unique aspects of this language. The history of this language dates back to the early 18th century in France when a Parisian priest Charles-Michel de l’Épée opened his heart, mind and fortune to find a way to integrate his neighbor’s twin deaf daughters into mainstream society. to bring What made him unique from others in the field was his unbiased view of deafness as a unique disability rather than something that was the effect of a curse, as was considered by people of those days.

Until that time, deaf individuals were strictly trained to learn lip reading and the use of signs was prohibited in most schools. The emphasis of those times was to force the deaf individual to adapt to mainstream society at all costs. Charles-Michel de l’Épée was an exception and his exceptional outlook on deafness also produced extraordinary results. By 1750, his school soon became famous throughout France and in a very short time became the “place to go” for any parent who wished their deaf child humane treatment when it came to education.

After his death, one of his closest assistants, Abbe Sicard, took over the management of the school. He was equally or according to historians more focused than his predecessor who started the school. The school became famous during its time for the intellectual works of two of its two students who were in every respect as capable as their hearing counterparts. One of his deaf students Laurent Clerc wrote articles on complex subjects such as philosophy and was respected in the community. He later became a teacher in the school that trained him and in 1791 took over the leadership of the school.

Now, let us leave them in France and go to America where Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who had just finished a two-year course in theology and was about to join the church as a minister, was solicited by his neighbor to train his deaf daughter. With the help of her father and others from the community, he traveled to London where almost all the schools that trained the deaf were reluctant to disclose their methodology. As he was about to leave London, he happened to meet Abbe Sicard who was touring London to showcase his methodology. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet met Abbe Sicard and it became a turning point in the history of American Sign Language. Abbe Sicard was more than happy to teach Gallaudet and invited him to France.

In France, Gallaudet succeeded in convincing Abbe Sicard to bring his brightest student Laurent Clerc to America. The American School for the Deaf was founded in 1817 in Hartford, which later became the now famous Gallaudet University.

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