Skip to main content

American Sign Language

ignore

American Sign Language (ASL) is a rich, complex language that uses signs made with the hands and other movements, including facial expressions and postures of the body. ASL is the primary language used by an estimated 500,000 Deaf members of the ASL community in the United States and parts of Canada. The ASL community is a rich, vibrant linguistic community who share a common set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, and values. MLA 2016 Enrollments Final Report (Web Publication, June 2019)

Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. The linguistics of ASL are very different from English. As a visual-gestural language, the shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as non-manual markers, all play important parts in ASL discourse.  According to the Modern Language Association (MLA), ASL is America’s fastest growing language and is an exciting addition to the Department of Languages. 

Clemson University—with its colleagues at Harvard, Yale, and other premier institutions— is the only four-year public institution in South Carolina that recognizes and offers ASL as modern language. At Clemson University, you are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages with a concentration in ASL.