College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

American Sign Language

Students Using Sign Language Students Using Sign Language Students Using Sign Language

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 predominant language used by an estimated 500,000 members of the Deaf Community in the United States and parts of Canada. This means, ASL is the third most used language in the United States. 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 language, the shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

According to the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Sign Language is America’s fastest growing language. MLA data reports, enrollment in ASL courses experienced an 803 % increase since 1998!

"Students find that studying an indigenous American language gives them another perspective on American life and culture. Those who receive advanced training and certification in sign language interpreting will also find that there is demand for highly qualified interpreters in education, government, and business." (MLA, 2010).

According to the ASL Teachers Association (ASLTA), there are approximately 500,000 ASL users in the USA and Canada. Most of them use ASL as their primary language and are members of a rich, vibrant linguistic minority community who share a common set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, and values.

ASL at Clemson

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 world language credit. At Clemson University, you are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in World Languages with a concentration in ASL. Or, you can also include ASL as your minor. Whether you are interested in a career as an interpreter, teacher, or in nursing, you can use your ASL skills in nearly any field!

The Clemson University ASL Program faculty have been recognized by the Deaf Community both statewide and nationally for its unique offerings and native-signer services. Clemson University is actively invited to participate in numerous statewide meetings because of its unique relationship with the Deaf Community.

ASL-English Educational Certificate

The ASL-English Educational Certificate is a 16 credit hour program designed to prepare students as entry-level in-terpreters to work with students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in K-12 classrooms. Course work focuses on inter-preter processing skills, continued sign vocabulary development, the transfer of meaning between languages, as well as, a specialized focus on interpreting in the educational setting.

ASL Club

A key partner in the ASL Program at Clemson is the ASL Student Club. This student directed organization meets regularly and organizes events, guest lectures, socials and other colloquia bringing together the Deaf Community and Clemson ASL students! The ASL Student Club allows students to practice their ASL skills with native language users! Visit the American Sign Language Club of Clemson University on Facebook at: