Global and Human Studies

American Sign Language (ASL)

These courses will introduce you to American Sign Language, a naturally occurring, constantly evolving human language used by Deaf people in the United States and in the English-speaking parts of Canada. Since languages and cultures do not exist independently of each other, the mechanics of the language will be presented firmly couched in the tenets of Deaf Culture.

ASL 1 is designed for students who are brand new to American Sign Language. Students may continue to build upon that foundation by taking ASL 2 and ASL 3. All courses are designed to develop two primary communicative language skills in ASL: "Receptive" (understanding the language when someone signs TO you), and "Expressive" (You actually signing the language). Students will also learn about Deaf society in general and about features of Deaf culture that influence the use of the language in daily life. Students will learn a variety of useful expressions that will help them to communicate with native speakers.

The study of foreign languages in a liberal arts setting is part of a larger humanistic project to promote critical reflection and research on the world's history, cultures, and literatures. As such, language study prepares students to be informed, articulate, and engaged leaders in a global society. Students who study foreign languages find careers in teaching, and, with additional preparation in a content area such as political science, economics, business or international relations, are well prepared to work in private industry and government. Knowledge of foreign languages is an asset in the fields of medicine, social work and law enforcement. Likewise, facility in a foreign language enhances career opportunities in the service and hospitality industries.

Cabrillo ASL Program Vision Statement

Our aim is to provide students with a setting where they can become linguistically knowledgeable and conversationally competent in American Sign Language (ASL.)

ASL is a visual language used for communication among Deaf people, as well as with their hearing peers, allies, friends, and families. In contrast to sound-based languages, the verbal signals for ASL are produced via manual symbols commonly referred to as “Signs.”

As in any authentic, complete (albeit constantly evolving) human language, these signs (and their accompanying non-manual markers) are produced and arranged according to precise linguistic parameters. Therefore, a primary component of the ASL Program’s mission is to broaden these communicative and linguistic abilities among our students and do so at a collegiate and professional language level.

Since languages and cultures do not exist independently of each other, the values, identity, cultural knowledge, and

worldviews of the Deaf community are embedded within the language. Accordingly, the concepts and mechanics of ASL are presented firmly couched in the tenets of Deaf Culture, with the overarching goal of facilitating positive interactions between the hearing and the Deaf communities.