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Different Fonts Used in ASL

Communicating with other people using a combination of hand gestures and facial expressions is the basic premise of American Sign Language (ASL). Signs representing thoughts and expressions are created with hands and other movements such as facial expressions and body postures. Every word is not represented by a sign in ASL. There are different versions of sign language such as French sign language and British sign language. ASL is more closely related to French sign language, which is actually what it stems from. ASL is most often used in the United States, English-speaking parts of Canada, and Mexico. It is considered the fourth most common language in the U.S, and is the primary language among deaf North Americans.

History

American Sign Language has a long history filled with transformations throughout the years. Many believe that ASL stems from the very first sign language system created in France. The initial system was created by the deaf in France, and was referred to as Old French Sign Language. Abbe de l'Epee, a French cleric, founded an educational institution for the deaf in France in 1771. It was the first of its kind that was free to attend. Abbe de l’Epee modified Old French Sign Language into a system of communicating exact words and referred to it as Old Signed French.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a congregational minister, had perhaps the largest influence on sign language development in the United States. In 1816 he traveled to Europe and met Laurent Clerc, who was a recent deaf graduate of l'Epee's school. Clerc taught Gallaudet about sign language and deaf education methods. Gallaudet motivated and, ultimately, convinced Clerc to come to America with him and create the first American school for the deaf. Together Gallaudet and Clerc created Old Signed English from Old French Sign Language. The purpose of the transformation was to make the language easier for American students to understand. Old Signed English was similar to l'Epee's system by having grammar and signs represent each word.

Gallaudet founded the American Asylum in Hartford, Connecticut in the year 1817. It was the first school for the deaf in the United States. Clerc became the very first sign language teacher in America. Students at the school were taught Gallaudet's version of sign language, but used a shortened version of it outside of class. Gallaudet considered the student's version their “natural language.” Their version was free of grammar and condensed sentences into key phrases. The “natural language” is now known as American Sign Language.

Why do people learn ASL?

American Sign Language is particularly important for deaf people to be able to communicate with others. Friends and loved ones of deaf people often learn sign language in order to improve communication with the deaf person. Yet these are not the only reasons that people choose to learn ASL. When you have a baby, it is typically quite a while before the baby learns to verbally communicate with you. You can teach a baby to communicate utilizing ASL much earlier than with the spoken word. You can also use sign language to communicate with people who are much farther away than the loudest shout can carry. Underwater divers, who cannot speak to one another in the water, can use ASL to communicate. If you need to have a very private conversation with someone, sign language cannot be recorded with a microphone. Video cameras will not be able to record the conversation either if the people involved have their backs to the camera or are blocked by something. Becoming a sign language interpreter is a great career option as they always appear to be in demand. Knowing sign language can also advance your career just like being fluent in a foreign language. Television stations are using sign language in advertising and on programs. Finally, learning a new language is good for your brain. Knowledge is power and exercising your brain is healthy for you.

ASL Fonts

A font is a set of type that fits into a coherent style. A font regarding American Sign Language is a graphical sign language typeface which represents the corresponding ASL alphabet for the deaf. All of the letters of the alphabet and all numbers are included in the representations. Typically an ASL font has pictures of hands showing how to form the letters of the alphabet. An ASL font can be utilized to learn sign language or to correspond with sign language. The following fonts are all part of American Sign Language, and each one has two links. The first link will provide you with an example of the font while the second link will provide you with a free download of the font.

Lifeprint

Lifeprint is a website which not only has large, easy to see examples of the Gallaudet font, but it also has quite a few sign language wallpapers available as well. The Gallaudet font can be seen in the 4th section. It is the first alphabet on this website which is not simply pictures of hand-signing.

Simply The Best Fonts

Simply The Best Fonts provides you with free downloads of the Gallaudet font for both the PC and the Mac.

Ace Free Fonts

Ace Free Fonts is a website which has many different fonts, including Finger Alphabet Graffiti. This particular font is different from others, because it is very stylized. The hands are exaggerated, and have elongated fingers.

Font Download A to Z

The website is filled with downloadable fonts. The site offers a free download for Finger Alphabet Graffiti for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Fonts

This website teaches you about type and fonts. It has a good example on it of the Hand Sign font for ASL. All hands in this font tend to slant to the left.

Max Fonts

The website is a great resource for free fonts. It provides you with a free download for the Hand Sign font for both Windows and Mac.

Ffonts

Ffonts.net is a site that has quite a few different fonts on it, including Handstand for ASL. It also has a free download of it.

Dafont

The website has a free download for the Handstand font for ASL. Letters, numbers and symbols are included in the download.

The original deaflinx.com site was written and authored by Amy Frasu. Deaf Linx is now run by Ericka Wiggins. Here are the Facebook and Twitter pages for Deaf Linx.