For this years In-Depth I have chosen sign language or more specifically american sign language (ASL). Sign language is the use of hand shapes and movement of the hands, arms, and torso as a means of communication. Although it is used primarily by the deaf community, sign language is used by people who can hear but may not have the ability to orally express themselves as well. ASL is the main sign language used in (you guessed it) America, as well as in Canada and also in many countries in Africa. ASL was founded in the early 19th century at the American School for the Deaf and is said to be used by around 500,000 people. It is commonly misconceived that all sign language is the same, but just like spoken language there are many different forms of sign language. For example Mexico and Spain have completely different sign languages even though Spanish is the primary language in both countries. Last recorded in 2013, there are 137 different sign languages used worldwide.
I had a bit of a hard time picking and In-Depth this year. I started off with the idea of doing power-lifting because of my interests in sports and fitness, and I think it would have been really fun. However it wasn’t very far out of my comfort zone. Sign language on the other hand, was more out of comfort zone, and was also something that I was highly interested in learning about. ASL has been something that I’ve always been interested in learning. It has also been something that I never got a chance to learn so it is perfect for In-Depth, and I’m super excited to start this project.
Lastly on some goals for this project and the matter of a finding a mentor, I am currently still trying to find a mentor. There are a few possibilities that I have looked in to. My mom took an ASL course at night school and then Douglass College so she has some connections that may put me on the trail of a mentor. There are also a ton of apps and online courses to keep me busy and learning in the meantime. They will also help with my goal of being able to have a regular conversation in ASL with someone else. This involves knowing hand shapes, gestures, basic grammar, and sentence structure. A short term goal that I want to fulfill in the next month or so is to learn the entire ASL alphabet. Overall I’m on the right track, just need to secure a mentor and I’m good to go. Should be a great final In-Depth!