What is sign language?

Sign language is manual communication commonly used by people who are deaf. Sign language is not universal; people who are deaf from different countries speak different sign languages. The gestures or symbols in sign language are organized in a linguistic way. Each individual gesture is called a sign. Each sign has three distinct parts: the handshape, the position of the hands, and the movement of the hands. American Sign Language (ASL) is the most commonly used sign language in the United States.

[A young woman is shown using sign language above the title 'Example of Sign Language'.] Select the image to view a video clip that shows the use of sign language during a discussion of computer access.

For more information about disability-related terms, consult Glossary of Disability-Related Terms. For a list of accommodations for students with hearing impairments, consult the Deaf or Hard of Hearing area in The Faculty Room.

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