IASL (Interpreter American Sign Language)
IASL Club CFCC
The purpose of the iASL Club is to foster and encourage involvement in the Deaf community in the Wilmington area and the coastal region. Students plan events with the Deaf community and attend events in the Deaf Community. Additionally, iASL club strives to promote ASL awareness in the local community through service projects.
We welcome student members from the CFCC Sign Language Interpreter Education program. Members support and promote the new Interpreter Education program at CFCC. Provide support and encouragement of one another within the program. Our members will join together at our monthly meetings to plan community service events and possible fundraisers. Meetings may feature a guest lecture from a professional in the field as well as a time for socializing among members. There will be scheduled social events (in collaboration with the Deaf Coastal Social group) throughout the year within the Deaf community to support Deaf community members and the Deaf culture.
In the Community:
In the near future, the club plans to teach basic ASL at local elementary schools, read/sign books at the Public Library and/or local Bookstores. Promote awareness and demonstrate the beauty of ASL by signing the National Anthem during select CFCC sporting events.
ASL: A Brief Description
“American Sign Language (ASL) is a visually perceived language based on a naturally evolved system of articulated hand gestures and their placement relative to the body, along with non-manual markers such as facial expressions, head movements, shoulder raises, mouth morphemes, and movements of the body.”
ASL has been used in America since the early 1800’s (and earlier if you include the signing that was being done in America prior to Thomas Gallaudet bringing Laurent Clerc from France), but it wasn’t until 1960 that “experts” started recognizing it as a full-blown autonomous language.
There are estimates that around 2 million people are using ASL on a daily basis and at least 500,000 of those people are using it as their primary means of communication. Millions more people know “some” sign language and use it “once in a while.”
“ASL is a visually perceived, gesture-based language.” That means it is a language that is expressed through the hands and face and is perceived through the eyes. It isn’t just hand and arm movements. If you furrow your eyebrows, tilt your head, glance in a certain direction, twist your body a certain way, puff your cheek, or any number of other “inflections” –you are adding or changing meaning in ASL. A “visual gestural” language carries just as much information as an oral/aural (mouth/ear) language.
Is ASL limited to just the United States and Canada? No. ASL is also used in varying degrees in the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and many other places. (Source: Grimes, Barbara F. (editor), (1996). “Languages of USA” Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 13th Edition. Institute of Linguistics.)
Is ASL a universal language? No. Not even close. Those countries listed above also have their own signed languages. ASL is the dominant signed language in North America, plus it is used to some extent in quite a few other countries, but it is certainly not understood by Deaf people everywhere.
For more information contact:
Club Advisor: Joy Schultz
Program Director Interpreter Education