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Rochester Community and Technical College - Rochester, Minnesota

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World Languages Department
American Sign Language


American Sign Language

Why American Sign Language(ASL)?

American Sign Language is a complete, complex language that employs signs made with the hands and other movements, including facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the first language of many deaf North Americans, and one of several language options available to deaf people. ASL is said to be the fourth most commonly used language in the United States.
In spoken language, the different sounds created by words and tones of voice (intonation) are the most important devices used to communicate. Sign language is based on the idea that sight is the most useful tool a deaf person has to communicate and receive information. Thus, ASL uses hand shape, position, and movement; body movements; gestures; facial expressions; and other visual cues to form its words. Like any other language, fluency in ASL happens only after a period of study and practice.
Even though ASL is used in America, it is a language completely separate from English. It contains all the fundamental features a language needs to function on its own--it has its own rules for grammar, punctuation, and sentence order. ASL evolves as its users do, and it also allows for regional usage and jargon.

Careers in American Sign Language:

American Sign Language education (K-16) interpreter services, international relations, governmental agencies, social work, speech pathology, and tourist industry are among the fields in which Arabic may be a prerequisite.

American Sign Language is recommended for many careers, including international business (e.g. import-export, banking, industry), hotel/motel management, and humanitarian agencies.

Lower division courses which lead to an ASL major or minor at a four-year institution:

American Sign Language 1101 4 credits Beginning American Sign Language I
American Sign Language 1102 4 credits Beginning American Sign Language II

An encouraging word!

Many universities offer retroactive credit at a nominal fee upon completion of an upper-level course with a grade of A or B. The student with previous language experience should continue the same foreign language, and enter the sequence at RCTC at as high a level as possible, so as to complete the entire lower division sequence before transfer. The University of Minnesota also offers FLIP and FLAC, Foreign Language Immersion and Across the Curriculum certificate programs. For the past 5 years, the University of Minnesota-Rochester has offered a successful certificate program for Interpreters and Translators as an extension of Continuing Education.

 Many fields employ people with ASL skills:
 Interpreting and Interpreter Education
 Social Work
 Teaching -There is a shortage of teachers for the deaf.
 Speech/Language Pathologist
 Employment and Vocational Rehab. Counselors
 Sign Language Teachers
 Finance, Real Estate, and Travel

ASL at RCTC (See college catalog for course descriptions)

ASL 1107:  American Sign Language I
        1108:  American Sign Language II



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