HUNTER: American Sign Language is Growing in Popularity

People fluent in Sign Language are considered bilingual!

By State Rep. Todd Hunter

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — Millions of Americans are hard-of-hearing, deaf, or mute. For them and others, sign language is its own language – it has its own fundamental features just like all other languages. There are rules for pronunciation, word order, grammar, and so forth.

Sign language is a form of communication through the use of hands, head, facial expressions, torso, and other body motions. This is a primary form of communication.

People who are fluent in sign language are considered bilingual!

Several dialects-forms of sign language were created in varying countries and communities across the world. There is no universal sign language to this day. For example, American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), and French Sign Language (LSF) are all completely different languages.

American Sign Language was first introduced in the United States in 1814 by Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. He created the first standardized sign language alphabet and symbols for communication in the United States.

In the early 1800’s, Dr. Gallaudet created deaf education to serve Americans who were hard of hearing, deaf, or mute. The American School for the Deaf was the first public free deaf school in the United States. This institution was established in Connecticut in 1817.

Dr. Gallaudet’s son proposed the first collegiate institution for the deaf to Congress in the late 1850’s. Legislation was passed in 1864 that established the National Deaf-Mute College at the Columbia Institute. This institution was later named Gallaudet University.

American Sign Language
is growing in popularity. Many people are learning American Sign Language
voluntarily or through school as a foreign language. Many high schools and
colleges/universities offer creditable foreign language electives today.

The Deaf Network of Texas has several links and a digital newsletter to  help you learn more about American Sign Language. Online resources are available to learn American Sign Language, as well. The American Sign Language University offers several free lessons and instructional videos.

And to update you on the happenings of the 86th Legislative Session, the final day of the 2019 Session was May 27th. To look up and/or track legislation that interests you, please visit

You are able to look up legislation by word, phrase, or bill number in the top-middle section of this page. The left of the page has several links that will connect you to either the Texas House of Representatives homepage or the Texas Senate homepage.

To review bills that are of interest to you, please visit the Texas Legislature Online Website here. You can create a free account by clicking on “New User” underneath the password box. Once you’ve created your login, you will see a line full of empty boxes. Under “bill”, you type in the bill number and leave the next box as “any category”.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please don’t hesitate to call my Capitol or District Offices. And always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas State Agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services.

As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office: 512-463-0672; District Office: 361-949-4603). 

Texas State Representative Todd Hunter represents Texas House District 32, covering Aransas, Calhoun, Nueces (Part) and San Patricio Counties. He can be contacted at

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Source: Texas Politics

HUNTER: American Sign Language is Growing in Popularity

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