Adelphi University’s American Sign Language Club recently hosted a Sign Language Brunch. Students and faculty came together to enjoy free food while learning some simple signs. While most attendees were drawn in solely by the promise of food, many were soon fascinated by demonstrations of signing from club members.
Club vice president Deanna Dubinsky, a sophomore, explained that ASL is not simply a series of visual representations for words, but rather a complex language with its own grammar and syntax. Facial expressions and posture are also very important.
“You could know all the ASL signs there are,” Deanna said. “But you have to learn how to sign, not just the signs themselves.”
The ASL Club hopes to help shape the perception of ASL and deaf culture as part of the Adelphi community. “People don’t understand deaf culture,” said senior Joe Fox, club president. “They see being deaf as a disability. But it’s a beautiful language and culture.”
Many members of the ASL Club take one of three levels of ASL classes offered by the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education through the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Those who are unable to take the classes learn some basic signing—perhaps some conversation or the words to a song—during club meetings.
As a newly recognized club on campus, they plan to host events that establish the ASL Club as an exciting and active club while educating students about ASL and deaf culture at the same time. A large outdoor event is being planned for the spring semester.