Janelle Hesselink English 201 Final paper journal M, W, F 11am The purpose of my paper will be to argue why American Sign Language (ASL) should be considered as a second language and why it should be an available option to students. I will probably argue this point in favor for high school and college students. It could be said that it would be easier for elementary age children to learn a new language, but for the sake of my argument, I will probably focus mainly on college students. The reason why I want to emphasize why ASL is a second language, and should be considered as such is because CMU does not qualify it as one. So that will probably be my targeted audience, college students, professors, and faculty. One of the main reasons why American Sign Language is not being considered as a foreign language is ignorance. It could be argued that ASL does not need to be considered as a second language because most people do not care to learn it. The only reason that this would be true is because of the general public not being aware of how large the Deaf community truly is. Another argument that might come up is that ASL is hand gestures only and because no speech is involved, that it is not technically a language. But ASL is more than using hand gestures, a large portion is about using facial features and body language. ASL even has its own classifier system. So it could be said that ASL is a complex as English and any other “acceptable” foreign language. I do not actually know that much about American Sign Language itself. I took ASL 100 last semester, so I know some of the vocabulary, but I have a lot to learn about the history, and about the Deaf community itself. I do know that ASL is more closely related to the French language than it is to English. So when we learn the vocabulary (signs) we are told not to mouth the words (especially when we are practicing sentences). We are told this because the sentence structure in ASL is different than the English sentence structure. At this time I do not exactly remember how it works though. Thankfully my book from that class has some history and other information in the beginning, so I should be able to use it as one of my sources. Then I can branch off from there and try and find some more sources. That is my plan anyways, but I will have to see what the library has. I also found a really good website, called the Deaf Resource Library, and through that I found an article that will support my argument perfectly. I just hope that I will be allowed to use it. I am sure that I will be able to find something like it in some books or articles at the library, but it will just mean a lot more work for me.