The New York Times published an article today about a dramatic increase (16%) in students taking American Sign Language. After Spanish, French, and German, sign language ranks fourth in most popular languages on college campuses. And of course, like any good NYT Education article, it mentions Wesleyan. Specifically, Emily Brown ’12 speaks about her experience and fascination with A.S.L.:
Many students take aesthetic pleasure in sign language. Emily Brown, a sign-language student at Wesleyan University, talks excitedly about watching deaf poetry on YouTube, and “rhyming” words like “stars” and “socks,” whose signs share a hand shape and motion.
“I imagine myself painting pictures in the air,” said Ms. Brown, a junior majoring in English, and serving as an A.S.L. teaching assistant. “It feels more poetic than other languages. It’s such a great way to express things you can’t quite express verbally.”
Four sign language courses are being taught at Wesleyan this year (by Visting Instructor Sheila Mullen). There is the one-year beginner block similar to that available for Korean, Portugese, and Hindi as well as a second-year sequence featuring on current issues this semester and literacy skills next semester. Check out the courses here.