National American Sign Language Day

A diverse group of people having a lively conversation using American Sign Language in a park filled with vibrant colors and beautiful flowers..
National american sign language day illustration

Do you enjoy speaking with your hands? Then, hurray! National American Sign Language Day is a day we can all communicate in a new way while celebrating a language that speaks volumes - without a single sound! Who knew silence could be this fun? (Yes, we also had fun writing that line).

When is American Sign Language Day?

It's national american sign language day on the 13th April.

A Big Hand for American Sign Language Day

Ever since entrancing mentions of National American Sign Language Day started popping up online like a sign language version of a flash mob, we've been all hands on deck to unravel its digital story.

As per our data, this lively hand chatter peaked on the 13th of April in 2016 with an astonishing 2406 mentions. Is there an enigmatic message hidden in the nimble hand movements of that day? We're not quite sure. But one thing we know is that the internet had a field day communicating via hands and expression – all in American Sign Language!

A Wave to the Past

While 2016 saw the highest mentions, the celebration of American Sign Language has been contagious since before Facebook status updates were a thing. One wonders if the pioneers of this language imagined it would one day make such an awesome online buzz!

The Day Hands Talked

April 13th represents an emergence of the deaf community into the mainstream, a validation of their beautiful language, and a celebration of diversity. So, next time it rolls around, make sure to throw a few sign language greetings into your day, have some laugh with new signs and spread the love! And if you don't know ASL, it's the perfect day to start learning! After all, you've got hands, why not get them talking!

History behind the term 'American Sign Language'


Creation of the American School for the Deaf

In 1817, the American School for the Deaf was established in Hartford, Connecticut. This was the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States and played a crucial role in the development of American Sign Language (ASL). The school brought together students from different regions, each with their own local sign languages. As a result, a new sign language, which would eventually become known as ASL, began to evolve.


Influence of French Sign Language

In 1864, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, one of the founders of the American School for the Deaf, traveled to Europe to learn more about educational methods for the deaf. He visited the National Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Paris, where he met Laurent Clerc, a renowned deaf educator. Clerc was a native user of French Sign Language (LSF), and Gallaudet was captivated by this expressive and sophisticated form of communication. When Gallaudet returned to the United States, he brought with him the teachings of LSF, which heavily influenced the development of ASL.


The Milan Conference and Oralism

The year 1880 was a pivotal moment in the history of ASL. At the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Milan, Italy, a controversial resolution was passed that advocated for the exclusive use of oralism in deaf education. Oralism emphasized speech and lip-reading, discouraging the use of sign language in classrooms. This decision had a significant impact on ASL as educators and parents were discouraged from using it, leading to a decline in its usage and recognition in educational institutions.


ASL recognized as a distinct language

During the 1960s, a movement for the recognition of ASL as a bona fide language gained momentum. William Stokoe, a linguist, conducted extensive research on ASL at Gallaudet University, the premier institution for deaf education in the United States. Stokoe's groundbreaking work demonstrated that ASL met all the requirements of a true language with its own grammar and syntax. This research helped shift the perception of ASL from a mere collection of gestures to a sophisticated and legitimate language.


ASL recognized as an official language

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, granting recognition and protection to individuals with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The ADA's recognition of ASL as a legitimate language further solidified its status and promoted its use in various domains, including education, employment, and public services. This was a significant achievement in the journey towards acknowledging ASL's cultural and linguistic importance.

Did you know?

Did you know that ASL is the 3rd most commonly used language in the U.S? Now that's something to show off at your next linguistics chat! Just make sure you do it in sign language.


awareness fun language learning

First identified

13th April 2016

Most mentioned on

13th April 2016

Total mentions


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