Union University
Union University Dept of Language
Irene Schock signs with her ASL students

American Sign Language



American Sign Language

ASL 101 and ASL 102 are offered in the fall and spring semesters. These courses are designed for beginners and are taught by Irene Schock.

Course Syllabi

Why Study ASL?

  • American Sign Language (ASL) is the language of the Deaf community in the United States and much of Canada. It is critical for communication and also the vehicle necessary to gain access to the rich heritage of Deaf culture.
  • ASL is estimated to be the 4th most commonly used language in the U.S.
  • ASL uses a gestural-visual modality in which manual signs, facial expressions, and body movements and postures all convey complex linguistic information. Learning ASL can give students a new perspective on how human languages are structured. Because ASL uses a different modality of expression than the oral-auditory modality of spoken languages, students begin to discover properties that are common to all languages.
  • ASL is not a derivate of English.  It is a fully developed language, with its own systems for articulation, forming words and sentences, and meaning.
  • Knowledge of ASL gives you access to another literary tradition, found in both poetry and theater.
  • Students of ASL also learn about other aspects of American Deaf culture, including the values and outlooks of Deaf people, and social and educational aspects of deafness.
  • The study of ASL provides practical training for students entering a range of professions in the field of deafness, and may strengthen students' qualifications for various non-deafness careers. Study of ASL also provides excellent preparation to students for professional careers as:
    • sign language interpreters
    • sign language instructors
    • counselors
    • government specialists
    • audiologists
    • speech pathologists
    • program administrators
    • community service personnel


Students sign for ASL class