Published: April 17, 2024

Name: Rio Mashimo  
Advisor: TA Kanupriya Kale, Prof. Natalie Grothues
Class: LING 1000: Language in US Society
Semester: Fall 2023
LURA 2024


The Wonders of American Sign Language (ASL)

In any community, language is the most important method for communicating with others. However, for a deaf person like me, it is difficult to connect with many people and speak in the same ways. This is where American Sign Language (ASL) can help to communicate with others inside and outside of the Deaf community. In this blog, I want to share what I have learned using American Sign Language (ASL), which is used differently in different places, showing how diverse the community is.

American Sign Language isn't the same everywhere and is one of 300 sign languages globally; each sign language owns its own rules. ASL is out of the common from English. It's visual, not written. When using ASL, facial movements aren't just expressions—they show grammar. For example, eyebrow position reveal grammar, while mouth movements give details. Eye gaze and head movements have definitions. Fingerspelling in ASL spells words, not single letters.

ASL is not one large entity, but a group of regional dialects and cultural influences. When I learned some of the ASL, I found out it’s not the same everywhere. During a summer program for hearing loss, I had a chance to meet my peers from Boston. I noticed that we used our American Sign Language (ASL) differently during our interactions. My sign language style is to give details in a slow and relaxed manner, reflective of the West Coast, whereas my friend from Boston has a more dynamic energy, faster movements, and more clear facial expressions, that are more usual on the East Coast. These opposite sign language techniques appealed not only to the linguistic differences in ASL, but also gave me perspective on the cultural influences that have built up our respective communication styles.

As we were discussing different ways of signing American Sign Language (ASL), a friend of mine from Boston noticed something interesting. “Your ASL is similar to Mexican Sign Language,” she observed, highlighting different approaches to American Sign Language (ASL). The idea made me think about why these connections exist. Growing up near Mexico influenced my ASL and I became aware of how signs shared by American Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language show how cultures have an effect on our communication, especially in the case of where we are from or how we express ourselves. Watching how languages develop and change over time has been really interesting and amazing. Also, my friend noticed that I sign differently between “travel”, “slow”, and “name” which are mostly the same as Mexican Sign Language but show how diverse sign languages are in different places. This highlights how complex and varied sign languages can be.

In conclusion, we can see that ASL has many different attractions and is used as an expression of recovery. American Sign language (ASL) may be different from region to region, but the principles are the same without the basic rules and the formations of the signs. Because sign language is a visual language, it is very important to communicate not only with the hands and body, but also with the facial expressions. Learning how people use American Sign Language (ASL) helps us to have a better understanding of the culture, developing our understanding of the unique characters and observations of Deaf people all over the world.


Title Image Credit 

Katelyn C. (2024). Black and white images of the Golden Gate Bridge on the left and Statue of Liberty on the right West sits next to the Golden Gate Bridge and East sits on the right of Statue of Liberty.


  1. Deafies in Drag. (October 2022). Sign Language Accents. YouTube.
  2. University of Colorado Boulder. (n.d.) Why study ASL and Deaf culture? Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. College of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved from

  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (n.d.) American Sign Language.