The History of Sign Language

Sign languages have been around much longer than most people think. Did you know that they existed in ancient Greece? And even before recorded history? To give you some perspective on just how amazing and prolific sign language really is, let’s take a deep dive into the long and colorful history of how signs—and ASL in particular—came to be.

The Earliest Sign Languages

No one knows exactly when sign language first appeared, but many sources agree that using hands to communicate has been around just as long as spoken language. And these early signing systems were the direct result of humans needing a new way to interact. Researchers believe that hunters on the open plains used signs to communicate to each other from great distances. Because of the lack of visual obstruction in a plains environment, sign was the most obvious way to communicate without scaring off the animals they were hunting.

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