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The Start of Something New

SHELLEY LIN
Staff Writer

Like many other languages in the world, advancements and transformations were applied in American Sign Language (ASL) throughout history. ASL was created by Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet in 1814. According to Start American Sign Language, only a few thousand Americans were deaf during the early 1800s; hence, no standard signed language existed at this time, but various signing systems were created in the deaf communities. These sign systems are now known as Old American Sign Language. The ASL of today is actually related to this language. Gallaudet met and took care of his neighbor, Alice Cogswell, who was deaf and instantly became interested in helping the non-hearing. After constant research, he and Laurent Clerc, a deaf educator from Europe, established the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817. The first college for the deaf, National Deaf-Mute College, opened in 1864. It is now known as Gallaudet University, the first and only deaf university in the world.

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