ARC Deaf Culture ASL Studies

What is American Sign Language?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

Sign language is not a universal language -- each country has its own sign language, and regions have dialects, much like the many languages spoken all over the world. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. Like all languages, ASL is a living language that grows and changes over time.

ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and "foreign" language academic degree requirements across the United States. (

What is Deaf Culture?

Deaf Culture is the heart of the Deaf community everywhere in the world. Language and culture are inseparable. They are intertwined and passed down through generations of Deaf people.

The Deaf community is not based on geographic proximity like Chinatown or the Italian District for example. The Deaf community is comprised of culturally Deaf people in the core of the community who use a sign language (e.g. American Sign Language or Langue des Signes Quebecois) and appreciate their heritage, history, literature, and culture.

The Deaf community is also comprised of other individuals who use the language and have an attitude that makes them an accepted part of the community though they may not be in the core of the community. It exists because of the need to get together, the need to relax and enjoy everything while being together.

Deaf culture exists because Deaf people who are educated at residential Deaf schools develop their own Deaf network once they graduate, to keep in touch with everyone. Most of them go on to take on leadership positions in the Deaf community, organize Deaf sports, community events, etc. and become the core of the Deaf community. They ensure that their language and heritage are passed to other peers and to the next generation. They also form links with parents and siblings of Deaf children to strengthen and enlarge the community circle for Deaf children. (

I already know American Sign Language. Do I still have to take American Sign Language I, II, III?

If you have taken ASL courses at another institution, make an appointment with an ARC counselor to see if the course is transferrable. 


Dean:  Diana Hicks
Admin. Asst.: Liliya Dorofeyev
Phone:  (916) 484-8653
Fax:  (916) 484-8366
CoordinatorJill Birchall
Videophone: (916) 877-8520
E- Mail:


Mondays: 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Tuesdays: 3:15 to 8:30 PM
Wednesdays: 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Thursdays: 3:15 to 8:30 PM


Davies Hall 213

Applying for the Interpreter Preparation Program