An introduction to sign language

A new course on American Sign Language taught students the principles of the language and basic conversational strategies.

For the first time, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offered an introduction to American Sign Language course this summer.

The inaugural course was taught by visiting lecturer Judi Labath, who has been teaching sign language for 25 years.

“I think the students are thoroughly enjoying the class,” said Labath. “This is stimulating their curiosity about how our minds work with languages and how different languages work together.”

The Summer School course was the first step in what the College of Arts & Sciences’ linguistics department hopes will lead to more advanced courses.

During the class, students learned new terminology and basic conversational strategies.

Junior global studies major Kelsey Patterson enrolled in the class in hopes that it will help her better understand different languages during future trips overseas.

“Sign language is not an obstacle,” said Patterson, who is minoring in French. “It’s just another way of communicating for us. I want to go to different countries and communicate with people of different origins and backgrounds. That’s what this class helps with.”

By Johnny Andrews, University Communications