American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual/gestural language. It is the first language of many Deaf people in the United States, Canada, and parts of Africa. ASL developed naturally over time, and it has all of the same features as other languages. It is a rule-governed system that uses symbols to represent meaning. In Spoken languages, those symbols are words; in ASL, the symbols are specific had configurations and movements that are modified by facial expressions to convey meaning. These gestures or symbols are called signs.
ASL is a unique and distinct language that does not depend on speech or sound. It is not derived from any spoken language, nor is it a visual code to represent English. ASL has its own vocabulary, which includes idioms, slang, style, and regional variation; it also has a distinct grammar that governs rules for sentence construction.
With these gestures and hand movements to complete the understanding of the sign you also include facial expressions to get the meaning across. Signers will have a variety of different expressions to indicate a question, statement, feeling, distance and many more areas that need to be implied in the conversation.
About Ms. McGowen:
I have had the joy of teaching at Taylor High School for 4 years now and love working with my students. I myself took ASL as my foreign language while in high school. My school days were spent right down the road in Manor from 8th grade through graduation. When I decided to take ASL Manor didn't offer it and I therefore went to Austin Community College (ACC) to take my language. So at the age of 16 I was a college student taking my foreign language. I finished ASL 1-4 at ACC in one year. So for my Sr. year of High School I was able to attend Texas School for the Deaf for one class of my school day. This enabled me to join sign choir and socialize with people my own age and be imbedded in Deaf culture.
Upon graduation from high school I started back at ACC for the transition into full time college. I was then accepted into Lamar University into the Theatre Department. As a student at Lamar I was able to participate in the Disney College Program and spend 8 months working at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I then completed my time at Lamar completing a degree of B.S. in Theatre.
After working in the theatre world for short time I then went to California to attend Cinema Make-up School to learn how to do Make-up for film and print. Upon completion of my program I was able to work on films in the Los Angeles area.
I eventually found my way back to my love of ASL and decided to teach. It has been a wonderful experience and am happy to share my experiences with my students.
Taylor provides students the ability to take ASL 1-4.