This guide serves as a starting place for resources on American Sign Language and deaf culture. In this guide you will find:
"...the beliefs, mores, artistic expressions, behaviors, understanding, and sign language expressions that Deaf people use..."
Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States, page 7
According to the National Association of the Deaf,
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.