Gallaudet offers German signing course

19-year-old Michelle Morris of Florida, says she finds learning German easy. She’s doing a degree [at Gallaudet University] in International Studies and aiming for a career with the United Nations. “That means I need to learn a foreign language,” she said using sign language…One of Morris’ fellow students, Martin Dayan of France, moved countries to attend the university. “Gallaudet is the only university to offer degrees in the humanities for the deaf,” he noted…Classes are given in American Sign Language (ASL), which is recognized as an independent language. While an international sign language does exist, it is not as complex as some of the hundreds of other sign languages used around the world. ASL also differs greatly from British sign language, for instance, even though the United States and the United Kingdom share English as a primary language…The students should receive the best education possible, said university spokeswoman Mercy Coogan. “We’re a springboard for the students, and they can do everything here that other students do at other universities – and they’re right in Washington, DC.” Some of the Gallaudet students go on to do internships at the US Congress or the White House, she noted…The future for German at Gallaudet University, on the other hand, is uncertain, with looming budget cuts putting the study of the language at risk.

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