Deaf culture

ASL Zone: the boundary of Deaf space

ASL zone is a space where our language is used only in visual-spatial modality in some places such as schools for the Deaf, ASL classrooms and ASL instructors' offices, Gallaudet University campus, and Deaf gatherings where using voice is considered disrespectful. It's a norm in Deaf culture.

ASL zone sign
Image created by Jolanta Lapiak at

Hearing people who do know sign language are expected to use the signed language with other signers, whether hearing or Deaf. If a hearing person doesn't know any signed language, helping the hearing person by using vocal communication is understandable in some contexts.

sign language spoken here
A street zone sign can be seen at many Deaf schools, classrooms, offices, Deaf clubs, and such.

Some schools for the Deaf have a street sign notice on a wall to remind.

sign language only on campus
Photo by the KSD, June 2013.

This street sign at the Kentucky School for the Deaf is really nice to push the unwritten rule into a solid notice.

ASL zone online, too!

And one more funny thing.

On a few occasions, a user emailed me, explaining about their trouble or struggle with the videos that sound didn't work properly on this handspeak website, even though they never had any problem on any other websites. Another wrote, "Just curious. Do any of the videos have sound? If so, what plug-in do I need to be able to access the sound portion."

My reply to them explains that this website is an ASL zone, which means no sound on virtually all videos on this website. They replied back with a sheepish laugh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not only the ASL zone is practiced in the physical or non-digital world, it's also applicable in the online world.

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