ASL Zone: the boundary of Deaf space

ASL zone is a space where our language is used only in visual-spatial modality at 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 known norm in Deaf culture.

ASL zone sign
Image created by Jolanta Lapiak at

Hearing people who do know ASL are expected to use ASL with other ASL speakers, whether hearing or Deaf. If a hearing person knows no ASL, helping the hearing person by using vocal communication is understandable.

sign language spoken here
A street zone sign can be seen at many Deaf schools, 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.

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

And one more funny thing.

On a few separate occasions, a few users emailed me, explaining about their trouble or struggle with the videos that sound didn't work properly on this handspeak website, even though they had no problem on any other websites. I replied that this website is an ASL zone, which mean no sound on videos or on this website. They replied back with an embarrassed laugh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯