Ranking of ASL as a "Spoken Language"?
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Sign Language FAQ
What is the ranking of ASL (American Sign Language) as a "Spoken Language"?

Research by Lane, Hoffmeister and Bahan suggests in a study, publish in 1996, that ASL ranks after Spanish, Italian, German and French in sequence of highest percentage in use, and if English the most commonly used language is excluded.
They suggest that ASL ranks six in the USA with estimated users in the order of 500,000 to 2,000,000 signers (speakers). Harlan Lane, Robert Hoffmeister, and Ben Bahan - A journey into the deaf-world (San Diego, Calif.: DawnSignPress, 1996, p.42).


ASL is reputed by another group to be used as much as the 4th most common used languages of the lesser group of languages in the US.


Other researchers suggest surprisingly, an even higher ranking and claims, ASL could be as high as the 3rd most used language in the US as mentioned in Trudy Suggs book. It is the 1st language of the Deaf Community in North America.

The above failure to give a monotropism figure clearly shows the lack of credible statistics because, no census for deaf and hard of hearing in the US exists. As we have discussed in "What percentage of functionally deaf Americans are employed in the US?", hereunder the difficulties in obtaining exact figures are a nightmare and is almost like walking into quicksand.

The fact that not only Deaf people make use of ASL, complicates the matter, for we cannot translate statistics derived from health departments (records of born deaf or acquired deafness), as a means to configurate ASL users, as it is suggested, for each deaf person 4 hearing persons (related or friends) will use a sign language in general, but not all these will use ASL.