29¢ American Sign Language
Issue Date: September 20, 1993
City: Burbank, CA
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
(Please note: Due to the layout of the pane, the se-tenant may or may not be provided in Scott Catalogue order.)
As many well-known individuals such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Helen Keller, and Marlee Matlin have proven, deafness need not hinder one’s achievements. Thanks to the work of pioneers like Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Alexander Graham Bell, deaf people lead very rich and fulfilling lives.
Using a philosophy known as “total communication,” which includes sign language, lip reading, and oral speech, deaf people can now communicate with one another, as well as with hearing individuals. Today many deaf people in the U.S. use American Sign Language (ASL), which is based on ideas and concepts, rather than individual words. The “I Love You” sign featured on this stamp is one such sign. It combines three letters from the manual alphabet (where different finger positions represent each letter of the alphabet) - I Love You - to form one sign.
Developed in France at the Institute Royal des Sourds-Muets, the manual (or sign) method was brought to the U.S. by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who together with Laurent Clerc founded the Hartford School for the Deaf in 1817. His son Edward later founded Gallaudet University - a liberal arts college exclusively for the deaf - in Washington, D.C.
In the mid-18th century, Frenchman Charles Michel became the first educator to develop a system of spelling out words with a manual alphabet and using simple signs to express whole concepts. From his system developed the French Sign Language, a precursor of American Sign Language (ASL). The fourth most common language in the United States, ASL is used by more than 500,000 deaf people in the U.S. and Canada to express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions.
One such frequently used sign is the “I Love You” sign, which actually combines three letters from the manual alphabet (where finger positions represent each letter of the alphabet) to form one sign.