Evolution of Sign Language


The deaf are labeled as "non-persons"

300 B.C.

The deaf were harshly oppressed and denied fundamental rights. Aristotle made a claim about the deaf, saying that since normal humans learn through the spoken language, the deaf were seen as unable to learn or be educated.

Scholars are determined to teach deaf youth


This led to the creation of a signed language.

Geronimo Cardano discovers that learning does not require hearing.


He learnt that they could be taught by a written language.

Juan Pablo de Bonet is inspired to teach the Deaf using hand symbols


He used the methods of writing, reading, and speech reading as well as his manual alphabet to educate the deaf. The hand shapes in this alphabet corresponded to different sounds of speech.

Abbe de L'Epee founds the first free school for deaf people


He taught deaf people how to communicate and spread ideas using gestures, facial expressions, hand signs, and fingerspelling, which is using the sign language alphabet to spell out words. The deaf children had signed at home then brought these signs with them to the school. L’Epee learned all of these different signs and utilized the signs he learned to teach his students French. These signs soon became a standard signed language L’Epee taught to the students. This was known as the Old French Sign Language.
Abbe de L’Epee is now known as the “Father of the Deafs” because of the 21 schools he established.

Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet invent the American Sign Language.


VIS or video interpreting service is introduced.


This was used for public broadcasts, government or political meetings, or video telephones.