American Sign Language is a visual language made up of specific gestures (signs), hand shapes and facial expressions. They are organized into sentences in accordance with the specific rules and grammatical structures of ASL. American Sign Language has very specific grammatical rules; however, just as two people do not write exactly alike, each person develops his or her unique style of signing.
There are many different sign languages in the world just as there are many spoken languages. ASL is not universal. American Sign Language is used by most Deaf people in the United States and Canada. In Quebec, Deaf people use Quebec Sign Language (LSQ).
There are also variations in sign language due to influences including regions where the signer lives, racial or ethnic group, sex, age, and the context in which certain signs are used.
Learning any language takes a great deal of time, energy and commitment. To be able to sign is only part of the process. You must also be able to understand ASL signed by a native user. People learn at different rates so it’s difficult to predict how long it will take to learn ASL.