The ASL-STEM Forum is part of a research venture at the University of Washington which seeks to remove a fundamental obstacle currently in the way of deaf scholars, both students and professionals. Due to its relative youth and widely dispersed user base, American Sign Language (ASL) has never developed standardized vocabulary for the many terms that have arisen in advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This makes it hard for deaf students to learn in their native language, and it makes communication between both deaf and hearing scientists and engineers far more difficult.

As any intro linguistics student could tell you, language use and evolution cannot be dictated by the few, no matter their expertise. This approach has failed time and again throughout history, and, no doubt, this case will be no exception. Instead, languages change because their users choose to change them.

This Forum is an attempt to connect you, all of the ASL users of North America, together so that you can, of your own accord, introduce the necessary vocabulary to your language. This will make it much easier for those in the Deaf community to pursue careers in technical fields.

We currently have 229 users, 2444 topics, and 1806 signs, with more being added all the time.

The ASL-STEM Forum is part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Cyber Community project based out of the University of Washington's Computer Science and Engineering department. The project is led by UW CSE Professor Richard Ladner, as well as a number of others. See our full roster here.