Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2431. Findings.

(a) American Sign Language (“ASL”) is one of the top 4 widely used languages in the United States and Canada.

(b) The District of Columbia has over 20,000 deaf and hard of hearing residents, many of whom use ASL as their primary language.

(c) ASL has met the accepted linguistic criteria to qualify as a legitimate language in that it has a system of arbitrary symbols, grammatical signals, syntax, has a community of users, and it has undergone historical changes.

(d) Two-thirds of state legislatures in the United States recognize and accept ASL as a bona fide language.


(Oct. 26, 2001, D.C. Law 14-50, § 2, 48 DCR 7952.)