American Sign Language
One form of communication is American Sign Language (ASL). It is a manual language which means that information isn't spoken aloud with sounds. Instead, information is communicated by using handshapes, movements of the hands, arms and body, and facial expressions. It is used mainly by people who are deaf and heard-of-hearing in the United States and Canada.
ASL can be used to send secret messages because most people do not usually know sign language. It works if you are in the same place or room as the person you want to pass information to. When a spy uses American Sign Language, they communicate with their hands using the official signals for ASL words and letters. You can learn many of these signals by visiting the HandSpeak Website.
Even if people know ASL, it can be different from the version of sign language they may use in their own country. For example, British Sign Language (BSL) is different from ASL. Different sign languages are used in different countries or regions.
So, if you are an American and you and your friends learn BSL, chances are that very few people in the USA will know what you're saying. And if you're British, using ASL will help to keep your messages top secret.
Greene, Laura, and Eva Barash Dicker. Sign Language. New York, New York: Franklin Watts, 1981.
Kent, Deborah. American Sign Language. New York, New York: Franklin Watts, 2003.
Copyrighted image of people signing from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1> (October-March, 2004-2005). Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial purposes.
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