If there is one thing TikTok is good for, it’s teaching users new information and skills. One 30-minute scroll down the For You Page and you’ve already learned a new recipe, a life hack, even how to train your dog to whisper bark (yes that’s a thing). Outside of all the fun and trivial things you can learn on the app, users also may find themselves acquiring new life skills daily. There are videos that teach you breathwork techniques, crochet tips and more. Now users are on the app learning American Sign Language, but with a twist. They are using ASL to interpret trending sounds on the app.
What is American Sign Language
ASL is an impressive and relatively new language. It first appeared in the 1800s with the founding of the first successful American School for the Deaf by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Prior to its inception, people all across the world were using their own type of sign language. When Gallaudet founded ASD, students from all over the country had their own special languages which created language contact. That eventually developed into ASL. As more schools for the deaf started to pop up, the teachings of American Sign Language expanded.
ASL’s Growth in Popularity
Before it became a trend on TikTok, ASL, along with accessibility for hearing-impaired users, was growing in popularity throughout the country. On the app specifically, it’s not uncommon to see people using the language when talking in their videos. Many content creators would add captions at the bottom of their videos as well.
Social media sites are allowing users to add adjustments to their posts for hearing-impaired individuals such as alt text and auto-captions. These tools have been requested for years and now social media sites are catching on. Roughly, 250,000 – 500,000 people of all ages throughout the US and Canada use ASL to communicate as their native language.
With the growth of accessibility online, we have seen people going viral for their use of ASL. The most recent viral sensation is Justina Miles.
Justina Miles grew in popularity overnight. She was the first deaf Black woman to interpret the Superbowl’s pregame and halftime shows. Although many have signed ASL at the Superbowl, what made her stand out was the performance she gave for those at home. While Rihanna was on stage giving viewers a show, Miles was doing the same. Her performance reached all across the internet and then TikTok entered the chat.
More users on the app were excited to learn American Sign Language due to Miles’ performance. As a first step, many are learning how to sign trending sounds.
Interpreting TikTok Sounds
Of course, it wouldn’t be TikTok if users didn’t add their own flair to a trend. Trending sounds from all over the app have been used as a means to entertain and educate.
One sound being used originated from a Zeus Network show, Baddies West. Cast member, Razor, was angered about an altercation with fellow cast member, Scotty. While someone was trying to calm her down, Razor said to the castmate, “Aint that yo’ friend?” Now everyone on TikTok is signing that phrase.
Several trending sounds on Tiktok are being interpreted by ASL all over the app and we’re loving it! Users are learning a skill that many believe should be taught in schools nationwide, and they’re having fun while doing so.