Some wonder about the origin of ASL and often say that it has no country of origin. How nearsighted are those folks.
American Sign Language is relatively new in the history of sign languages around the world due to the introduction of French Sign Language into the grammatical structure. This happened when Thomas H. Gallaudet brought Laurent Clerc from Paris to Connecticut to start up a school for the deaf.
This is common knowledge; however, we would be remiss to neglect our own homegrown languages that may not have made much sense (or most) to each other prior to the introduction of LSF. One known sign language is Martha's Vineyard Sign Language. It's historical lineage has been analyzed to be from the Kent area of the United Kingdom. Martha's Vineyard SL (MVSL) evolved due to a dense population of deaf people 1 out of 25 on the island off the cost of Massachusetts. In another way, like American English, MVSL was influenced by British sign language users.
Like spoken languages, sign languages are not easily recorded, with today's technology our language has been recorded freely and easily accessible. What we know about the American origin of ASL is based on knowledge, experiences, and records which are few. We can also discount that there were a few isolated patches of sign languages in the areas of the nation before it became a country. We have influences from the Native Indians who also had their own sign languages, whether it was purely for religious/ritual use or for cross cultural communications. We know so little about the Native Indian sign languages that we are only beginning to relearn them. Hopefully we will see how much influence they had on the evolution of ASL that we can properly give due respect.
So imagine when the American School for the Deaf was established, when LSF developed as a grammatical feature, we have native signers from Martha's Vineyard, the isolated patches of local sign languages, including influence from Native Indian sign languages, that the evolution of American Sign Language has its start with a two-thirds origin of sign language influence by native populations residing in America.
Thus American Sign Language's country of origin is America. Even if we do have some signs borrowed from LSF.
To Be Whole
Currently I am an ASL teacher at a local college and at an high school. I received my Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. At home, I am an activist within the community, Northwest Indiana. My son is in first grade and my daughter goes to E.C.L.I.P.S.E. ASL Preschool. Change begins with you and change is effective with a team.