It was long ago that early man used gestures to express himself. He was the first to use sign language. In 1620 Juan Pablo de Bonet was the one to write a book which had the first alphabet system known to man. He used different signs through hand shapes to represent different sounds of speech. People do believe that Martha’s Vineyard inhabitants have contributed to the invention of sign language. Martha’s Vineyard is off the coast of Massachusetts and this was here that deaf people made use of the sign language because deafness was hereditary and quite common in the 17th century. Though it came after Bonet’s book but still it was the main cause for the development of deaf schools.
In 1771 Abbe Charles Michel de L’Epee found the first school for the deaf in Paris and through the standard sign language created by him, he used to teach them. He got students from all around the country, he picked up signs used by them and created a sign language which eventually became the French sign language and came in wide use.
Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet started the first American school for the deaf in 1817 and were believed to be the inventors for the American Sign Language. Though Laurent was a European and taught French Sign Language but Thomas brought him to America to take his help in the school. The result shows that invention of the American Sign Language was a joint venture of home made signs and French Sign language.