Washington - ”English is not my first language,” writes Nakia Smith on her TikTok account, although the 22-year-old grew up in Texas. The young African American woman has been deaf since birth, and uses her large online following to promote her little-known dialect: Black American Sign Language. In her video clips, she tells her 400,000 followers about the differences between her language and the standard American Sign Language (ASL). Among other things, she signs with two hands rather than one, uses more space and makes more use of facial expressions. Smith tells her followers that to sign “paper” in ASL, a person mimics a sheet of paper by tapping the left hand with the right hand, while moving the latter outwards.In Black American Sign Language, the person waves both thumbs outwards at shoulder level.

                  

                  

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