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Dave Wallis, Published November 09 2009

Portraits: David G. Coons

David G. Coons has known how to communicate using American Sign Language for about 50 years because of a deaf family member. He has worked as a certified interpreter for 30 years.

“It’s used wherever human interaction happens,” he says. Coons interprets at conferences locally, nationally and internationally, as well as at the Shrine Circus, Trollwood Performing Arts School performances and courtroom situations.

The Fargo man says ASL has its own vocabulary, a visual one that can also involve movement and facial expressions.

“It’s easier to learn if someone is already bilingual,” he says. “It’s very difficult to display the 3-D language in a two-dimensional picture like a dictionary, so that’s where the Internet has helped. People are using lots of video to teach it.”