Learning about diversity on Sesame Street with actor Troy Kotsur

The recent Oscar winner used American Sign Language to communicate with The Count and Rosita
Troy celebrates his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film Coda. (ID 244872040 © Hutchinsphoto | Dreamstime.com)


This past March, actor Troy Kotsur made history by becoming the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar at the Academy Awards. It was quite the big honour ... almost as big a deal as getting to hang out with the characters on Sesame Street!

That's where he found himself last week. Kotsur made an appearance on the timeless kids TV program alongside The Count and Rosita to speak about The Word of the Day: Diversity.

He was also joined by his friend, Zavier, who translated what his new Muppet pals were saying into American Sign Language (ASL) for him.

What is American Sign Language?

This most well-known sign language is used in Deaf communities all over North America, as well as in other parts of the world. When a person uses a sign language to communicate, it is called signing.

ASL has up to 500,000 users globally, and the style and speed with which a person signs can change slightly from region to region. It is similar to how people from different parts of the world have different accents in their speech.

ASL uses both manual (hand-based) and non-manual (with other parts of the body) motions for communication. The same hand signal can mean many different things depending on where that sign is made or if a certain part of the body is being touched as the sign is made. Facial expressions and shoulder or arm movements are also important, too!

Putting it all together

Something that it is great about this appearance is that it merges three different languages—ASL, English, and Spanish—and repeats several words often. If you don't know ASL, we're very certain that you'll be able to sign a few words pretty quickly!

Sign 'diversity' with Troy and his friends in the video below!


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