Until a few years ago on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts America, the majority of the population used sign language. Before Martha's Vineyard became a haven for holiday makers, it was a busy fishing port with a small deaf community amongst the locals. No one is entirely sure how it happened but it seems that over the years the hearing and deaf children learned to communicate through sign language.
As they grew into adults, their signing continued and was passed on through the generations. It became part of their everyday language. The fishermen would sign from their fishing boats to their wives on dry land how long until they returned and what the size of their catch was. The island has now altered as a consequence of tourists and weekend home owners. However, there are a few older residents who still remember when it was perfectly normal for everyone to sign.