ASL is a recognized language in and of itself, and is nothing like English. Language is based on culture, and the Deaf culture is uniquely different than the hearing world. In 1965 William Stokoe, a renown linguist, published research that led to a widespread recognition that sign languages are true languages, exhibiting syntax and morphology, and are not only systems of gesture. Because ASL is silent, the assumption is that the verbal language is the same as the silent, however, the spoken English and silent languages (ASL) could not be more different. Due to its origin, ASL is grammatically structured more like French, than American English. And more importantly, ASL is the cultural backbone of the Deaf community.
Here is another mind blower, ASL is not universal. Every country has their own culture and thus, their own Sign Language. Foreign Language Sign systems are nothing like American Sign Language. For example, in England, their alphabet is a two-handed fingerspelling system, while America’s ASL is a one handed fingerspelling system.