Unformatted text preview: American Sign Language: "Its Not Mouth Stuff It's Brain Stuff" Richard Wolkomir As Presented By Stephanie Lorilla and Vivian Trinh Overview Introduction to ASL "Hand Talk": A Genuine Language "Wherever We've Found Deaf People, There's Sign" The Silent World of Sign A Key Language Ingredient: Grammar Thinking and Dreaming in Sign Conclusion Discussion Questions Introduction to ASL A visual language A completely different language from English Possesses its own syntax An important object of study for answers about how people acquire & use language "Hand Talk": A Genuine Language Bill Stokoe: English Professor, Gallaudet University Taught Sign Language at Gallaudet University, the only Liberal Arts University for Deaf People When he was taught ASL, it was thought to be a form of pidgin English Realized that Deaf People had their own Culture Came out with the first dictionary of ASL based on Linguistic Principles Told by the university president that his research was "causing too much trouble"
to orient the hand and arm, and the movement of the sign Chose from a palette of hand shapes, where to make the sign, how "Wherever We've Found Deaf People, There's Sign" Sign language is an evolving language Sprung up independently from many different places Began with simple gestures, but then evolved into a true language with structured grammar Invented "methodical signing", a hybrid of a form of sign language with his imposed French grammar Opened the door for education for Deaf People French Sign Language blended with local sign languages and evolved into today's ASL France 1700s: Abbe de l'EpeeA French priest De I'Epee/French method of teaching sign was brought to the US in 1800s "Wherever We've Found Deaf People, There's Sign" 1869: Antisigners argued that ASL let the deaf talk only to the deaf Felt that the deaf must learn to speak and lip read Prosigners said that through sign, the deaf learn to read and write in English
should be spent on real education also argued that lipreading is a skill few master argued that the hours required to teach a deaf child to mimic speech 1970s: new federal law mandated "mainstreaming", to allow parents the choice of the place of children's education, thus allowing deaf children to legally learn within public institutions Result: deaf children at public institutions felt isolated and uncomfortable, due to lack of services for them at the schools The Silent World of Sign Research shows that children most learn a language during their first 5 years or risk permanent linguistic impairment Over 90% of deaf children have hearing parents Signers use certain facial expressions as grammatical markers Most deaf people want to keep ASL to themselves to maintain social identity and group solidarity A Key Language Ingredient: Grammar Ursula Bellugi: pioneer ASL investigator... Researched and saw that ASL has many words with transparent meanings Research findings show that language, visual or spoken, is under control of the left hemisphere Another test showed that learning sign language improves the mind's ability to grasp patterns in space Found that maintenance or repetition of hand shape provides rhyming while meter occurs in timing and type of movement Clayton Valli Thinking & Dreaming in Signs Karen Emmorey Her lab found that deaf people are better at generating and manipulating mental images Found that deaf babies of deaf parents babble in sign Laura Ann Pettito Conclusion Today's new technologies enable the deaf to communicate over telephone, relay services and video programs for language instruction The Americans with Disabilities Act gives more support to those who are hearing impaired Deaf people are moving into more professional jobs and have more opportunities that ever before Discussion Questions In your opinion, would you consider ASL a natural language or a pidgin language? In other words, is ASL its own independent language or a derivative from another language? Do you think that ASL is only comprehensible to native English speakers or would it be understood by foreign signers as well? ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course ASIA 122 at San Jose State.