American Sign Language is alanguage that incorporates mime,and picture-like images toexpress and convey abstractideas and concepts. Also, ASLuses space and movement toconvey meaning.
Did you know that90% of Deaf havehearing parents?
ASL is used inCanada and theU.S.
ASL is mostsimilar to FrenchSign Language
ASL and the culture aretransmitted from generationto generation primarilythrough residential schoolsand Deaf adults.
Did you know thatfacial expression,head movements, andeye gaze in ASL isprimarily grammatical?
While watchinganother person sign,it is appropriate tofocus on the signersface.
Fingerspelling is mainlyused to give names ofpeople, places, andidentify brands or movietitles.
Deaf people preferto be called “Deaf”not hearing impairedand NEVER deaf anddumb!
The most effectiveway to communicatewith a Deaf person is touse sign language or aninterpreter.
You should always useyour dominant hand tosign. If you areambidextrous, choose onehand as your dominanthand and be consistent.
Fingerspelled loan signs are two tofive letter, commonly used wordsthat have their own unique patternsof movement. These movements aredifferent from regularfingerspelling. Instead, these wordshave become ASL signs. Examples:dog, OK, car, bus, bank, early,….
When you see afingerspelled word you shouldtry to see the shape andmovement pattern of theword rather than try to seeeach letter.
When you fingerspell aword try to keep youhand slightly to the rightof your face and belowyour chin. Avoidbouncing each letter.
Fingerspelling is not a substitutefor a sign. If you don’t know asign for a word, first try to actit out, point to it, describe,gesture, draw. Fingerspellingshould be used as a last resort.
Remember to use spatial organizingwhen talking about people, places,or things (referents) that are notin the immediate environment.Establish a specific location for“referents”, name it, and then youcan refer to it again by pointing tothe same location.
To answer a question with anegative response you can:shake your head not, sign “no”,answer the question with thecorrect information, or you cansign “none”.
• The typical grammarfor ASL istime, topic, andcomment.
Did you know that in theDeaf Culture when youarrive late to a meeting itis expected that you stopand explain why you werelate?
How would you get a Deafperson’s attention? Simply,wave to the person or touchthe person. Other commonlyused modes are to flash thelights or stomp on the floor.
What would you do if you need topass between two people signing? Itis socially appropriate to walkbetween the signers. As you aredoing so slightly bow your head andsign “excuse me”. If it is a groupof people signing it is best to goaround the group.
Did you know that when two Deafpeople meet for the first timethey usually share informationabout what school they attended.This helps them to establish theirties with the Deaf community.
Deaf people strengthen theirsocial bonds by participatingin Deaf clubs and activitiessuch as, athletictournaments, churches,picnics, and other socialevents.
• When you meet a Deaf person forthe first time they will want to know:1. your first and last name2. whether you are deaf, hard ofhearing, or hearing3. who is teaching you the languageand culture4. where you are studyingwhy you are learning ASL
Name signs should beEARNED by a Deafperson; hearing peopleshould not invent theirown name signs.
Only a small percentage of hearingparents learn sign language.Consequently, Deaf children developstrategies for communicating withpeople who do not sign. Somestrategies are: pen and paper,gesturing, lipreading, speech, adaptingsigns to other (home signs) or using aninterpreter.
• Some strategies to help you communicatewith a Deaf person:1. Let the Deaf person know you can sign2. Let the Deaf person set the communicationpattern to be used3. Avoid talking (voicing) in the presence of aDeaf person without signingAvoid “eyedropping” on other people signing
When signingnumbers, 1-5should be signedpalm in.
In 1817, theAmerican Schoolfor the Deaf wasstarted inHartford, Conn.
In 1864 the firstuniversity for theDeaf was established:Gallaudet University
Sign Language hand formationsHand shapeHand locationHand movementHand orientation
BellringerMany schools use a philosophy calledTotal Communication (TC). This meansevery type of communication includingASL, lip reading, and oral speech aretaught.
BellringerThe first school for the deaf,the Institut Roual desSourds-Muets; (RoyalInstitute for the Deaf andmute) was established inParis during the 18thcentury.
BellringerLaurent Clerc becamethe first United Statesdeaf sign languageteacher.
BellringerASL is now the fourthmost used languagein the United States.