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___ I am able to define the term ASL
___ I know the common handshapes used in ASL.
___ I am able to fingerspell my name in ASL
___ I am able to count to five in ASL (numbers)
___ I am able to briefly describe the history of ASL
___ I am able to briefly state the gist of Deaf Culture
___ I have a basic idea of the meaning of the difference between ASL and Signed English
___ I have a basic idea of the meaning of Pidgin (contact signing)
___ I am able to recognize and sign the vocabulary for this lesson (see below)
___ I am able to recognize and sign the practice sentences for this lesson (see below)
___ I have done a practice quiz
___ I have checked with my instructor regarding how and where to take any graded quizzes.
Dear ASL Heroes,
Allow me to share with you this bit of information from an article in Perspectives in Education and Deafness:
"There are more than 500,000 words in the English language, but a person who masters only 250 words will recognize more than two-thirds of all words shown in television captions—provided the 250 words are those that are most frequently used. Equally dramatic, a beginning reader could be taught just 10 words—the, you, to, a, I, and, of, in, it, that—and then recognize more than one out of every five words. Mastery of the top 79 words means being able to read half of all words captioned." (Source: Perspectives in Education and Deafness, Volume 16, Number 1, September/October 1997)
What if we were to apply that same concept (word frequency) to learning sign language?
The main series of lessons in the ASL University curriculum are based on accelerated language acquisition techniques that make use of "word frequency" research. (What are the most common concepts and words used in everyday communication?)
I took the most frequently used concepts and translated them into their ASL equivalents and embedded them into the lessons starting with the highest frequency of use language concepts.
Thus the lessons are designed to help a student reach communicative competence very quickly-- based on science combined with over two decades of real world teaching experience.
The order in which content is introduced is a balance between "functions" (what you want to do or accomplish) and "language frequency" (what you most often say to others to accomplish those functions). Thus while some of the lessons may seem to be random, in actuality each vocabulary concept was specifically selected to expedite (speed up) the rate at which you can actually use the language for everyday communication tasks.
-- Dr. Bill
Note: these are not English words, they are labels for sign concepts--many of which have several different meanings--depending on context and inflection.
AGAIN / repeat / re- / over /
HEARING (culturally) / speak / say / public
NICE / clean
SIGN (as in "signing")
Just point at the person or thing: HE/SHE/IT/ME/YOU/THIS
Use a sweeping movement: THEY/them/those, YOU-all, WE/us
Practice Sheet: 1.A
01. YOU what-NAME? (You are named what?) Also see: (What is your name?)
02. DEAF YOU? (Are you Deaf?)
03. STUDENT YOU? (Are you a student?)
04. YOUR TEACHER what-NAME? (What is your teacher's name?)
05. YOU UNDERSTAND HE/SHE? (Do you understand him/her?)
Practice Sheet: 1.B
06. INDEX-[that-person] WHO? [point at someone] (Who is he/she/that?)
07. AGAIN, YOU what-NAME? (What is your name again?)
08. S/HE STUDENT S/HE? [point at teacher] (Is she or he a student?)
09. THIS YOUR? [point at any object] (Is this yours?)
10. "_______" WHERE? [spell the name of a person in the room]
Practice Sheet: 1.C
11. NICE MEET-you (It is nice to meet you.)
12. HEARING YOU? (Are you a hearing person?)
13. ASL TEACHER YOU? (Are you a teacher?)
14. YOU LEARN SIGN, WHERE? (Where are you learning sign?)
15. YOU LEARN SIGN, WHY ? (Why are you learning sign?)
Practice Sheet: 1.D
16. T-H-A-N-K-S how-SIGN? (How do you sign thanks?)
17. STUDENT, HE/SHE ? [point at other student] (Is she or he a student?)
18. THEY LEARN SIGN? (Are they learning sign language?)
19. YOUR TEACHER, WHO? (Who is your teacher?)
20. YOU LIKE LEARN SIGN? (Do you like learning sign language?)
YES, NO, THERE-(point),
Raise your eyebrows at the end of questions that can be answered with a yes or no.
Lower your eyebrows at the end of questions that should be answered with more than a yes or no.
Questions that need to be answered with more than a yes or no are typically referred to as "WH"-questions because they usually involve signs such as, "who, what, when, where, why," and so forth.
For example, in a sentence such as: "Do you understand him/her?" (YOU UNDERSTAND HE/SHE, YOU?) -- the eyebrows are raised since it is a question that can be answered with a "yes" or a "no." Think of the second you as actually being, "(do)-YOU?"
Another "yes/no"-question example: "Do you like to meet Deaf people?"
= "YOU LIKE MEET DEAF?" (Which could also be signed "YOU LIKE MEET DEAF (do)-YOU?") The "(do)-YOU" sign is simply a combination of eyebrows raised while pointing at the person with whom you are signing.
Story 1 (Note: I'll be adding more and more videos to this website as time goes on. That's me (Dr. Bill) telling the story below. The stories are simply made up for practice purposes.)