Crazy: I notice there are some other forms of sign which I "dunno," so,--do
those people still
understand ASL? It's like the same word, but they sign it in a totally different way.
DrVicars: Regarding other forms of signing: There are a wide variety of signing styles.
sign SEE, others use a "contact signing" system, (you might hear
people talk about PSE or pidgin signed English or a pidgin system--but I
prefer to call it "contact signing," while others use ASL. Most
adult Deaf seem to understand multiple variations just fine (even though
most prefer ASL). There are also different "registers" of signing. Meaning--you
can sign the same
sign more formally or more casually. The standard registers include: Frozen, formal,
casual, and intimate.
DrVicars: Sometimes we codeswitch to a different system.
KC: 'code switch?'
DrVicars: People codeswitch when they adjust or change their current style of siging
to one of
the other signing systems out there.
DrVicars: For example, I might change from ASL to "contact
signing" if a Hearing person walks up. Then after a while--if he seems to sign ASL just fine--I will
switch back to ASL. Codeswitching can help save time. I don't have to repeat myself, if I go
on signing ASL for
minutes then I might have to repeat the same information again when I realize the newcomer doesn't
Decca: What does SEE stand for?
DrVicars: Signing Exact English. Later some people started saying that it means Seeing
Essential English. I've heard it was because many parents (back in the old days) had a
with signing and so the school administrators were using the second term to get rid of the
"Signing." Around that same time they (the teachers and other people who used
some of the rules of SEE and thus some people started calling it SEE1 and SEE2.
My informal surveys of the Deaf Community show that 99.77 percent of them don't give a fig
(or have any idea of the existence) about the 1 or the 2. Most just lump any English-like signing under SEE
Signed English and they lump any ASL-like signing under ASL. The exception are certain ASL
teachers who become a bit rabid about their own version of ASL or the version of ASL
in the text book they are using.
In general, just remember that the SEE methods are invented sign systems. They
are intended to represent English on the hands. The intent is to help Deaf children
learn English by representing it visually. There is some "confusion" out there in the literature.
Regardless of "reality" and "historical fact" people in the
Deaf Education field have been using SEE 1 to mean Seeing Essential English. SEE 1 signs
are primarily based on English Syllables.
They've been using SEE 2 in reference to Signing Exact English. SEE 2 signs are
primarily based on the 2 of three rule: Spelling, pronunciation, and meaning, if two
concepts share two of the three characteristics they will use the same sign. The
concept "wind" in the sentences "I need to wind my watch," and,
"I need wind to fly my kite," would be signed differently in each sentence.
DrVicars: Code switching is somewhat like when you are at a party talking to an adult.
child comes and asks you something--you switch your level of communication to that which
child would understand. Then after she has left, you switch back to your adult style.
Lii: I had a funny experience when I was doing the 1990 census. I floundered a whole
I met this deaf couple. (I had no idea how to sign then.) They were so patient with me, I
no trouble communicating to them and them to me. They became friends with me until they
moved out of town. So even though I knew not how to sign, they taught me a lot!
DrVicars: Good story Lii. Many of my current students take classes because of similar
experiences. I guess a moral for that story might be: "The Deaf can communicate with
you if you
and they are both patient enough." But we do need to be careful about generalizing.