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|Lesson 1: Introduction to ASL|
Lesson 1 Checklist:
I have a copy of the Syllabus
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 Signed English
I have a basic idea of the meaning of Pidgin (contact signing)
I have a basic idea of the meaning of Cued Speech
I have a basic idea of the meaning of Rochester Method
I have thought about what Research Paper I'm going to do
I am able to recognize and sign the vocabulary for this lesson
I am able to recognize and sign the practice sentences and story for this lesson
I have taken ASL 101 Lesson 1 quiz #1
I am done with Lesson 1
1. "WHO YOU?"
2. "DEAF YOU?"
3. "STUDENT YOU?"
4. "YOUR TEACHER NAME 'HUH'?"
5. "YOU UNDERSTAND HE/SHE?"
6. "HOW YOU SIGN P-L-E-A-S-E?"
7. "AGAIN YOUR NAME?"
8. "S/HE STUDENT?" [point at teacher]
9. "THIS YOUR?" [point at any object]
10. "WHERE ____"
Practice Sheet: 1.B
1. "NICE me-MEET-you"
2. "HEARING YOU?"
3. "ASL TEACHER YOU?"
4. "WHERE YOU LEARN SIGN?"
5. "WHY YOU LEARN SIGN?"
6. "HOW YOU SIGN T-H-A-N-K-S?"
7. "S/HE STUDENT?" [point at other student]
8. "THEY LEARN SIGN?"
9. "WHO OUR TEACHER?"
10. "WHERE ____"
HI I [spell your first and last name].
Note: Students should practice the story until they can sign it from memory in front of a class or video recorder.
Note: Story 1 is something you might sign when meeting a Deaf person. It is typical for students to tell Deaf people where they are learning sign, who their instructor is, and if their instructor is deaf or hearing. In real life when you are first starting out, you generally won't need to tell them you are hearing--because it will be obvious from your lack of signing skills. Later though when you become fluent at ASL you will certainly want to mention your hearing status and your connection to the Deaf Community.
When Deaf people meet it is obvious that we are Deaf because we tell each other what Deaf school (residential school) we attended (if we did), and when we graduated. Plus if we went to Gallaudet University (a university for the Deaf in Washington D.C.) we'll mention that too.
If we meet at a party (or wherever) I'll want to know where you are from, if you went to a Deaf school, if you went to Gallaudet, what year you graduated, the names of any of your relatives who are Deaf, and or if your teacher is Deaf, etc. When I know your connections and you know mine--we can then proceed very efficiently to share information that will be of interest to each other and have a very fascinating and engaging conversation at a level of familiarity that rarely happens during initial meetings between Hearing people.
Hello, I'm Bill Vicars!
I'm your instructor for this course. Or, if your "in-person" instructor is using this site as a supplement to his or her class then I reckon I'm your "lab instructor." Either way, I'm glad you are here.
I'm happy to have this opportunity to teach you about the language I love.
What is ASL?
According to www.dictionary.com we have:
A quick trip to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (www.m-w.com) and we get:
(Hey, did you notice the date of that entry from Merriam-Webster?
1960! ASL hasn't been "recognized" as a language for very
long has it? Oh sure, the language itself has been around since the
early 1800's but it wasn't until 1960 that "experts" started
recognizing it as a full-blown autonomous language.
"ASL is a visual gestural language." That means it is a language that is expressed through the hands and face and is perceived through the eyes. It isn't just waving your hands in the air. If you furrow your eyebrows, tilt your head, glance in a certain direction, twist your body a certain way, puff your cheek, or any number of other "inflections" --you are adding or changing meaning in ASL. A "visual gestural" language carries just as much information as an oral/aural (mouth/ear) language.
Is ASL limited to just the United States and Canada? No. ASL is also used in varying degrees in the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong. (See notes below. L1.1).
Is ASL a universal language? Nope. Not even close. Those countries I just mentioned have their own signed languages. ASL is the dominant signed language in North America, plus it is used to some extent in quite a few other countries, but it is certainly not understood by deaf people everywhere.
Heather: Did we get ASL from Native American sign language?
Bill: Good question, let's talk a bit about the history of ASL:
So, in 1815 Gallaudet headed for Europe in search of methods for teaching the deaf.
He approached a number of program directors, (the Braidwood schools, the London Asylum, etc.), but none of them were willing to share their techniques with Gallaudet.
Fortunately while in England Gallaudet met up with the director of a Paris school for the deaf, a man by the name of Sicard.
Sicard was there with two of his deaf pupils, Jean Massieu and Laurent Clerc who were also teachers at the school in Paris. They were in England giving demonstrations on how to teach the deaf by using sign language. The Paris school, which had been founded by the Abbe Charles Michel de L'Epee in 1771, was using French Sign Language in combination with a set methodically developed signs.
Gallaudet persuaded Clerc to return with him to the States and in 1817 the first American school for the deaf was established in the city of Hartford, Connecticut.
Over time, the signs used at that school, plus the signs that were already being used by Deaf people in America evolved into what we now know as American Sign Language.
It is important to note that sign language was being used here in America before Gallaudet and Clerc set up the school. One example (that you might want to research more) took place in Martha's Vineyard. At one time many Deaf people lived there and all or almost all of the townsfolk knew how to sign whether or not they were deaf!
That doesn't mean that there aren't deaf people in the U.S. who consider themselves as being disabled. There are indeed many such individuals, but they are generally not fluent in ASL and are not considered members of the core (culturally) Deaf Community. When I use the term Deaf Community, I'm talking about people who are culturally Deaf.
You will see the term "deaf" spelled with a capital "D" throughout many of these pages. I try to remember to capitalize "Deaf" when I'm talking about people or a person who is "culturally Deaf." When I'm talking about people who are culturally "Hearing" but physically deaf, I tend to spell it with a lowercase letter "d."
People who feel that being Deaf is about "language, culture, and a visual orientation to life" subscribe to the "cultural model" of Deafness.
People who feel that "deafness is problem to be solved" subscribe to the "pathological model" or the "medical model" of deafness and are not culturally Deaf.
Lesson 1 Practice
Note L1.1: ASL is also used in varying degrees in Philippines, Ghana,
Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic, Cote
d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, Singapore,
If you need a good research topic for your research paper, you might consider finding the latest statistics on how many "deaf" people live in the U.S. and/or Canada.
|For teachers of ASL: Sample lesson plan for lesson 1|