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The myth of always needing to fingerspell brand names, proper nouns, and titles:
- William G. Vicars, EdD
You may read in your ASL book or be informed by your ASL teacher that "titles of books and movies are fingerspelled."
The problem with that statement is that, well, quite often they are not.
The right way to sign "brand names, titles, and movies" (regardless of whether you are in a classroom or boardroom) is to sign them how they are signed by the majority of native Deaf adult skilled ASL signers who are active in the Deaf Community.
If a book or teacher disagrees with that then the book or teacher is wrong. Teachers and books that express views and opinions which are counter to how ASL is actually and commonly used by the majority of the Deaf core of the Deaf Community -- are not teaching ASL -- they are teaching ASL myths.
Some are teaching a subset of ASL without adding a disclaimer to the effect of, "Oh by the way, in real life we don't usually sign it like this. It is just in my opinion of the ideal way we should do it -- ya know -- to be proper and all because I read it in a book once or my ASL 1 - 4 teachers (who apparently didn't actually spend much time in the Deaf community) told me it was that way."
A significant number of ASL resources contain errors or myths. I watched the ██████████ book go through multiple editions and each new edition included changes to the old information. Up to and including ripping out whole chapters.
Wrap your mind around the idea that your ASL teacher might be wrong occasionally or at least myopic (not seeing / representing the big picture). How do I know? Thirty years of working in the ASL teaching field and participating in the spreading of "teacher talk" (signing) and popular myths because it seemed my real world experience must be wrong if so many books and "experts" were prescribing a different way.
These days I'm fairly rabid about eschewing (deliberately avoiding using and/or abstaining from) the "prescriptive" approach and instead embracing the "descriptive" approach.
This "mistake making" stuff applies to me as well (dang-it) -- but fortunately less these days (I hope) since it is so easy to go online and research how things are really being signed.
I'm actually quite happy any time someone brings up a legit adjustment that needs to be made to Lifeprint (dot) com to make it more reflective of current ASL usage. (A challenge though is that just because something is signed a certain way in your state or area doesn't mean it is signed that way nation-wide).
This comment is starting to reach a state of TLDR so I'll wrap it up by adding a fun little example of a common title that involves a hybrid signed / fingerspelled approach:
"Star Wars" is often signed doing a compact version of STAR followed by spelling the word "wars."
Oh sure, of course I'm aware that often academic interpreters will best serve their Deaf clients (who are students) by spelling out brand names, titles, and proper nouns -- since the client (student) might very well see that concept in written form later on during an English-based written test.
Mixed language circumstances (such as an ASL signer participating in English-based academia) require more work. Thus terps often end up doing both: spelling things out *and* signing them in ways that are common to the Deaf Community. Feel free to do a search on "translanguaging."
Translanguaging is the act performed by bilinguals of accessing different linguistic features or various modes of what are described as autonomous languages, in order to maximize communicative potential.**
https: // ealjournal (dot) org/2016/07/26/what-is-translanguaging/
Who were in turn quoting from:
García, Ofelia (2009). Education, multilingualism and translanguaging in the 21st century. p. 140.
Also see: "The Myth of Store I Go"
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