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Glossing of signed videos in an educational context:


 I think it is important for those of us who are "beyond" the beginner stage to occasionally review the concept of "the curse of knowledge."

"The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand." (Wikipedia)

Hearing people find "open captions" on movie screens to be weird and annoying because the Hearing people don't need the captions to understand.

People who can watch a signed video and understand it "just fine" tend to find "captions" (or glossing) of the signing to be "annoying or distracting."

People who are Deaf however "love" open captions on movie screens.

People who are beginners crave "something" to make signed materials comprehensible.

Gloss captions can be a powerful tool in expediting comprehensible input.
In other words, “gloss can help make it easier for a beginner to understand signing.”

Just as there are differences in the intuitive comprehensibility of computer programming languages (“Scratch” = easy / “Malbolge” = hard) -- there is a difference between “highly compact glossing” understandable only to researchers and curriculum designers versus simple gloss consisting of common labels for signs strung together.

Whether or not “gloss” reads as sense is going to be one of those “it depends” type of things.

What it comes down to is a sliding scale of “What is the most efficient form of comprehensible input for this individual?”

If a beginner were to watch an advanced signed video with no captioning and no gloss – the beginner would have near zero comprehensible input.

If a beginner were to watch an advanced signed video with English captioning the beginner would have near 100% comprehensible input but not necessarily be able to map it to the signed content – and in many cases create false associations in their mind as to what the target signs mean since the words in the captions often do not directly correspond to the signs on the screen). In other words -- captioned videos provide an inefficient and rather haphazard way to decipher and learn ASL from video recorded content.

If a beginner were to watch an advanced signed video with highly-compact (shorthand-type) gloss –the beginner would have very low comprehensible input from either source and great difficulty mapping the comprehensible aspects of the gloss to the signed content. In other words captioned videos provide an inefficient and haphazard way to decipher and learn ASL from video recorded content.

If a beginner were to watch an advanced signed video with basic gloss consisting of common labels for signs chosen to correspond to the signs on the screen – the beginner would have fairly high comprehensible input from the basic gloss and low-difficulty mapping the comprehensible aspects of the gloss to the signed content. In other words videos with simplified English-leaning gloss provide a “relatively” efficient way to decipher and learn ASL from video recorded content.

An advanced signer will not appreciate (think of it as weird, be distracted, or find it annoying) “glossed” video captioning. That doesn’t mean such videos are not without value to certain populations of students (namely, “beginners” who enjoy self-study and “figuring things out” with tools that allow them to do so).

How can we apply the above concepts to a an online ASL-centric group such as the Lifeprint-ASLU Facebook Group?

The fact that multiple copies of a video are basically free is one key to providing access to tools without annoying, distracting, or weirding-out the more-advanced signers. There is no additional monetary fee (though a considerable cost in time spent) for someone to make both a “non-captioned/non-glossed” video and a “captioned” (or glossed) video and then post the “non-captioned” video here to this group and post the beginner-centric-captioned-or-glossed video on their own Youtube channel or their own Facebook page and mention here (in the ASLU-FB group) the existence of the alternate version of the video on their own site or channel.

However…

Be aware that there are those in the Deaf Community who are absolutely “anti-glossing.” If you ask them they will give you a list of reasons why they don’t like it. They may attack you, belittle you, and/or call into question your qualifications.

With that in mind, if you do decide to experiment with or make use of glossing of a video it would seem to be a good idea to perhaps use an unlisted status for the video and include caveats (warnings) such as “This video is being used for personal study and learning and the glossing is being used as a way to more efficiently allow review and grading of the video in educational contexts by skilled reviewers.”

In summary:  Glossed or captioned videos can be many things -- including:

An annoyance to more advanced signers.
A pile of crap to step in.
A rather good learning tool for beginners.
 



 

Notes: 

 




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