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American Sign Language and ASL Linguistics

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American Sign Language and ASL Linguistics LING 200 University of Washington February 6, 2009 Lance Forshay, Presenter Please do not copy, distribute, revise ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Sign Language and ASL Linguistics


1
American Sign Language and ASL Linguistics
  • LING 200
  • University of Washington
  • February 6, 2009
  • Lance Forshay, Presenter

Please do not copy, distribute, revise, photocopy
or even sell. But you may download and keep for
your own personal notes.
2
Agenda
  • Nature of ASL and relevant questions.
  • American Deaf Culture
  • Brief History of Sign Languages
  • ASL and Deaf Studies at UW.
  • ASL phonetics and phonology

3
Presenter
  • Lance A. Forshay, M.S. LForshay_at_u.washington.edu
  • ASL Lecturer and Program Coordinator Department
    of Linguistics University of Washington,
    Seattle.
  • President of Washington ASL Teacher Association.
  • (National) ASL Teacher Association member.
  • Washington State Association of the Deaf Board
    Member at Large Watchdog and Advocacy.
  • Fourth of five Deaf generations.

4
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • A Visual-Gestural Language?
  • Yes.
  • ASL contains 60 Gestural-Body Language and
    Facial Expressions. However ASL is different
    from common gestures hearing people use.

5
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • A fully developed language?
  • Yes.
  • ASL contains all linguistic characteristics that
    make ASL a language different and independent
    from English language.

6
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • A language you can use to communicate
    complicated topics with philosophical ideas,
    politics, sports, education, science, comedy, or
    express in drama, storytelling, poetry or
    anything else like you do with English?
  • Yes! with no limitations.

7
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • A changing language?
  • Yes.
  • Like all languages, ASL does change over time
    and varies within regions (accents). Some old
    ASL signs disappear, simplify or assimilate with
    other word signs into new signs. (Compound and
    Contractions)

8
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • Universal?
  • No.
  • Almost every country has its own sign language
    just like spoken language. There are at least 70
    known sign languages.

9
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • Used in other countries?
  • Yes, some.
  • ASL is used by Deaf people in Canada and few
    other countries with historical background of
    deaf education established by American educators
    and church missionaries for the deaf such as
    Nigera, Kenya, Philippines, Belize and some parts
    of India.

10
The Nature of ASL Is ASL
  • Used in British countries?
  • No.
  • ASL is totally different from British Sign
    Language used in the United Kingdom (Scotland,
    England, and Wales), Australia, and New Zealand.

11
American Deaf Culture
  • What is Deaf Culture?
  • A group of Deaf people who uses American Sign
    Language, lives by a set of norms and values of
    the Deaf community, shares the Deaf heritage and
    traditions, and involves as a member of Deaf
    community.
  • ASL is the key to the heart of Deaf culture and
    you have to understand Deaf culture to master ASL
    at higher level.
  • Deaf versus deaf.
  • Matter of identity and belonging to Deaf
    community.
  • Not necessarily hereditary.

12
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • Natural bodily and facial gestures and common
    gestural signs are on earth since the beginning
    of mankind.
  • Indian Sign Language, cross-tribal communications
    for trading purposes.

13
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • 399 (?) B.C. Socrates quoted by Plato in
    Cratylus mentions the deaf who express
    themselves in gestures movement, depicting that
    which is light or a higher sphere by raising the
    hands or describing a galloping horse by
    imitating its motion.

14
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • In 1755, Abbe Charles Michel de LEppe of Paris
    founded the first free school for the deaf with
    sign language as a method of communication.
    This model of deaf school concept spread all
    over the European countries for the next hundred
    years.
  • In 1778, Samuel Heinicke of Leipzig Germany,
    promoted Oralism, a method of teaching deaf
    children spoken and written language through
    speech and lip-reading exclusively without use
    of sign language.

15
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • Thomas Gallaudet saw the need of education for
    deaf children. He went to Europe and
    brought Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher from
    deaf school in Paris, to America to start a
    deaf school together in 1817.

16
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • Laurent Clerc learned the old ASL used by deaf
    people in America and combined it with LSF
    (French Sign Language). Eventually, he
    standardized the sign system at the school
    into modern ASL as we know it today.

17
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • Alexander Graham Bell and the spread of Oralism
    took a strong grip on deaf education in
    America and all over the world in 1880s.
  • 1880,the World Congress of the
    Educators of the Deaf met in Milan, Italy
    and passed a resolution to promote Oralism in
    deaf education all over the world and dismiss all
    deaf teachers out of deaf schools.

18
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • The same year, National Association for the Deaf
    was founded and they fought long and hard for
    the rights to use sign language in deaf
    community and education.
  • www.nad.org
  • 1900s - 1960s Oralism method proved failure in
    deaf education. Average deaf high school
    graduates ranks third grade in English.

19
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • 1960s William Stokoe, a non-conventional
    linguist, who taught English at Gallaudet,
    recognized linguistic characters in ASL
    and started to have a deep interest to do
    research on sign. He eventually proved
    that ASL is a language. He published his
    finding.
  • 1970s, Sign Language Studies, Classes, Training,
    and Book materials began to emerge. Deaf culture
    recognized and defined with ASL.

20
Brief Timeline History of ASL
  • 1975, Sign Instructors Guidance Network. Today
    it is called ASL Teacher Association.
  • 1970s Sign language slowly returns to deaf
    education but in Englishized forms.
  • 1988. Deaf President Now.
  • 1990 ASL accepted as a foreign language credit
    and course offered in many college and high
    school at explosive growth.
  • 1990s Many states legalize ASL as a foreign
    language course for HS and college.

21
ASL in Washington state
  • Washington State Law passed in July 1984 to
    recognize ASL as a language and that it may be
    used for foreign language credit in secondary and
    post-secondary level education. (WAC 180-51-025
    for secondary and postsecondary.) For more
    information on other state legislations on ASL.
    http//www.aslta.org/legislation/index.html

22
ASL Deaf Studies Program at UW
  • Regularly offered since Aut 2007
  • First year with one teacher. Two sections for
    each class, ASL 101, 102 and 103.
  • Nearly 300 students on waiting list for ASL 101
    classes Fall 2008.
  • Permanent funds from the state and private
    foundations.
  • ASL 305 Introduction to Deaf Studies.
  • ASL 134 Intensive first year summer ASL course.
  • Signing community with Deaf staff, students and
    other ASL students.
  • Future

23
Phonetic parameters of ASL signs
  • Manual ways in which signs can differ
  • Handshape
  • Orientation
  • Location
  • Movement
  • Number of hands
  • Non-manual ways in which signs can differ

24
Handshape
  • Minimal pairs
  • LIKE vs. WHITE
  • DORM vs. DEAF
  • PEOPLE vs. BICYCLE
  • NUMBER vs. INTERPRET
  • Signs which change handshape
  • UNDERSTAND
  • HOW MANY
  • DIVORCED

25
Orientation
  • Minimal pairs
  • MEET vs. I MEET YOU
  • NAME vs. CHAIR
  • SOCK vs. STAR
  • YOUR vs. MY vs. CHILD
  • Signs which change orientation
  • DIE/DEAD
  • COMMUNITY
  • CLASS

26
Location
  • Minimal pairs
  • APPLE vs. ONION
  • LUCKY vs. CLEVER
  • SAME vs. NEW YORK CITY
  • THIRTEEN vs. CUTE
  • Signs which change location
  • DEAF
  • FUN
  • KING

27
Movement
  • Minimal pairs
  • TOUGH vs. PHYSICS
  • CAN vs. SHOES
  • BROWN vs. BEER
  • TURN AROUND vs. SINGLE
  • Different types of movement
  • straight SEPARATED
  • angled PERCENT
  • looping WASHINGTON
  • wiggling COLOR
  • twisting WHERE
  • nodding YES

28
Number of hands
  • One-handed signs
  • MOTHER
  • DEER
  • COOL
  • Two-handed signs
  • HERE
  • BICYCLE
  • Minimal pairs
  • PURPLE vs. PARTY
  • BOY vs. TEACH

29
Non-manual expressions
  • Signs articulated with non-manual
  • OH I SEE
  • PROSTITUTE
  • Minimal pairs
  • HERE vs. WHAT
  • OLD vs. HOW-OLD
  • HOT vs. VERY HOT

30
Assimilation
  • In handshape
  • I
  • NAME
  • I AM NAMED
  • I
  • KNOW
  • I KNOW

31
Symmetry condition
  • if both hands move independently during a given
    two-handed sign...then the specifications for
    handshape and movement must be identical, and the
    orientations must be either identical or polar
    opposites (reciprocals). Locations...must also
    be specifed either as symmetrical or as polar
    opposites. (Battison 1974)

32
If handshapes identical
  • One hand can move
  • PAPER
  • Or both hands can move
  • DIE/DEAD

33
But if handshapes not identical
  • Only one hand can move
  • DRAW
  • no signs where both hands move
  • phonological restriction

34
Questions
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