Thursday, June 23, 2011

American Sign Language Writing

I just stumbled across this video on the internet. I had never heard of ASL writing before. According to the si5s website, the purpose of ASL writing is to "build ASL literature in text form".

I've been working on learning ASL for some time now and I don't see this writing system as being useful to me or other hard of hearing/late deafened adults that are already fluent in English. I want to learn ASL for communication not for reading. I want to learn how to express myself in ASL by watching fluent signers not by reading written symbols.

What do you think? Would this be useful to you? Would it be useful to a deaf child to learn written ASL alongside written English? Let me know your thoughts.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Because ASL is not in the order of English (nor ASL can be easily expressed in a linear auditory language) , I think it can be very useful for those who just want to put their thoughts on paper without translating it all the time. In fact, I think it can help them understand English better when they see ASL on paper explaining English to them. they can take it home and study and memorize.

Beside, many are writing English in ASL order (hence where the term "broken English" came from when describing ASL) it is very hard to understand them UNLESS you know ASL. Therefore, it doesnt matter if they wrote in English word or SiS5, you still wouldn't understand them unless you know ASL. They do have the rights to have their own written language.

Its all about expressing and communicating freely, once you can do that, you can expand and learn deeper stuffs and this include understanding and writing English. Which is why accessible language at birth is important. Deaf babies should be exposed to both - ASL (sign and/OR written) and English (written and/OR spoken)

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

"Because ASL is not in the order of English..."

It is very common when people says that ASL is not in the order of English. In Fact, ASL is not English at all. ASL is visual language,it has nothing to do with English.

Nick

Anonymous said...

of course it's not English. people tend to put concepts in English order.

Anonymous said...

Last year, we discussed about ASL writing after si5s vlogs appeared at DVTV. Many people agreed with me this wacko writing created by si5s nonsense creators are disaster recipe for small children who want to learn English writing.
so English and ASL writing don't mix.
ASL writing is purpose just for entertainment only not for serious learning lesson. ALL schools won't take this silly writing for the class lesson.
Recently, again other wacko creators of si5s posted other videos at DVTV. Almost no one leave the comments under DVTV si5s's vlogs. We already knew ASL writing is already in the garbage.

Debbie Wager said...

There are a few different systems for writing ASL that have been developed, but none of them has caught on yet. There are a lot of reasons an ASL writing system would be a good thing, but as a late-deafened, English-literate person you're less likely to need it for "jotting down your thoughts." It might be useful for students of ASL, just like having a written form of French is useful for students of French. It'll be interesting to see if any of these systems (or another new one) catches on anytime.

TStone said...

An ASL orthography would be useful because you can more precisely discuss the language elements. Unfortunately for Stokoe Notation (circa 1960), SignWriting (circa 1975), and si5s (circa 2005), logograhs are much more complicated than an alphabet. Until you can text it on a cell phone, ASL writing won't be accepted. That's why I developed ASL Sign Jotting (www.aslsj.com) using plain keyboard characters. My problem is that I'm a computer programmer and not a social engineer.

Anonymous said...

A little late to the discussion, but:

The lack of an easily-learnable writing system in ASL basically locks the door for the pre-lingually deaf. There's an extremely low English literacy rate in the Deaf community. That makes sense as English is a second language. In the USA, the "average" pre-lingually deaf adult reads and writes English at a 4th-grade level - regardless of fluency in ASL. What little research there is in Deaf education shows that manually coded English systems don't do much better. (very little good research and a lot of junk research - which basically mirrors education research in general...) However, don't take my word for it; read Spencer and Marschark's book: Evidence-based Practice in Educating Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Students.

As both an interactive media developer and a professor, I have see the Deaf community forced even more outside of the common discourse because of the majority population's insistance on English-only in the public sector. Schools, both K-12 and public colleges, teach in English. The vast majority of the Web is in one spoken language or another. How many can actually afford an interpreter to read and then sign a college-level text?

The other side of the coin is true, too. Deaf culture has a large story-telling component: an art that cannot be shared with the hearing world unless the hearing world learns ASL. Aren't those stories worth preserving beyond a Vlog? Vlogs are volatile; servers crash and websites go offline. Think of the cultural artifacts that are lost every time that happens.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for keeping the conversation alive.
Sarah