LINGUIST List 2.617

Mon 07 Oct 1991

Disc: ASL

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. , 2.600 ASL
  2. Henry "S." Thompson, Re: 2.600 ASL
  3. Allan C. Wechsler, Towards a literary tradition in ASL
  4. , ASL as a foreign language
  5. Allan C. Wechsler, Towards a literary tradition in ASL

Message 1: 2.600 ASL

Date: 1 Oct 91 17:12 EST
From: <pchapinnsf.gov>
Subject: 2.600 ASL
The Summer 1988 issue of _Sign Language Studies_ (Issue 59) is devoted
entirely to the topic of the "Academic Acceptance of American Sign
Language". I have a short article in there, presenting some arguments
for accepting ASL in satisfaction of foreign language requirements in
a liberal education, which I could provide copies of on request, but
other much more qualified people (including such names as Vicki
Fromkin, Harlan Lane, and Nancy Frishberg, among many others) have
much longer and more substantive pieces, so I recommend the whole
issue strongly to Maggie Sokolik and others who are interested in this
question, and who are perhaps dealing with attitudes like the one
recently expressed by the BU Dean.
Paul Chapin
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Message 2: Re: 2.600 ASL

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 91 15:53:05 BST
From: Henry "S." Thompson <htcogsci.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 2.600 ASL
When I was at Berkeley, the criterion for allowing a language to
satisfy the requirement which would bar ASL was not that there be a
literary tradition, but rather that there were scholarly articles
being published in that language relevant to the candidate's
discipline. On this basis it was informally decided that Latin did
not qualify, although it might perhaps have done so at one time.
ht
--
 Henry Thompson, Human Communication Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, SCOTLAND -- (44) 31 650-4440
 Fax: (44) 31 650-4587 ARPA: htcogsci.ed.ac.uk JANET: htuk.ac.ed.cogsci
 UUCP: ...!uunet!mcsun!ukc!cogsci!ht
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Message 3: Towards a literary tradition in ASL

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1991 13:34-0400
From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACWYUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: Towards a literary tradition in ASL
It strikes me as reasonable for a university degree program to demand
proficiency in same language other than English that possesses a
literary tradition. On these grounds, it would seem that ASL cannot
qualify, since there is no orthography in wide use. (On the same
grounds, the same degree program ought to reject Cantonese. Several
native Cantonese speakers have informed me that there is little
Cantonese literature because of the orthography problem.)
But I wonder whether the ASL literary corpus is really as empty as it
would seem. I am hoping that a native ASL user in net-land can answer
the following queries:
1) Is there any "folk" literature in ASL, that owes its dispersal to
repeated transmission from one ASL user to another? Such folk
literature could take the form of proverbs, poems, or whatever. My
daydream is that there are unrecorded ASL "epics" out there, known by
heart by a few "bards".
2) Has there been any movement toward an ASL literature following on the
wide availability of video technology? It would seem that videotape is
a possible medium of dispersal for ASL essays, articles, poetry, and
even novels. The video medium still suffers from editing difficulties,
and a hypothetical ASL novelist would either need access to
sophisticated editing technology, or would have to do everything in one
"take" and accept any imperfections in the result as unavoidable. There
may be insufficient motivation for the ASL community to produce such
works, since most ASL users are bilingual in English.
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Message 4: ASL as a foreign language

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 91 15:05:09 EDT
From: <macrakisosf.org>
Subject: ASL as a foreign language
If universities were clearer about the goals of their language
requirements, perhaps the decision about including ASL would be
easier. Some possible reasons are:
1) Wider access to scholarly literature. Learning Russian, French, or
Japanese helps a mathematician to do mathematics in a way that
learning Ewe does not.
2) Access to other cultures through their literature. Although
Written Arabic and even Spoken Egyptian Arabic (through film) are
useful this way, Spoken Moroccan Arabic is not.
3) Interpersonal communication (leading presumably to intercultural
understanding). Here, Coranic Arabic, Latin, and Hittite are not much
use, whereas Haitian Creole may be very useful.
4) Learning more about languages in general. Any language is useful
for this, although you might learn more if the language is not too
close to your own (e.g. learning Italian if you are French).
5) General culture, mental finger exercise, etc.?
ASL does not contribute to (1) or (2). It does contribute to (3).
Recent postings to Linguist indicate that it contributes to (4).
Perhaps the real debate is on the valid goals for foreign language
requirements?
	-s
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Message 5: Towards a literary tradition in ASL

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1991 13:34-0400
From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACWYUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: Towards a literary tradition in ASL
It strikes me as reasonable for a university degree program to demand
proficiency in same language other than English that possesses a
literary tradition. On these grounds, it would seem that ASL cannot
qualify, since there is no orthography in wide use. (On the same
grounds, the same degree program ought to reject Cantonese. Several
native Cantonese speakers have informed me that there is little
Cantonese literature because of the orthography problem.)
But I wonder whether the ASL literary corpus is really as empty as it
would seem. I am hoping that a native ASL user in net-land can answer
the following queries:
1) Is there any "folk" literature in ASL, that owes its dispersal to
repeated transmission from one ASL user to another? Such folk
literature could take the form of proverbs, poems, or whatever. My
daydream is that there are unrecorded ASL "epics" out there, known by
heart by a few "bards".
2) Has there been any movement toward an ASL literature following on the
wide availability of video technology? It would seem that videotape is
a possible medium of dispersal for ASL essays, articles, poetry, and
even novels. The video medium still suffers from editing difficulties,
and a hypothetical ASL novelist would either need access to
sophisticated editing technology, or would have to do everything in one
"take" and accept any imperfections in the result as unavoidable. There
may be insufficient motivation for the ASL community to produce such
works, since most ASL users are bilingual in English.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue