the book explains that asl was understood as a mix between french sign,
signs practiced already in america (e.g. on martha's vineyard and other
places with more than a few deaf people), and sign 'languages' that are just
translations of enligh. asl was not recognized as its own language until
william stokoe published "sign languaage structure" in 1960. (of course, i'm
sure there was someone before and more people also important after)
it seems impossible now to imagine asl as english (being more closely
related to a sign language connected with french), but it took alot of
change in the culture for deaf people to believe in asl as being its own
language. i think that reality is what camille is writing about when she
says that asl became no longer a translation of english
also the performance discussed most in the book is deaf theater and poetry,
which was given mostly to deaf (and mixed) audiences, but only rarely to
hearing ones. this book is more concerned with deaf people's understanding
of themselves as a Deaf culture.
On 3/8/07, elizabeth anne daigle <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Your post raises a number of questions for me. Since I haven't read the
> book you mention, I am not entirely clear on 'performance'-- (time frame?
> genre?) but am imagining something like 'Children of a Lesser God' and other
> plays or movies that ultimately served as educational vehicles for the
> hearing public (whereas a trail of linguistic research was less effective in
> changing popular opinion).
> The propaganda against ASL has a long history, but I am intrigued as to
> how the authors make the argument that in finally having ASL accepted by the
> Others as a real and complete language Deaf people changed their conception
> of it.
> I am specifically confused by this
> (you wrote:)-
> Deaf people began viewing ASL differently
> once it was established and carried out in performance. It was no longer a
> mere translation of English, but was its own language with signs and
> meanings not found in the English language.
> Do the authors claim that ASL was at some point a translation of English??
> If so, it's no wonder you're confused.
> All of this is not to say that your questions are not interesting, but -
> at least to me- the specifics you're relating them to are
> misleading. Perhaps you can clarify?
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