ERIC Number: ED331075
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Hear Together Eyes; Write Together Heart: American Sign Language in the (Verbocentric) Composition Classroom.
When evaluating the work of congenitally deaf students whose native language is spatial and semiotic, composition teachers must avoid being what Marjorie Siegel calls "verbocentric," since congenitally deaf students are, in effect, learning to write in a language completely foreign to them in structure, syntax, and grammar. The compositions of deaf students repeat specific erroneous structural patterns, because the students are, in fact, writing spatially rather than structurally. Several methods have been used, with varying degrees of success, to teach English speech, reading, and composition to native signers of American Sign Language (ASL): (1) fingerspelling or dactylology; (2) cued speech; (3) manually coded English; (4) simultaneous communication; and (5) signing exact English. These methods all share the common prejudice of treating ASL as a type of substandard English rather than as a linguistically sound and logical language in its own right. This is being remedied, however; in 1989, the Modern Language Association recognized ASL as an official language, and researchers at Gallaudet University are developing computer software which will provide grammar checks and automatic sentence parsing based on the differences between ASL syntax and English grammar. This new awareness of ASL reflects a trend toward interdisciplinary study and creates a vast number of possibilities for scholarship and discovery. Most importantly, it allows the expression of a long-silent minority. (Twenty-one references and suggestions for additional reading are included.) (PRA)
Descriptors: American Sign Language, Cued Speech, Deafness, English Instruction, English (Second Language), Finger Spelling, Higher Education, Manual Communication, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Writing Ability, Writing (Composition), Writing Difficulties, Writing Instruction
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Manually Coded English; Signing Exact English; Writing as a Second Language
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).