ERIC Number: ED449662
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Is American Sign Language a "Foreign" Language?
Belka, Robert W.
This article explores some of the complexities of the question as to whether or not American Sign Language (ASL) is a foreign language. It reviews the historical oppression of the deaf, the development of ASL and its defining value to proponents of deaf culture, mentions other language systems (including foreign sign systems) used by the deaf--specifically comparing ASL and English, posits arguments for considering ASL a foreign language, and examines what having a hearing student learning ASL as a second language might gain and lose by selecting ASL over a traditional language like German. It is concluded that for native American English speakers, ASL is not a foreign language. However, it is argued that it should be able to be counted as one for the purposes of educational requirements, even if it is likewise concluded that the learner of a traditional language like German or Italian gets a far higher payback. (Contains 16 references.) (KFT)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A