SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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May 9, 1998

SUBJECT: Standardization of ASL

Date: Sat, 09 May 1998 12:30:01 -0600
From: angie pappas <>
To: SignWriting <>
Subject: Re: Standardization of ASL

Post to list.

Regarding previous postings on the SignWriting List:

> I firmly believe that if children learn SignWriting before they learn
> English, their literacy level in English will increase and English will be
> easier for them to learn. After all, as it stands, English is not only a
> second language to native ASL users, but it is also limited only to the
> written form. That is a much harder way to learn any language, particularly
> if you cannot already read your own.

Shiona Watson

> Somehow I get the feeling that ASL (or any signed language) is an inferior
> language and the purpose of any teaching technique would be to master a
> spoken
> language?
> Or did I read all this wrong?

> Bettibonni


My response to the above comes partly from my own experience with English as a second language, learned when I entered school at age 5.

I don't read this as meaning ASL is inferior to English, only that, in an English-using country, mastery of English is a necessity for most adults. Learning English is not the only goal of Deaf (or anyone's) education, but it certainly is an important one. If teaching SW to native ASL signers helps their aquisition of English, GREAT! What a fabulous bonus!

I think that, if anything, this should take ASL one step closer to being respected as a language in its own right in the eyes of parents and educators; a genuine FIRST language for Deaf students instead of merely a stepping-stone to English.

I hope I'm making sense.




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