American Sign Language

free essayThe compensatory role of language is huge and comprehensive. Developing mental activity as a function of the particular matter called the human brain; the language helps to overcome the effects of deafness, the development of social and biological parameters of a deaf person, the fullest possible integration and adaptation in the environment of hearing it as an equal worker society. Thus, through integrated approach to a deaf person in a specially organized educational process, it is possible to achieve higher forms of compensation, expressed in the creation of possibility of all-round development of students. It requires mastery of the language of words based on knowledge bases, the formation of a scientific outlook, development of the ability to apply knowledge in practice, a willingness and ability to the systematic work, the development of high social security and moral qualities of the person.

There are several myths about sign languages. For example, many people believe that language is international. However, in the world, there are about 300 national sign languages. There is an interesting fact, that British Sign Language and American Sign Language are two different linguistic systems. In some countries, there are several sign languages, although they may have common roots as well as verbal language. Another myth: sign language is a system of transmission of verbal language by hand. Indeed, such systems exist, but they have nothing to do with these sign languages. Any national sign language is a complex and multi-level linguistic system, as well as any verbal language. Myth number three: deaf people do not have its own culture. ‘Deaf culture’ is a sustainable combination, which is used to describe a set of traditions, art, values and history of the Society of the Deaf in individual countries and throughout the world. Language and deaf culture are closely intertwined. In addition, the last myth, worth mentioning: the deaf are people with disabilities. Not all deaf people agree with this approach to the phenomenon of deafness. There is a socio-cultural concept of deafness, according to which, it is a feature that gives the deaf an interesting means of communication, like sign language, which gave birth to an interesting phenomenon, as the culture of the deaf.

Concrete Experimentation

It is difficult to understand the world of deaf people. When you are healthy, you can hear and speak, you do not understand that there are people who think your usual state luxury. They cannot listen to music, to the voices of their loved ones and do not know how the sea roar. For people who become deaf because of the disease, it is painful to be aware of the fact that they once were able to hear. However, they have a memory, and it differs them from people who were born deaf.

I lived right next to a deaf Jew boy, on the same street. We were the same age, but we could not communicate. He almost did not go out from the house because he was afraid that he will run on the road and did not hear a car that would go far from home and cannot find his way. His mother was afraid of everything and tried as much as possible to secure him from the problems of the world. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that he was very sad.

People suffering from congenital deafness, nevertheless, have their own individuality inner voice. Moreover, they possess extraordinary abilities in the literature. For example, some may know by heart the few great works of Shakespeare. It is noteworthy that for them literature is not heard, and said to them the language of the letters. Having learned about it in his 10 years, I wanted to communicate with a small neighbor. I did not want him to feel alone. I have decided to learn sign language. I used the help of special support centers to learn sign language.

The method of using digital and perceived view of the form of verbal speech in its dactyl form best suits the nature of a deaf child. Each dactyl corresponds to a certain letter of the alphabet. The translators use sound amplifying equipment, distinctly pronounces the word in its most clear articulation, both conjugate ‘pronounces’ with the fingers of the hand, and makes the deaf card with the word. Deaf by imitation reproduces word by word of mouth and dactyl pronunciation. This word is related to the subject of his property or action, which it refers. This is the most common, a schematic way of learning verbal speech, which was suitable for me, as I were too young. It showed us, in order to demonstrate the mechanism of compensation of the missing ear in a special education of deaf language.

Firstly, dull visually receives the spoken word. I was specially trained reading the speech from the face. Secondly, I was trained to use dactyl speech. For the deaf pronunciation of the hand, it is not just the movement of the fingers. Simultaneously, it provokes the development of higher mental and physiological processes of the cerebral cortex, the higher functions of the central and peripheral nervous system. Third, articulating, a child develops machine-speech, phonation, speech breathing, there is a corresponding reflex activity. Fourth, because of sound-amplifying equipment, a child develops an auditory perception of the spoken word, its phonetic way. Fifth, a deaf child reads the word presenting the card at the same time learning the written form of language.

Reflective Observation

Saying sign language along with gesture component contains verbal signs (using gaze, facial expressions, movements of the head and body). These tools work the same tone audio languages, and are used to express indication of some objects, denial, actual division, different types of questions, correlating the different components of syntactic offers, etc. Gesture text, unlike audio, is nonlinear. Grammatical information is usually transmitted simultaneously with the lexical; a gesture in the performance of a particular undergoes modulation (hand moves uniformly, intermittently or acceleration in a vertical or horizontal plane changes direction, the same gesture executed with two hands, etc.). The syntax of sign language three-dimensional space is used primarily for localization: motion ‘puts’ the participants of the situation in a certain point in space, and further articulation place predicate predictable modified depending on the location of a subject and an object.

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The popularity of research in the field of sign languages has led to their new and very unexpected application. In the past, numerous experiments were carried out to train the natural sound language of monkeys, but they rested on the anatomic obstruction; and the conclusion of the inability of primates to master human language seemed unshakable. Everything changed in 1966, when Allen and Beatrice Gardner decided to teach a chimpanzee Washoe elementary ASL language (Guido, 2015). It was found that monkeys can not only successfully master to several hundred conceptual gesture, but if necessary, they can invent their own signs. They were able to classify the concepts learned quite humanly and even able to metaphor. By learning sign language, monkeys willingly resort to it at every opportunity; in experiments where it has been involved more than one animal, the facts observed and sign to communicate with each other apes.

Abstract Conceptualization

Sign language can be classified according to different parameters. On the main contingent of the persons using them can be divided into the languages of the deaf hear and languages. From a functional point of view, it bases on the auxiliary and main languages. According to the degree of autonomy from the audio languages, they form a multi-dimensional scale; on one of its poles are located languages, the structure of which has nothing to do with audio languages, and the other – those entirely based on some sound language and substance, as well as printed text, are simply re-encoding the audio language. The communicative possibilities of sign languages can be classified according to the degree of their adequacy sound language. Some resemble simple Pidgin and are designed for small talk in a very limited subject area (e.g., a professional ‘language’ of communication riggers at a distance vocabulary is reduced to several tens of gestures such as Lane ‘Down, lower’ and Veera ‘up lift’). Others in no way inferior to the natural sound language. For the latter type, it includes the sign languages of the deaf: their communicative possibilities are limited only by the level of development of the respective companies and are now in developed countries. They are widely used in secondary and sometimes tertiary education (for example, in the Gallaudet University in Washington, named after the pioneer of American Theory – theory and practice of teaching the deaf – Gallaudet Thomas) (Guido, 2015). Moreover, it is needed in the media (television), and in recent years, they have been successfully used in the discussion of complex linguistic problems at national and international conferences on gestural communication.

Sign language hearing usually has an auxiliary character and is used along with the sound. Described are extremely superficial, although, in the recent past, many societies have developed very well and used in ritual silence in communication at a distance, with the need to respect the silence in the hunt and in similar situations. The degree of autonomy of audio languages and a range of expressive possibilities largely depend on their place in the culture of people concerned. Probably, the most advanced sign language existed among Australian Aborigines. Here, young men took place many months of the initiation rite, were considered ritually dead and had to communicate with gestures; widow also generally could not use spoken language throughout the period of mourning, which lasted up to a year or more; to the same language resorted in other opportunity. The degree of their dependence on the audio language is unclear: on the one hand, it is known that they were used in communication between representatives of different tribes who did not know each other’s language, on the other, there are clear indications of the relationship of sound and vocabulary of sign languages.

The theory has contributed to the development and growth of the deaf community, the intensification of contacts and thereby spread and unification formed and developed spontaneously native sign languages of deaf people. On the other hand, educators have developed a strong prejudice against them: it was thought that these languages are imperfect and a subject to eradication since their use inhibits the absorption of the active mute and audio demonstrations of ‘normal’ language. Such attempts were doomed to failure because the specific structure of sign languages perfectly adapted to mimic and gesture expression. Consequently, a deaf education worldwide became bilingual. It is the easy communication in an informal setting, they use their own language and in official talks, worship, lectures, educational process, etc. they use a combination of gestures and dactyl (which is the function of words and morphemes, which no analogues in the native language of the deaf), as close as possible to the writing of the national language.

Grammar structure of ‘real’ sign languages remained indescribable. Pioneering work in this area has become a book published in 1960 by William Stokoe, Sign Language Structure (Guido, 2015). After its publication, the researchers began to show theoretical and practical interest in the sign language of the deaf, especially intensified during the last decade due to the spread of ideas of ‘political correctness’ and large-scale efforts to the fullest possible integration of people with disabilities. Deaf sign languages for the first time got their own name: the native language of the Deaf US is called American Sign Language (ASL). According to Stokoe, American Sign Language was an exotic language, and in some way, it respects as far from American English media. By Stokoe, every gesture of the language (functionally close morpheme is minimal meaningful units of sound language) consists of cheremes (what in the Greek language means ‘the hand’). They are divided into three classes – tabs indicate the place of performance of the gesture, disinformation – on the configuration of the hands, and whitefish – the nature of the movement. Chereme phonemes are functionally equivalent, but unlike phonemes lining a morpheme in a linear sequence in a gesture-morpheme it presents simultaneously each of the three classes (Guido, 2015). Total chereme is comparable to the number of phonemes in spoken language.

Grammatically American Sign Language is completely unrelated to the English language, there are no times, articles, numbers, however, and there is a complex space-species grammar, not in English. It is a common error to assume that all gestures iconicity that their values are simulated, although many gestures are not related to its value, or because of the loss of communication with the time, either because of the random nature of the appearance of these gestures. Nevertheless, many of them are iconicity in Amslan due to the fact that sign languages are iconic more than verbal themselves. American Sign Language, as the owner of a large number of iconicity words, defy the theory. Studies on the use of pronouns in the American Sign Language shows that people often do not understand their iconicity, for example, interpreting the pronoun ‘you’ (indicating a finger on the baby) like your name. Similar effects are seen in oral languages. In addition, iconicity does not affect the absorption of the gesture.

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Compounding is used to create new words, which often differ from the original value of gestures. For example, gestures ‘person’ + ‘strong’ form a word ‘to be like, to resemble.’ The verbs are also conjugated in appearance. The long view is depicted sustained action, and rhythmic circular movements. In ASL, verbal approval to the subject, object, including reciprocity is widely used. Verbs of a certain type (for example, ‘to give’) incorporate the coordination of a subject and object by modifying the start and end of the gesture. Conjugation of the number by changing the way the hand. For example, a gesture ‘to ask, to ask,’ can be done in a few steps, a small amplitude, resulting sign ASK means: “asking everyone to ask every question.” Reciprocity is represented by performing the motion with both hands simultaneously. For example, if a gesture of ‘shoot’ (similar to the shape of a hand holding a pistol) to perform two hands will gesture: “to shoot each other” (Guido, 2015).

ASL have productive classifier system as part of its grammatical structure. Morpheme each classifier contains one phoneme. There are two classifications components “hand shape classifier” and “root movement”, with which it is associated. Form the hand shows the object, its surface, depth, shape, usually very iconicity. The root of the movement may comprise three morphemes: the way of the direction and type of which are affixes to the path. For example, to indicate a rabbit that is running down bent V-shaped classifier should be used, which will move, depicting the way of the animal, and, if the rabbit jump, then the movement will jump. The frequency depends on the style classifications: 17.7% interest in the narrative speech, but only 1.1% in daily and 0.9% in the formal speech (Guido, 2015).

Active Experimentation

ASL has become one of the most popular ‘foreign’ languages, studied deaf people in colleges and universities across the country. The most significant surge accounted for the last five years. ASL recognized language for public schools even in 41 states, and 100 universities (four-year training) taking it as a foreign language for admission. David Conway, associate dean of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College Educational previously suggested that for some people it is difficult to learn ASL, than natural spoken language (Guido, 2015). A survey of public educational institutions conducted by Teachers College, Columbia University, has identified at least 701 school, which in 2004 was taught sign language (Guido, 2015). In 2000, the figure was 456, in 1995 – 185 (Guido, 2015). In higher education, the demand for ASL is also high.

Admission to study foreign languages at US colleges and universities, conducted in 2002, showed for the ASL 432% increase, i.e., to about 61,000 since 1998 (Guido, 2015). This is more than four times the corresponding figures for the 15 languages, the most common in these institutions (Guido, 2015). This popularity can be partially explained by the development of societies for the protection of the deaf and the changes in companies since the Government of the Federal Act requires citizens with disabilities. Some linguists argue that ASL is not a foreign language, although it is not based on the English language, as used mainly in the US and Canada, and it is different from the sign languages of other countries. ASL proponents argue that the place of origin of language has nothing to do with its status of foreign. ASL teachers say that many students want to learn the language in order to assist the deaf community and to acquire knowledge that can make them more competitive in areas such as medicine, social work, law, and emergency care.

American Deaf community appreciates the American Sign Language as a basis for the cultural identity of the deaf. Through the ASL, members are assigned a unique environment for self-expression, spatial and visual language that does not require the use of sound and emphasizes the hands, face, body, and eyes. Members of the community share a common history, values, ethics, and experience. Deaf people who come from different backgrounds and effect, and as a result, that change is reflected in the society. Different types of sign systems used in varying degrees and the deaf community welcomes this diversity. Deaf culture focuses on the stimulation of the eyes and enhance visual insight of deaf persons. This led to a large rich history ASL literature and history. The oral tradition of storytelling has allowed members of the deaf community to pass down the history of the great deaf men and women, providing for deaf children access to role models that allow them to feel rooted in history, at the same time giving them a general mentor with experience. American Deaf Community varies from any cultural groups around the world because society rarely recognizes it as a distinct and discrete. Most people are born under the existing cultural group is gaining direct access to their families and communities, cultural traditions, norms and values that are transmitted from a parent to a child. Most deaf children, on the contrary, have hearing parents. For the majority of deaf children cultural transmission family or deaf does not automatically happen. Deaf children usually get access to the deaf community through education programs with other deaf children and adults.

There have been deaf organizations at the local, state and national levels more than a century. These groups provide an opportunity for members to communicate and often provide a support system. For example, the National Association of the Deaf does a great job promotion of the civil rights of members of the Deaf and the empowerment of individuals to become active in their local communities. Deaf organizations in every aspect of human life from the sport of members who participate in the Deaf Olympics, those seeking religious Access deaf churches and through an interpreter. Deaf organizations provide a network for the camaraderie and socialization, and many members remain loyal throughout his life (Guido, 2015).

The deaf culture is a set of concepts, strategies, behaviors, traditions, arts, history, values, cultures, where a significant portion of people who have hearing loss and use sign language to communicate. It should be noted that not all deaf own sign language and the possession of it is usually the main condition for entry into the deaf culture.

All the representatives of the deaf society consider the inability to hear as a feature, not as a disability. The deaf community also includes relatives and friends of deaf people and sign language interpreters. According to Anne Mayndess important role to enter the community has to identify with the deaf. Similarly, other social groups, sign occurrences are the identity with members of the group and the perception of the other person a member of the group (Guido, 2015). European Parliament Resolution on sign languages in 1998 says that each of the European Sign Language has its own cultural identity (Guido, 2015). In the USA the situation is the same. Deaf activists fight for the legal recognition of sign languages up to give them the status of the state.

There is also an organization, which should be named. It is NIDCD, which supports research in the sphere, specializing with the deaf children. The importance of this study that should be supported by the global community to show the world more about language development in children with cochlear implants. They may differ from the hearing and deaf family and can offer important information to help educational solutions and parental counseling.

NIDCD-funded research group is also considering sign language systems, which are developed in isolation. The research group learns more about how the grammar is built and expanded in situations where there is little language input. Scientists have found that only 20-40% of the necessary information is transmitted through words. More important is the nonverbal contact, because it influences 60% of success (Guido, 2015). This confirms the fact that it is very important to learn sign language. It will help a person to gain confidence in their actions, learn to better understand other people, as well as improve communication with deaf people. Nowadays it is very popular to learn foreign languages, and I think that ASL, unfairly undervalued by society as an independent language.


In an informal atmosphere between a deaf often refer specifically to sign language (gestural speech – is their ‘native’ language). That is why the educated deaf in all countries are like bilingual: for easy communication, they use their native language and in official talks, worship, lectures, educational process, etc. they use a combination of gestures and dactyl. Gestural communication plays an important role in any human communication. Throughout its evolution, man used the channel of sign communication, understanding and evaluating the emotional state of the tribesmen of the spontaneous movement of the body, legs and, in particular. I believe that each person should know the sign language at least at a basic level. Firstly, it is very useful. Children learn how to express yourself through gesture and movement, and develop creative thinking and fine motor skills. What it is expressed in speech intonation in gestural – facial expressions, expressive hands – so that the “normal” child can better learn to express itself, to own face and body. Secondly, the hearing sign language can be useful in many situations: a disco, when a very noisy or, for example, in the administration of the train – when all the usual poking their fingers into the glass, his chest and applying an imaginary phone to his ear (“Call me when get there “) and divers under water.

However, most importantly, I believe that if you are not the only people with hearing impairments will teach “spoken” language but also hear a sign, then the wall that separates the world of the hearing from the world of the deaf will be a little thinner. Perhaps all people will be able to find a common language (in fact deaf communicate mainly only in their communities), and common interests if they know both verbal and spoken language.