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ANTH 240 Week 8 Notes

by: Hallie Notetaker

ANTH 240 Week 8 Notes Anth 240

Hallie Notetaker
Minnesota State University, Mankato
GPA 3.66

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About this Document

Sign Languages
Language and Culture
Dr. Chelsea Mead
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hallie Notetaker on Monday October 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 240 at Minnesota State University - Mankato taught by Dr. Chelsea Mead in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views. For similar materials see Language and Culture in Anthropology at Minnesota State University - Mankato.

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Date Created: 10/17/16
Sign Language Definitions  Visually based languages o Makes use of hands, fingers, body, facial features, mouth, etc.  Grammatical structure different from spoken language  Culturally bound o Not universal  ASL vs. BSL vs.AusLan  Arise out of necessity o Deaf individuals do not have access to vocal auditory channel o Major point – Deaf vs. deaf  Primary – used as communication between Deaf people  Alternate – used by speakers of a language that may not necessarily be deaf, like PISL  Village sign languages o Situation where large number of deaf people live (ex. Genetic trait) o Signing emerges between hearing and non-hearing members of the community so that people can communicate o Martha’s Vineyard example  Deaf community sign languages o Develops when a number of Deaf individuals are brought together for some specific purpose o Example – founding a school and/or standardizing a sign language Manually Coded Sign Language  Artificial languages  Like learning a second language  Reproduce exact structures of spoken language o Examples – signed exact English (SEE), cued speech o Signs for (-ing) and (-ment)  Sign the root morpheme, then you sign the suffix o Improving  Sign (improve) + (ing)  In ASL, improving, improvement are variations of the same sign  Contact sign o Most people can use both to some degree and mix them – especially for hearing people Features of ASL  Structure is different from spoken English  Concept-based signs o Right:  Correct  Opposite of left  Legal principle  Handedness matters o One-handed signs are often made with dominant hand o Depends on dialect  Grammar differences Culture Difference in Sign Languages  In ASL, to be grammatically complete, questions require eyebrow manipulation o Wh- questions – furrowed o All others – raised  Evidence of change – “which”  In Nicaraguan Sign Language, you wrinkle your nose  Different grammars between spoken/written English &ASL o I-Ask-Her is one sign inASL o In spoken English, it’s three words Story and History of ASL  Pre 1817, no standardized education for deaf individuals o Aneed for one arose  Key people o Thomas Gallaudet (1787-1851)  Graduate of Yale o Alice Cogswell (1805-1830)  Nine year old deaf girl o Laurent Clerc (1785-1869)  French graduate of the Paris School for the Deaf  Began teaching atAmerican Asylum at Hartford, Connecticut (1817) o Now known as theAmerican School for the Deaf o First school for Deaf people in the United States o Had to develop a standardized sign language  Used an amalgamation of French Sign Language and indigenous/village sign languages of the Northeast (PISL, MVSL, etc.)  Primary or alternate? Village or community?  Primary, Deaf-community sign language Teaching and Negotiation of Sign Language in US  1800s – old Signed English was actively taught  End of 1800s and early 1900s o “Oral” approach – lip reading and fingerspelling were critical  Bilingualism and resistance o From Deaf parents o From schoolmates o Used Manually Coded English, speech reading, fingerspelling at school o ASL amongst themselves and within the community Language Ideologies  1867 – founding of the Lexington School for the Deaf in NYC o First purely oral school in the US  Oral philosophy o For deaf children to be successful in the hearing world, they had to develop spoken language through speaking, fingerspelling and speech reading o Signing was actively discouraged o Sign languages were second-class systems of communication o Assumptions and dynamics  Hearing and speaking is dominant  Others must join the dominant group Language Ideologies about Deaf Community and Signing  Thought it was broken English – users were linguistically and/or mentally limited  Something that needed to be “fixed”  “Primitive” Public Figures and Eugenics  Alexander Graham Bell o “Mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development”  Helen Keller o “At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him…” Implications of Ideologies  Lack of access to power o Decision made on behalf of Deaf people o Kept dependent o Internalized oppression  Stigmatized o Stares and mocking o Tarnished image ofASL o Degraded the individual  Slow learner, “retarded”  Emotionally disturbed, willful  “Every child deserves a chance at oralism”  “If a child is taught fingerspelling and sign language he will never learn to talk” Gallaudet University – Academic Shift  William Stokoe Jr. o Took a job teaching English at Gallaudet College in 1955 o Was not deaf himself but wanted to learn to better communicate with his students o Manually Coded English/Signed English  Artificial language that follows structures of spoken English…morpheme by morpheme, word by word…slower  Students generally used in class but not beyond o Studying students’use of sign language outside of class  1960 Stokoe published Sign Language Structure which showed the phonology, morphology and syntax ofASL  Had been discouraged by fellow faculty members Implications in LanguageAcquisition  90% of deaf children born to hearing parents o Many of them are unequipped and not educated in the needs of raising a deaf child  Are unable to hear their parents and others  Often have no exposure to a signed language  Less extreme cases of Genie or Victor? o Had communicative contact, but no language  Critical Period Hypothesis o Do these children learn a native language? o Research suggests yes and no  Native signers o Usually raised by Deaf-aware parents o Have exposure to the sign language from birth o Full and correct use of markers and tenses inASL  Later learners o Usually raised by hearing parents o Often do not get exposed to sign language until going to a Deaf school (age 5-7) o Tendency to use certain markers and tenses closer to SEE thanASL o “Near native-like fluency” Beware the Single Story  Resilience in the Deaf community o Educational efforts  Deaf President now o Intermarriages o Linguistic distinctiveness  Allies and changing winds o Linguistic research o Legislation  Americans with DisabilitiesAct


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