ASL is the cornerstone of our community and yet nobody takes the time to sit down and educate children or new-comers to the language. It is essentially a “DIY” language which has made it unequal to the English language. This perception is the community’s fault.
As Adrean says, it is our language, part of our responsibility is to “promote and advance” our language within. She doesn’t mean to critique and criticize others on their style or way of signing.
Where is the “honor” of high skills within ASL. In the hearing community, people are revered for their high level of ability to write/speak English. This is true within both the school system and in the mainstreamed community. This practice is nonexistent within the community. Where is ownership for the language that is cherished by this community?
Why should children fear criticism and not be empowered to learn their own language and be educated on the proper structure. Another issue that Adrean brings up is that, sometimes people don’t necessarily understand ASL and it’s grammar rules. That is also the community’s fault.
What is so wrong with setting up ASL classes and teaching structure and rules in the same fashion as English? There are ASL classes but they aren’t there for our community, but rather to spread awareness and exposure.
Does that mean hearing people should be better at our language than us?
In Sweden, their sign language (TSP) is taught within schools to help students best understand the structure of their signed language and how it’s different than the Swedish language. This is a model for the American community to consider following when exposing children or new-comers to ASL.
There is also a heavy use/influence by English within ASL which is normal for any language however it’s necessary for the community to look within and push away from the English Language. Adrean mentioned finger spelling as a common way to fill “void” within ASL however it is not something she is in favor of. “look at the word meaning and come up with a sign, explain why” she says.
Ownership of ASL needs to happen now. Not later when hearing people have dominated our language. Treat it with the respect and care that it deserves especially since it’s such an invaluable resource to the community.