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Who let the SIGNAGE out???!!!!

December 15, 2011



Gallaudet University’s Department of ASL and Deaf Studies is a curriculum department. They provide instruction for the study of ASL, deaf people and deaf community.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies provides undergraduate degree programs and graduate degree programs.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet serves the students and faculty members of the university.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet does not provide services and products to the public. Everyone who has courses within the ASL and Deaf Studies Department knows where it is since they take classes there on a routine basis.

On the other hand….

Gallaudet’s Hearing and Speech Center provides services and products to the students, faculty and members of the mainstream public such as those that live outside of the campus – namely, community members of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

The services they provide are audiology, cochlear implants, hearing aid evaluation and dispensing, assistive devices, speech-language evaluation and therapy, and aural rehabilitation services.

People actually pay for these services or are covered under their health insurance plan.

There is a walk-in service, much like walk-in urgent care services.

There is an appointment one can make for their speech and hearing services.

So then, the differences between Gallaudet’s ASL and Deaf Studies Department and the Speech and Hearing Center is quite clear.

It would explain why there are signs pointing to the Speech and Hearing Center because it serves the public outside of Gallaudet whereas the ASL and Deaf Studies Department serves students and faculty members of the university.

It is as simple as that.

One could ask Gallaudet why, or one can come to a simple conclusion by understanding what each department or center does and whom they serve.

Times a wasting on wasting time.

Happy Holidays to you all!

I’ll be back next year.


You Decide? And more…

October 14, 2011

Well, I am almost back in commission after a hard drive failure, it was partial…but all my files and important stuffs were intact.

And, when one has been out of commission for a while, it takes time to really get back into the fold.

Like, discovering the real world all over again.  (OMG!) ….and things like that…..

I have several things I really want to blog about.

Such as challenging two individuals for the things they said online.    SMH   Should I do it?

Touching on the Envoy Esteem Implant.

Deafhood.   This one has been popping up all over the place and I had some things I wanted to say.

Not to mention some comments which raised eyebrows. I want to touch on that, I want to point out something in hopes that the individual will have a better look at himself.  Although, I suspect the same other individual is working behind the scenes attempting to keep her sheep all in a row, or all circled around her.   Ahh, should I even get into that?

Nothing personal, just pointing out things as it is, in order to help others see it better.  Some people choose to be blind, ya know?

And, then there’s this genocide and eradication crap flying all over the place.   This one is important to really discuss.

And, finally, you decide!  What the heck?   Clearly Mishka Zena is still miffed at the fact that her previous post really isn’t evidence,  she is just fumbling, hoping that her readers will be affected with passion and start a riot.   Or something like that.

Let’s face it, medical community is always looking for a cure, looking for improvement in what isn’t working right.   Come on folks, being deaf/hard of hearing  IS a medical condition.  Really.  So, it makes sense when there’s entities trying to find a cure.  Until there is a cure, a real cure…there’s no such thing as eradication of deafness.  Likewise, if you’re going to be talking about genocide, you better have evidence of deaf people being killed because they’re deaf.  Or, making it mandatory for deaf people to have implants.   To improve or cure deafness isn’t genocide.

I actually almost wrote a real post!!

Anyway, these are the few things I think I want to cover…but time is my enemy.  Give me time, I’ll be back.

Which is better? : Deaf or Deafness?

October 2, 2011

Which is better : Deaf or Deafness?

It’s one of the few things that annoys me to no end. It just drives me nuts.

It’s when people use the word deafness in the wrong way.  It’s when they define that word erroneously.

Did it ever occur to you that Deaf and Deafness are both the same. The only difference is how each is used in a sentence or a title.

We have seen how some claimed deafness is the focus on ‘ears’ and ‘mouths’.

We have seen how some claimed deafness is medical.  Pathological.

Is deaf better than deafness?

No way, no how.

Both mean the same thing.


We have seen how some claimed deafhood is better than deaf or deafness.

Throw in a bit of a common sense here, okay?  Along with learning English structure.

Deaf is an adjective.

Deafness is a noun.

I’m not sure what deafhood is, it’s not even in the dictionary, not the official one anyway.

Definition of DEAF

lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing

unwilling to hear or listen : not to be persuaded <was overwrought and deaf to reason>

deaf·ish   adjective
deaf·ly  adverb
deaf·ness  noun

Merriam-Webster does not have a stand alone definition of deafness, most likely because it is the same definition of deaf except deafness is a noun and its use is dependent on how a sentence or title is worded.

We can say:  I am deaf.

We cannot say:  I am deafness.

We can say:  My deafness does not define me.

We cannot say:  My deaf does not define me.

We can say:  This book is about deaf people.

We cannot say:  This book is about deafness people.

We can say:  I am going to a book signing for “Understanding Deafness.”

We cannot say:  I am going to a book signing for “Understanding Deaf.”

We can say:  share your deafness with me.

We can not say:  Share your deaf with me.

I don’t know where the idea that deafness is defined to mean Oral or ‘ears’ and/or ‘mouth’, because that is not what deafness means.

It seemed that it might have come out during a time where certain people assumed that oral organization with the word deafness in it meant it is oral related, has to do with ears or mouth. I do remember someone saying deaf is better than deafness.

Truth is, It depends on how the title of an organization is named or how a sentence is set up.

There’s no way to compare these two words because they both mean the same thing.

Soooo, which is better?  Deaf or Deafness?

Neither. They’re the same.

Research provides Critical info for parents

September 28, 2011

When I read The Hearing Blog’s latest post, “New Research shows Listening and Hearing is Different for Children with Cochlear Implants”, I knew right away that some of the Pro-ASL advocates would mis-interpret the study.

And, they did.

The study provides critical decision-making information for parents who opt for cochlear implant for their deaf infants.

What we have seen floating around here and there regarding cochlear implant failures are the reason why the Pro-ASL advocates need to understand this research that came out.

There are many reason why a child/infant with CI might not have achieved the desired result that parents expect from a CI.  The critical factors are the age of implantation and the Audio Verbal Therapy (AVT) that follows it, among other factors.

There are parents who think that once an infant or a child is implanted, the rest will take care of itself.  But, that is not true.  This is one of the most common reason why there are failures.

This research says that children who are implanted do not automatically know how to listen when people speak to them.

Infants born deaf are already tuned in to sights, smells, and touch, but, not sounds.  When these infants are implanted, they may not be (at least, from the beginning) responding to sounds since they are more in tuned with sights, smells and touch.

For Pro-ASL folks, this will indicate to them that deaf babies are ‘naturally deaf’ and should be left alone since it might indicate they are predestined to be deaf and should not be ‘fixed.”

However, since technology is available. Parents have had to make decisions about the long-term success of their child. Many parents know they are at a disadvantage since they do not know sign language.  Many know that they will never be fluent – fluent enough to provide their child with complex language environment.  For many parents, they might find the long-term possibility of their deaf child being successful is to work with the language and the family dynamics that are already present in their family.  And for many, that would be listening and speaking as everyone in their family does it.  These are only some of the reasons why parents opt for a CI for their child.

The argument we have seen in the deafosphere regarding combining ASL with AVT tend to be based on the desire of Pro-ASL folk’s goal to preserve deaf culture and deaf way of life rather than respecting many well-informed parents decision for their deaf child.

ASL and AVT cannot be used at the same time.  There is a time period where AVT has to be the main focus in order for CI to be a success.  There is a time period after AVT where sign language can be introduced where it does not affect a child’s ability to listen and speak.  Using ASL and AVT concurrently defeats the purpose of AVT.   It just does not compute.  This is one area where many Pro-ASL folks failed to understand the purpose of AVT.  AVT is nothing like speech therapy many have went through in oral programs/schools, years ago.

This research proves that it is CRITICAL for infants to complete the required time on AVT.   To deviate from this is a wasted time, effort, and money to have a child implanted in the first place.

This research shows why parents SHOULD put AVT at the top of ‘to do’ list after their infant is implanted.  If the parent want to add sign language, they can introduce that after a child ‘graduates’ from AVT (although some professionals have different perspective and would not recommend it).

I contacted a source to get his feedback on the article and this is what was shared with me:

It takes intensive AVT until at least age six. Also, the success of CI’s is high if the child is implanted & switched on by 18 months; at 24 months & up it’s dodgy without much more AVT.

For the first three years of life the areas of the cortex where auditory and visual processing takes place overlap: When ASL (or other manual communication) is present, it “crowds out” the growth of auditory processing capacity. This is why it’s crucial that hearing impaired children be kept as far away as possible from Deafies until they are about six, as this will adversely impact their development. They’ll have a whole life ahead of them to learn ASL and Deaf Culture, if they so choose.

Many parents are currently implanting their child as young as 5-6 months, which is younger than what the FDA recommends.  A recommendation is just that and not a law that mandates.

When reading this research, we need to keep in mind that parents make decisions based on being informed and this research is one of the many out there that helps parents in that regard.

This research will help parents understand why it is extremely critical to ensure their babies get intensive AVT for as long as is required in order to reach the optimal expectation of their child benefiting from CI which is to be able to listen and speak as well as their hearing peers.  That is, if they have made the decision to opt for CI.

I hope this helps the deaf community understand why parents make the decision that they do when it comes to focusing on AVT and not considering sign language until a later period of time or not at all, when and if they choose to implant their child.  When Pro-ASL advocate for all deaf/hh babies to be taught ASL from the start (especially those already implanted), it clashes with the research such as the one linked on this post and encourages more CI failures.

National ‘Think Tank’ on deaf education is on the horizon

September 26, 2011

There is a plan for a large national “Think Tank” to identify challenges in deaf education today, which is scheduled for early Spring of 2012.  The planner hopes for a long-term collaboration to develop and advocate for models and funding to address different educational needs of deaf/hh children in USA where there are variety of educational methodologies.

September 26 2012 is when the top leaders involved in deaf education from around the country will meet and plan this big national ‘Think Tank.’   The International Center on Deafness and the Arts (ICODA) Founder and President, Dr. Patricia Scherer has a vision to bring everyone together (regardless of preferred methodology) to address issues.  The goal is to structure educational and training programs that are based on the individual needs of each child.

Some of the top leaders in deaf education that were mentioned who will be at the planning committee are:

Christine Clark, MA.Ed, CED, Family Center Coordinator for the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Stephen Weiner, Provost of Gallaudet University

Dr. Fletcher-Janzen and Dr. Lukasz Konopka, Professors at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

What caught my eye was this statement in the press release:

The result is that only a small portion of the deaf population of children has the same characteristics of the population twenty years ago. “Unfortunately,” said Scherer, “most teachers are trained to support a child that almost doesn’t exist anymore.”

I am sure we’ll hear more about the details of  this Spring national ‘Think Tank’ on the future of deaf education in America, soon.

I am also sure, that all stakeholders will be involved, considering who is already on the planning committee.

The national think tank on the future of deaf education would probably include many other parents, educators and professionals of all methodologies. I don’t know if collaboration of this magnitude was ever attempted before in the USA.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the outcome would be.

The press release on this can be seen here.


Once upon a time…..

September 7, 2011

“Once upon a time Gallaudet was a place where everyone didn’t mind whether one used various sign language and/or if one spoke.  Many Deaf of Deaf happen to be hard of hearing and they spoke on campus. They still considered themselves Deaf.  Why should it be a weight at all? What changed? Gallaudet was never a place where voice wasn’t used, at least it wasn’t when I was there…once upon a time… “

That was my comment over at Deaf Echo, “The Problem of Speaking.”   Elena Ruiz’s post covered speaking. I remembered a time where voice was accepted, but most importantly – I remembered a time where sign language in English order was used frequently along with other modes of communication.

Until 1988 Deaf President Now (DPN) revolt began, Gallaudet College and other colleges and schools for the deaf enjoyed peace and harmony. All modes of communication were used by students, teachers and parents: Cued Speech, SEE II, Total Communication (TC), Simultaneous Method (Sim Com), Combined Method, Sign Support Speech (SSS), and any signs that followed the language order of English were encouraged.. The easy flow of ASL can be beautiful and rhythmic, and has been largely used by people who are hereditarily deaf (HD); however, it is not for everyone and should not be forced upon all Deaf.

That was what Retired Associate Professor of Gallaudet University, Frances M Parsons said on her blog.

“During the early years of Gallaudet in the 19th century, peace reigned as the students and faculty used sign language based largely on English. It stemmed from Laurent Clerc, who taught signs to educators of the deaf in proper English-word-order along with a considerable amount of fingerspelling.” Parsons continues, “Laurent Clerc’s classic signs in English-word-order is the true legacy and heritage” of educated Deaf people. She concludes, “Recently, heated arguments about ASL have accelerated tenfold destroying what little was left of Clerc’s signs. . . . If he knew that today’s ASL (which still consists of some of his signs, but not in English-word-order) was to be mandatory at Gallaudet [University], [Clerc] would be literally ‘whirling in his grave.’”


(Parsons further claims that “ASLists” are “brainwashing” young Deaf pupils.) Frances M. Parsons, “Why ASL?” in Frances M. Parsons and Larry G. Stewart, American Sign Language: Shattering the Myth (Wilsonville, OR: Kodiak Media Group, 1998), 48-54. While I agree that in the classroom Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet used a sign language based partially on the word order of spoken languages, I disagree with Parsons that this pidgin language of instruction is the “true legacy” of the nineteenth-century American Deaf community.

The two footnotes above was found in this article written by Hannah Joyner, “From Pity to Pride: Growing Up Deaf in the Old South.”  It is interesting to note that Hannah Joyner failed to state why she disagrees with Parson that this pidgin language of instruction is the ‘true legacy’ of the nineteenth-century American Deaf community.   The videos below will prove Hannah Joyner wrong, in my opinion.

Aside from, but relevant to sign language, I might share some of my concerns about the so-called Bi-Bi approach as is defined by its adherents. The emphasis is that deaf people communicate solely in ASL, and that children are taught by ASL (American Sign Language) on the hands but use English only in writing, because it is a different language from ASL.  In other words, it is not permissible to sign in English!  That has not been my experience of that of many others who use both ASL and English on the hands.

The above was taken from “My Yesterdays” by Mervin D. Garretson, pg 151.   Note  how he stated that in his experience, many use ASL and English on the hands.  That translates into: sign language in English order, wouldn’t you say?

Garretson said:

I found myself most readily identifying with their statement (referring to Jane K. Fernandes and Shirley Schultz Meyers “Inclusive Deaf Studies: Barriers and Pathways”) “We have long been strong advocates of ASL in every way.  However, we believe the intentional combination of ASL and English, when done by a person proficient and fluent in both, represents a hybrid form of communication, if not language, that should be explored as new possibility rather than dismissed out of hand as impossible.”

Garretson further stated:

“To me that’s not a new possibility; it exists, but I agree ASL people need to come out of the shadows and face the fact that many of them, although not all, sign exactly this way.”

Indeed, it exists.  ASL and English ON THE HAND.  English on the hand.  The last two statement by Mervin Garretson can be found on page 153 in this link.

And, finally, several videos will serve as evidence in how deaf people who used sign language, actually signed.

Watch George Veditz’s signing in this video here.

Read this RID’s translation (in actuality, it is transliteration, IMO) of Veditz’s 1913 film:

Notice how Veditz used sign language in English order.  And, if you compare his signing with the translation/transliteration, there isn’t much difference.  Veditz is basically signing in English order.  There’s no doubt about it.

Now, view this video of the 28th National Association of the Deaf convention in 1966.

Pay attention to how these deaf folks signed, you may watch the whole video (which is fascinating, by the way) or go to 1:00 and watch how these deaf people sign.   They signed very much like Veditz, which is sign language in English order.  From 1913 to 1966, sign language did not change drastically. These deaf people also fingerspelled frequently as did Veditz.

Now, check out this video of Ella Mae Lentz in 1977  where she responded to an interview, pay very close attention to how she signed in that video. Notice how she did not say ‘ASL’, but ‘Sign Language’.  Most importantly, watch how she signed.  Her signing can be seen starting around 1:31.

Then, pay very close attention to how she currently signs in this video:

The difference is clear.  Why did she change how she signed?

When did it change?  Did the change occur naturally?  Or was a certain brand of “ASL” forcibly pushed on Deaf culture?

Going back to my comment above, “Once Upon a time…..”   Bobbie Cox responded to my comment, and he said:

Nothing changed, Candysblog — just that deaf people are more aware of the repercussions of behavior around them.  In earlier days, less people were aware of colonized mindsets, less aware of audism, and so on.

Something did change and he pretty much answered it with his comment towards me.

When was the word ‘audism’ first coined?  When did the word ‘colonized’ pop up?

You can do the math and figure it out.

As Frances Parsons stated, it wasn’t until after 1988 that there were changes.

I was at Gallaudet prior to 1988, I agree with Parson’s statement.

The question here is, did sign language in the history of deaf change naturally or was it manipulated to what it is still being manipulated to this day by certain entities such as Deaf Studies, new deaf organization movement, etc?

Parsons said:  “Laurent Clerc’s classic signs in English-word-order is the true legacy and heritage”

I pointed out to that as well on my blog post, “Challenging ASL:PSE Rules!” 

Gallaudet eventually convinced Clerc to come to America with him, and the two of them started the first school for the deaf in the United States: the American Asylum at Hartford, Connecticut.  Clerc, who was a well-educated deaf man himself, taught the French sign system to Gallaudet while they traveled to this country.  Working together, the two men modified the French system and changed it to accommodate English forms and grammar.  This was an early form of Signed Exact English, which is still in use to this day.  Signed Exact English, with its strict adherence to English grammatical forms, was very tedious and took a long time to convey messages.  It did, however, use the same structure and forms as English, including articles, word endings, and the structure of prepositional phrases.

The two men used these “Methodical Signs,” as they were called, in the classrooms of the American Asylum.  Even as they taught, though, they noted that students used a different system of signs when speaking informally amongst themselves.  Teachers were even encouraged to master both sign systems, though Gallaudet and Clerc did not go so far as to call the second system a “language.”  Instead, they compared it to the Signed Exact English system that they used for instruction and pointed out the differences.  Over time, however, the signs from the formal system used for education and those from the informal system intermixed and became what we know as American Sign Language today

Read the links for yourself, the history of sign language has shown that ASL could in essence truly be PSE since ASL signs are used in English order.   And, these videos don’t lie.

As Veditz said,  “Beware of the false prophets!”

PSE or Academic ASL?

August 25, 2011

Linguistics is the scientific study of language.  Linguists discover and describes the rules governing language. Linguist do not make the rules. Linguist’s job is to discover what the rules are and how a language system works.

languages belong to those who speak them, not to those who study them as outsiders.   (pg 24)

Speakers of a language know much about the language without quite knowing how,or even that, they know it.  Most rules we learned not from grammar books, but from our experience with the language itself.  Indeed, many rules are not even written down – anywhere!

The same can be said about sign language.

They are unconscious and unwritten rules.

There are variants of sign languages that have not been researched enough or at all.

Dr. Raychelle Harris gave a presentation on “Academic Discourse in English and ASL

Supposedly it was to be part of a series on ‘ASL In Academic’ and the subsequent series of videos was supposed to be posted on the Bilingual Teaching and Learning web site. However, upon checking the website, there are no videos listed. I came across the first video where Raychelle did her presentation on another website not affiliated with Gallaudet.

To summarize the presentation leading in to her ‘”open discussion” on Academic ASL, she first explained the specialized discourse humans typically gain at a point in time, which is the average age of six years old, where they pick up on things they are interested in.  Specialized discourses versus registers which is based on how one communicate with certain individual/audience.   She then got into the researches on academic discourses and pointed out how the field is vast.  There are many areas of studies covering academic discourses.  Of the many, Raychelle picked one to use in discussing Academic ASL.  She chose ‘Secondary Discourse’ by Dr. James Paul Gee.  Using that framework, she described primary discourse which is when an individual learns language through family conversation. Secondary discourses or specialized discourse is language used that is school-based or academic that is learned and not acquired.

starting around 16:40, Raychelle pointed out that there are Academic Discourses on English, however there isn’t any research on Academic Discourses on ASL.  She decided to take on that challenge, making a guess on what Academic ASL is.  She says it does not mean she is right and that her audience are wrong.  She stated that Academic ASL is open for discussion.

Which point to a fact that  language belong to the users, it’s not the linguists who dictate what is or isn’t Academic ASL but the users themselves.

We might want to also review what a reader in my previous blog brought up regarding prescriptivists and descriptivist.  Even thou language belongs to the user, there are different school of thoughts when it comes to language.

We have seen other deaf individuals in the blogosphere who claimed that they were not using PSE, rather they were using Academic ASL.  There has been no research on Academic ASL.  There might have been suggestion as to what Academic ASL is or a suggestion to consider what Academic ASL is.

Before I go on with Raychelle’s example of Academic ASL, I want to hone in a bit about PSE in order to make my point regarding the relationship, if any, on PSE and Academic ASL.

Many have said that PSE is outdated and that contact sign language should be used.  I disagree with that view. I disagreed with the fact that contact sign language and PSE are one and the same.  My rationale for that is based on how I have observed many deaf individuals using PSE with other deaf.  How the PSE used between deaf are different with contact signing between deaf and hearing.

Here, I was able to find something that corroborates with my perception:

The common use of signing with English word order by deaf and hearing individuals in a shared community is sometimes called contact sign in order to distinguish it from the more idiosyncratic PSE and more formalized created sign systems.” – (pg 81)  Marc Marschark, Raising and educating a deaf child: a comprehensive guide to the choices

Note, “Signing with English word order by deaf and hearing…is sometimes called contact sign IN ORDER TO DISTINGUISH IT from the more idiosyncratic PSE….”

What does idiosyncratic mean?  It means distinctive, unique, native, etc.  PSE is unique and distinctive, which means it is not necessarily the same as contact sign.

Back to Raychelle’s presentation…

Starting at 22:16, we see Raychelle had two English text samples at the bottom of the screen:  Colloquial English and Academic English.

Then we see she had three samples of signing/ASL above the English samples:  English Influenced Signing; Colloquial ASL and Academic ASL.

Watching the three samples where Raychelle showed different signings for each sample, I noticed her signing of Academic ASL is nothing like PSE.  It is truly Academic ASL in a sense that ASL is preserved to such extend in an academic approach. It is more specialized discourse in  ASL.  I have also noticed English Influenced Signing to be more aligned to how PSE is used.

Based on Raychelle’s sample, Academic ASL is NOTHING like PSE or ASL in English order.

However, English Influenced Signing is very much like PSE or ASL in English order.

One possibility why Raychell’s Academic ASL is ASL rather than PSE could be a factor that has to do with Raychelle’s area of study which is Deaf Studies.

It is no secret that Deaf Studies program varies across the nation.  Based on my observation thus far, Deaf Studies aim to manipulate the perception of what deaf culture is, what ASL should be and so on rather than what it is.

All in all, I find Raychelle’s use of ASL to be a good benchmark to use when discussing ASL.  So, I will agree with her that her example of Academic ASL is what Academic ASL is supposed to be and it is definitely, In my opinion, not the same as PSE.

The inference used in the sample “English Influenced Signing” indicates separation of ASL and non-ASL signing, however, English Influenced Signing can be described as ASL in English order and are therefore PSE.

I’m open to discussing this further.

One does not have to be a linguistics major or have taken ASL course to be considered an ‘expert’ in order to discuss these things.  Language of signs belong to us users who use it.  Rules are made by users of language and not made by linguists.  To imply that linguist who study sign language are experts is a misnomer.  In addition, there’s no experts among the users, in my opinion.  There are just perceptions based on how we use sign language and how we observe other users like us use it.


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