There are two different modes of signing phrases and ideas. The preferred way is to use American Sign Language, or ASL. ASL is used to convey thoughts, phrases, ideas, and information by explaining and describing the idea using signs. ASL also has its own grammatical order, which differs greatly from the English language. In English, if you were to say “I have two sisters” you would say it just like that. In ASL, to sign the same concept, you would sign “two sister me have.” These mean the same thing, but are communicated differently. ASL is most commonly used by the Deaf community.
Signed English is a hybrid of ASL and English and is most commonly used by English speakers. It is also referred to as Pidgin Sign. Signed English is also found to be offensive to the Deaf community and should be avoided. In signed English instead of signing the concept or idea using the grammatical norms in ASL, the sentences are signed exactly as they would be written or spoken in English. For example, if you were to use Signed English to sign “I have two sisters” you would sign each of those words in the exact order.
ASL is the preferred and most widely used form of sign language in the United States and Canada. It is important to be aware of these differences and try to adhere to the rules of ASL as much as possible, to avoid being offensive or rude to a native ASL speaker. This is why this course strives to inform the student about ASL and not Signed English. When teaching children sign language in the classroom, you should strive to teach ASL and not signed English.
You should not teach signed english in your program
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