Why writing ASL (American Sign Language)?
Why do people write? Especially with signed language? What brought Chinese people to writing thousands of years ago? What brought many other cultures from ancient Egyptian and Latin to writing? We all cannot go back to that time to see the "birth" of writing systems. But, our own people can watch ourselves in this process.
While many Deaf people and even ASL students embrace and support ASL writing. They find a positive outlook about this. On the other hand, there are many naysayers or skeptics. This familiar scenario also happened with the emergence of ASL linguistics and such in the past history.
Some might ask, "Why would Deaf people want to write in ASL?" Simple, it is for the same reason hearing people want to write in their spoken language, whether that language be English or some other language and whether that modality be vocal-aural or visual-spatial.
Such skeptics would ask questions such as, "Most Deaf people are bilingual and are well literate in written English. Why ASL writing?"
Do English-speaking people enjoy read and write in a foreign language that is not their native language? ASL-speaking people should have the same right to enjoy reading and writing in their native language (ASL) without translating between their second language English and first language ASL.
One of ASL students wrote, "I'm worried that if deaf children write ASL, then they wouldn't be able to communicate well in English with the hearing world."
What's wrong with bilingualism in a written form? The brain loves bilingualism. It's brain booster like crazy. We'd have a lot of well-educated Deaf bilinguals than most mainstream monolinguals.
Another naysayer asked, "ASL writing for who? Not many people know written ASL. Who would read?"
These children in the 2010's will turn into adults one day in no time. In addition, some ASL adult speakers are interested. And some ASL students are eager about it to help them with ASL learning. Not to mention, there was a time when the majority of hearing people were illiterate where literacy was the superstructure's privilege.
Why is there a writing system for English? It’s the same reason for ASL yet why would we need to be questioned? Do these questions above exhibit audism? Hearing privilege? We have every the right to be human as anyone. Embrace ASL writing.
ASL writing is used for writing expression and thought in the written form that represents a signed language in the same way speakers do with writing that represents a spoken language. It’s recorded literature. It’s not designated for teaching or explaining ASL, but for the sake of writing!
As for me, my reason or motivation for ASL writing? What brought me to learn ASL writing? What was the magic urge?
ASL calligraphy and poetry. They ringed little stars and hearts in my eyes. It's a perfect harmony to begin.
Literary art is a good starter. It's perfect for me as a literary artist who is crazily inspired by Japanese calligraphy and I longed to integrate ASL with calligraphy. Another reason is ASL poetry in the written form.
It's not possible to translate ASL rhymes into English (for some of you who don't know, ASL is a language of its own, not a signed version of English). This is one example of some reasons for ASL writing that one can maintain rhymes of an ASL poem in the written form.
These literary arts (poetry and calligraphy) are two examples of some various reasons that inspire ASL/Deafpeople to write ASL. Writing is a joy in its own way.