ASL 101 lesson 1

Welcome to our vibrant, rich world of language and culture -- American Sign Language! This is only the beginning of a long journey, depending on how far you'll be going.

We hope you will appreciate our unique, rich Deaf/ASL community, language, and culture and recognize us as a cultural-linguistic community. ASL is the core of our cultural-linguistic identity and we highly value our own language.

These lessons online are only for your personal interest, self-learning activity, learning journey, or extracurricular resources, not for a credit nor it's a formal instruction.

Typically, on the first day of class, your instructor may discuss your course' syllabus at your college/university.

In most cases, your qualified/certified ASL instructor may be culturally Deaf. If she/he is, you're lucky. Trust me. Or, your instructor may be a coda (child of d/Deaf parents).

Regardless of who may be teaching ASL, practicing "no voice policy" is crucial for some cultural and historical reasons in the instructor's world as well as for your visual-spatial training and language acquisition on your part as a learner. I should remind that "no voice policy" is not that "no English policy." Yes, catch-22, I know. Not exactly, catch-22. While you're not allowed to use vocal English, you can use other means such as fingerspelling (yes, you can use English only in fingerspelling) or writing with your classmate.

Typically, there is an ASL-English interpreter present on the first day of class only. After that, all instruction is conducted in the target language, ASL. This practice is no different from other foreign (spoken) language courses. English (that is, written) is used for instructions and such. The instructor will not only give an instruction for a task-based activity in written English but also subsequentially instruct in ASL (translation) for the purpose of language exposure in the target language.

Understand the benefits of no voice policy in classroom and the importance of practicing it. Most importantly of all, respect everyone of all diversity.

ASL/Deaf Awareness Quiz

The fun part. What's more fun about it is that there is no grade for this quiz. Your instructor may be likely giving your class a Deaf awareness quiz found in Signing Naturally. For a different set of questions, take another awareness quiz.

Many students arrive in ASL class with some common preconceptions about Deaf people and their language. These misconceptions surprise many students. In the end, the awareness quiz often brought excitement to the students about learning more.

Assignment: If you have take your ASL/Deaf Awareness quiz in your class, write your reflection paper about the awareness quiz.

About learning a second language

Learn about the reasons why people learn a foreign or second language, particularly American Sign Language.


Read learning strategies in classroom and practice a few critical strategies to focus on for the next weeks.

Most people are right-handed, but if you happen to be left-handed. Learn about right-handed and left-handed signing.


How to sign HOMEWORK?

Feeling overwhelmed or nervous? If you are new in ASL classroom, most students in this level share invariably similar experience: excitement, naive, fear, curiosity, etc. You are not alone. It is a normal process. It is a very beginning of your journey.

You're not relaxed, still? Aren't they comforting enough? Okay, here is some pharmakon to help ease you up. :)

Become familiar with how to use survival phrases for use in classroom.

Become familiar with transcription symbols for writing and reading basic glosses. It might be beneficial for you to write down notes in class.