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.
Syllabus in Teaching American Sign Language (ASL)
The syllabi of sign language courses vary among programs in colleges, universities, and other educational institutions.
As ASL classes have been quickly growing popular since the 1980s, a curriculum for teaching students ASL as a second language (L2) was developed and standardized for a higher quality of instruction and learning -- Learning Outcomes for American Sign Language Skills Levels 1-4.
A syllabus basically includes the following:
ASL 101/111 + ASL 102/112 syllabus
General description: An introduction to American Sign Language and its Deaf culture and community... to develop communicative competency and receptive and expressive skills...
Instructor: (this section contains an instructor's name, contact information, etc).
Course materials: (this contain a textbook, course materials, etc). The student workbook Signing Naturally currently is a common ACTFL-standard textbook on the market.
Evaluations (credit course): this section contain information about the evaluations which may consist of assignments, projects, journals, presentations, tests, quizzes, mid-term exams, oral exam (communicative competency), and/or final exam.
Grading: This contain information on an educational institution's grading system. E.g. A for 90-100%, B for 89-80% and so on.
Kim Brown Kurz, Phd; Marty M. Taylor, PhD. Learning Outcomes for American Sign Language Skills Levels 1-4. Download this document in the public domain at https://ritdml.rit.edu/handle/1850/6270
Wilcox, Sherman; Wilcox, Phyllis Perrin (1997). Learning to See: Teaching American Sign Language as a Second Language (second edition). Gallaudet University Press.
Baker-Shenk, Dennis Cokely Charlotte (1980). American Sign Language: A Teacher's Resource Text on Curriculum, Methods, and Evaluation. Gallaudet University Press.
Related posts: curriculum in sign language education.
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.
"No Voice" policy in classroom: ASL zone
You might sometimes see a yellow zone sign "SIGN LANGUAGE SPOKEN HERE" at some places, such as school for the deaf, organizations of the deaf, offices of the ASL instructors, and so on. It is a friendly warning sign to indicate that the area is to use ASL only or where everyone uses ASL.
No voice policy is a standard policy in ASL instruction. ASL is taught entirely in classes with a "no voice" policy. From the time you arrive in class, all conversation should be in ASL until you leave at the end of class.
The classroom is a speech-free zone for two major reasons: learning environment and cultural respect. Not only it is a classroom policy, it is also a socio-cultural norm and custom in the Deaf world. Learning a language is not without learning its culture, inseparable.
A student's learning ability is greatly enhanced by this no voice environment. Full immersion helps develop better receptive and expressive skills. Using voice may distract or interfere other students' learning process.
In the early stage of learning ASL (e.g. level 100), "no voice" policy is crucial. Some students may think it is easier to or may be tempted to learn ASL by using vocal English. Easy start but bad start -- it doesn't help in the long run in language skill. It's probably challenging for some of them in the beginning but a breakthrough will be rewarding in the long run. Those who choose the easier way in the beginning may face a more challenging receptive/expressive skills in the later stage.
Another reason is to maintain that ASL is a language of its own. Students are taught to think in ASL, not English while signing ASL. Using voice (English) while signing ASL may interfere with language development in vocabulary and grammar: incorrect uses of ASL vocabulary in different contexts (semantics), an incorrect grammatical structure and/or a limit of grammar skill.
Respect for a culture of the language
Classroom is a good place to train and learn to practice "no voice" habit that will be applied to a cultural behavior and norm in the ASL/Deaf world outside a classroom. Hearing people who know ASL usually talk in ASL in any ASL/Deaf space or in front of any Deaf person to respect their culture and language. The use of voice is a rude or offensive behaviour in Deaf space. It demonstrates an ignorance or disrespect for their culture as well as a reminder of the historical oppression.
Language and culture are inseparable, intergrated, and intertwined. ASL students are not just learning this language, you also learn their culture. Your role is to be an ally. For ASL is the most valued identity of their culture, the ASL natives whose language is regarded as the most precious gift of their culture share their language with you.
Learning ASL in class is usually a fun and interesting experience. Students often have a positive learning experience, but also make sure the ASL instructors have a positive teaching experience also. Respect is a peaceful language across all languages and cultures.
These are some ASL lessons, tutorials, and tips that ASL students and language enthusiasts can explore and learn some ASL on their own relaxing pace.
- ASL classes: where to take in America?
- ASL proficiency levels
- ASL Zone: no voice policy in classroom
- ASL, 3rd most studied foreign language
- Becoming a bimodal: brain-booster benefits
- Benefits for learning sign language
- Cooperative and collaborative learning
- Gloss transcription symbols
- Handed: which right or left hand should you use?
- How hard is it to learn sign language
- How long does it take to learn sign language
- How to pick the right ASL program
- Learn sign language the best way
- Learning strategies in classroom
- Negotiating meaning in ASL class
- Qualifications to look for in ASL instructors
- Syllabus for ASL courses
- Tips on learning immersion in sign language
- Why does one learn sign language?
- Affixes: AGENT suffix and others
- Alliteration in sign language poetry
- ASL 101: survival phrases in classroom
- Assertion in sign language
- Assimilation processes
- Awareness quiz on sign language and deaf
- Blink as grammatical feature
- Calendar: how to tell CENTURY
- Calendar: how to tell days
- Calendar: how to tell MONTH
- Calendar: how to tell WEEK
- Calendar: how to tell YEAR
- Cinematic devices: an introduction
- Cinematic vocabulary aka visual vernicular
- Classifier: body classifier (BCL)
- Classifier: body part (BPCL)
- Classifier: descriptive classifiers (DCL)
- Classifier: semantic classifiers (SCL)
- Classifiers: a list of CL handshapes
- Classifiers: an introduction
- Coarticulation in sign language
- Colloquialisms in sign language
- Common errors in ASL level 1
- Common redundancy in ASL
- Conditional statements in sign language
- Conjunction "ONE"
- Conjunction "UNDERSTAND++"
- Conjunction WRONG in ASL
- Conjunction: FINISH
- Conjunctions: beyond FINISH and WRONG
- Contrastive structure: grammar
- Conversational openers
- Depicting verbs in sign language
- Describing a room using classifiers
- Describing distance: AAH, MM, CS
- Describing human body: a female reproductive organ
- Describing lamps and lights, using classifiers.
- Describing objects using classifiers
- Describing shapes + locations
- Describing shapes + sizes: OO, MM, CHA
- Describing sizes: OO, MM, CHA
- Describing tables, using classifiers
- Determiners in American Sign Language
- Dominant, passive, and symmetrical hands: conditions
- Embedded questions in statements
- Explain how to make something (food)
- Expressing greetings
- Expressing manners in ASL
- Fingerspelled loan signs
- Giving and asking for directions
- Humor: ASL students' first semester journey in class
- Humor: ASL instructor's journey in teaching in classroom
- Humor: funny moments classroom
- Humor: students' first day of class in ASL 101
- Idioms in American Sign Language
- Indicating verbs in sign language
- Interjections in sign language
- Introducing one's name
- Linguistics: the study of (signed) language
- Listing and ranking grammar
- Math: division
- Minimal pairs in ASL phonology
- Morphology in sign language linguistics
- Mouth morpheme in ASL
- Mouth morpheme: OO
- Mouth morpheme: TH
- Negation in sign language
- Non-manual signals
- Noun in American Sign Language
- Noun-verb pairs: syntax
- Number: telling prices and asking how much it costs
- Numbers million to billion
- Numbers: decimals
- Numbers: how to tell fractions
- Numbers: how to tell PHONE number
- Numbers: ordinal
- Numbers: telling decimals
- Numbers: telling the age
- Numeral incorporation
- OSV sentence structure
- Passive and active voices
- Phonaesthesia or sound symbolism in sign language
- Phonology: the smallest units of sign language
- Preposition: FOR
- Prepositions and locatives
- Prepositions: IN, INTO
- Production of the sign DEAF
- Pronouns and spatial referencing
- Pronouns: demonstrative
- Pronouns: honorific
- Pronouns: personal
- Pronouns: plural (numeral incorporation)
- Pronouns: possessive
- Pronouns: reflexive
- Prosody in sign language
- Proximalization in sign language linguistics
- Question using a question marker
- Question using a wh-question marker
- Question using a yes/no marker
- The origin of syntax: agent-action construction
- Register and discourse
- Rhetorical question in sign language
- Rhyme and rhythm in sign language
- Role shifting in ASL
- Rule of 9, The
- Sentence structures in ASL
- Sentence type: commands
- Sentence types in ASL
- Signing tips for video assignments
- Slang in sign language
- Stress and emphasis in sign language
- SVO sentence structure
- Syntax in sign language
- Talking about transportation
- Temporal aspects: frequency and duration
- Time indicators and tenses
- Time: duration of an event
- Time: frequency of time
- Time: tell when (future)
- Time: telling o'clock
- To be verbs: is, are, am
- Topicalization: sentence structure
- Variation in sign language
- Verb inflection: ASK, GIVE, etc.
- Verb inflection: HELP
- Verbs in sign language
- Video guidelines for ASL assignments
- Vocabulary: art and design
- Vocabulary: holidays and season greetings
- Vocabulary: moustaches and beards
- Vocabulary: restaurants in America
- Vocabulary: tax
- Which garbage can is up or down?
- Word formation in Japanese Sign Language
- Word formation: borrowing in ASL
- Word formation: compounding
- Word formation: neologism, nonce
- Word usage: WORSE
Seeking some challenges? Try some stories, fables, and others in ASL storytelling and poetry. Study a complex system of subtle eye gazes, role-shifting, classifiers, sentence structures, and other linguistic features as well as poetics.
- Annabel Lee: a poem
- Blending with the Wind: a poem
- Blossoms and Children: a poem
- Eternity into an Hour: a poem
- Lion and the Mouse, The: a fable
- Maybe: a Zen parable
- Overflowing Cup: a fable
- People as Monkeys: a poem
- Rabbit and the Turtle, The: a moral story
- Raven and Swan: a fable
- Rooster and the Fox, The: a fable
- Snow: a poem by Mary Mapes Dodge
- Spring Dawn: rhymes and poetics
- Star Arrow, The: a basic poem
- The Bear and Two Travelers: a fable
- The Cock and the Diamond: a fable
- The Cracked Pot: a fable
- The Crow and the Pitcher: a fable
- The Deer and his Reflection
- The Eclipse: a poem
- The Farmer and his Sons
- The Fox and the Grapes: a fable
- The Frog and Boiled Water: a fable
- The Gnat and the Bull: fable
- The Goats and the Bridge: a fable
- The Lamp: a fable
- The Little Match Girl: a story
- The Moon Cannot be Stolen
- The Moving Mind: a Zen parable
- The Old Lion and the Fox: a fable
- The Peacock and the Crane
- The Sound of Silence: a Zen parable
- The Tooth Tale: a true story
- The Wind and the Sun: a fable
- Time and Again: a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke