Is Candy’s question valid?

NOTE: im sure this entry is riddled with a million typos – ill come back later and clean it up but for now this is the most attention i can muster to busting the b.s. cuz other things take priority – like living and loving.  (i do love ya candy and hence i speak the truth)

Over at the land where deceit is sweet – ie the molasses swamp – Candy poses a couple of questions in which she does not really want answers to cuz no matter what ya say – all she gonna do is twist and spin, come on a little closer now… twist and spin….

and she does it all with a word count that cracked the counter!  ya hoo

So the question of the day before so many good souls went a tryin’ to have a civil discourse was and is….. (drum roll pls………)

Is Candy’s QUESTION valid?


Is Candy’s question FABRICATED to incite angst discord traffic and grrr?

Hmmmm???? dont know thus im asking

But since im in a generous mood ill answer her bogus question all the same –

Candy asked:

“Have you ever wondered whether or not ASL is truly a valid language?”


No i have not because i know that the earth is not flat.  In fact i know that the world is R O U N D and this has nothing to do with my personal experiences or having been raised by flatlanders.

Cuz im a thinking chap, matey and not a pundit or a fountain of myth-a-making, and cuz im a literate being and cuz i get me daily knowledge from BOOKS and not the blosphere – ya know ones published by Oxford press and the likes and not self-published nuk nuk nuk types, and cuz i took a few graduate ASL linguistic and ASL literature courses [*gasp – she went to school no wonder she is a fanatic that durr grr*]

and cuz the earth is still round, girl.  no matter how u wanna frame it, spin it, twist it, and DEBATE IT.  facts r facts missy.

Yes, Candyland Gal ASL is a valid language

Yep, it is.

That is why you have a legal right to an ASL interpreter for trials, police situations, educational settings etc etc.

That is why it is becoming one of the top languages studied in the U.S.

That is why George Veditz kicked butt hoping we would “cherish and defend” it.

Even AG Bell the man recognized ASL as a language.

Even AG Bell Association recognizes ASL as a “language in and of itself.”

Candy et al (yep a handful of her pundit homies have joined in) seem to be saying – maybe the world has been  fooled and got duped by that bad ole Dr. Stokoe and his wicked fabrications asserting that ASL is a real language.

hmmmm really wow – that is a mighty big ole myth-a-making u be doing in ur attempt to discredit ASL.  Your dB rating has now just officially soared off the chart!

I do thank ya for making the self-evident more evident for all to see.  lawdy lawdy that is some mess ya got there (especially since previously u were saying how GRAND it was that ASL was to be noted in the brochure via AB 2072 and all that great advocacy from just any ole visual language to specifically stating ASL but now u got to thinking that there really is no such thing as ASL – that is has all just been a farce and the work of a mad man at Gallaudet *insert spooky music for the place of DOOM and the ASL mafia*)

ya know u trip and get caught when u spin and twist such cuz u be tangled up in ur own web

Interesting to see how folks way back when even knew ASL was a language long before the A was ever added to it  – and no by the A word here I don’t mean Audism (look I can spell!).  they didnt really need Stokoe’s to INVENT it.  it was already there – he just VALIDated it.  yep he did and that is what is irking u darling.

u dont want ASL to be valid so u want to invalidate the man who put it on the map – oh goodness.  Bad try me pal, bad try.  and this is how u start u new year!

oh goodness glory golly geez gosh and wow – u aiming for a WTF award or what?

So life pre- and post-Stokoe’s showed oodles and oodles of proof that natural signed languages  (and our home grown variety which was born out of French Sign Language, Native American Sign Language, Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, and home signs now known as ASL) is in fact a bona fide (ie: True Business) language and not simply just the butchering of English or a pidgin or Creole.

Its been > 50 years (half a century) since Stokoe’s plus friends (Deaf and Hearing scholars alike)  “fabricated” VALIDated that fact and over a 100 years (one whole century ie 5 scores) since they made the film of Edward Miner Gallaudet delivering a lecture in ASL.

but ur right Stokoe’s made it all up – it never was and is NOT now – wow bullywhacks or what?

(funny how u r moving into that current line of argument since folks brought u offerings of truth about the past of ASL – psst girl there is notPURE ASL now cuz languages evolve and ASL has taken a MIGHTY beating from the Oral / Aural only and the “total communication” movement – it aint because ASL never was such a thing.  it is still a Language girl – and its on the RISE.  ASL is on the RISE child.  The snow is melting

But still you have the nerve to say – its all bad English and not valid.  Kwel!    not

Quoting Candy from the never ending thread re: Sonova’s recall of their Advanced Bionics Cochlear implant due to failing hot:

Posted by Candy on November 29, 2010

I think I agree with Frances, have always seen ASL as bad English. Considering ASL as bad English is what it is and does not necessarily mean I look down on ASL. Just what it is.

No, Candyland – ASL is not bad English and YES when you proclaim that ASL IS BAD ENGLISH as u did in this comment and other places here and there you are IN FACT LOOKING DOWN ON ASL.

Sorry love but that is a truth and a fact.  And that is Linguicism which is a form of Audism (wow, I spelled it right again)

And later Candy elaborates that she draws her conclusion about ASL being bad English from her personal observations and the fact that some Deaf folks use mouth movement.

Is it possible that signing ASL but using a lot of mouth movement or English order is more a sign of bad ASL than of bad English????


ASL is not bad English but getting it all ensnared and wrapped up in English mouth movement and word order / grammar means that the person may need to beef up their ASL skills right – doesn’t mean that the whole bloody language is INVALID.

It also may not be such a bad thing that at times ASL follows more English order or has a few lips flapping here and there – seems it happens more often when there have been a strong exchange of English and ASL interplay.

And NO ASL is not reserved for the illiterate or uneducated – pls i hate when u folks do that really.  Once i saw a teacher say “that student has no language.”  The kid had just explained the workings of nuclear fission to me after discussing E=MC2 – so i was like HUH, his ASL is champ?  and the teachers said oh i mean he has no English – which was another falsehood cuz he could write pretty good to which she said “i mean he can’t talk”



and yes i seen how u all r shocked when u find out an ASLer has good English skills and many of them can yoodle pretty dang fine

if we used Candy’s logic them this whole blog entry could be called bad ASL by candy and thus declared invalid – oh geez maybe she will go that way – maybe.  lets watch and see.

also if we followed that logic then it would mean that since there are PLENTY of folks out there with fully functioning EARS totally mucking up and #ucking up the English language that the English language is no longer VALID?  lets debate that – shall we.  (and the band strikes up another tune for our next dance…)

Then after a bit of challenging Candy writes at the never ending Sonova Advanced Bionics failing hot recall entry:

Posted by Candy on November 30, 2010


I will blog about that soon. You’ll see what I mean. There is NO concrete fact that ASL is a language. That is why it is debatable. It does not mean what I say is a fact. Neither does it mean what you believe is a fact either. It is all debatable. There is no absolute to this issue. Not yet so far. Because there are people that were able to discredit what others have theorized about this topic. You choose to believe so and so and I choose to believe so and so. Who is right? That’s debatable.

Well, golly gee – somebody type up a web wire alert the associated press and confirm that indeed the sky is falling.

Ms. Candy has declared that there is NO CONCRETE FACT THAT ASL IS A LANGUAGE.

NOTE: patti going sassy with satire below –

News flash – ya all who have degrees in ASL – get ye back to a nunnery cuz it was all just a big ole hoax ala Stokoe and all ur hand flapping stuff is invalid.  DUH!

News flash – ya all who have gotten RID certification, ya all who have have gotten SLPI evaluations, ya all who have created works of art in the air – ASL poetry, storytelling, folklore, jokes, ABC stories – just click delete and trash and burn cuz all u were EVER DOING WAS AN OVER GLORIFIED FORM OF …..


Geez u all r so busted now – thank goodness for Candy’s calling card, eh?

Oh and News flash – Library of Congress what a joke u picked the old Veditz film on the “preservation of sign language” when in fact there is NO SUCH THING – gawd u folks fell for it too – my heavens.

Oh and MLA – u can just remove ASL from ur listing since we have now learned it is officially bad English and not a valid language

Oh and Deaf Studies Digital Journal – cut that crap out – u know publishing scholarly papers in a language that ain’t even real and is just a huge farce and protocol put forth by one of ur own quacks.  who do u think u r fooling?

Oh and flashing lights at the household of Dr. Carol Padden – “Excuse me mam, we are sorry to trouble you but well its about that MacArthur Genius Award we done gave you.  It was a mistake – ya see it has become known to us that all your work and the work of all your colleagues – u know Ursual Bellugi of the Salk Institute, Drs. Supallas, Valli, Lucas, Petitto, etc etc etc – were all mistaken.  We have just learned that there is NO concrete fact that ASL is a language.  Its all debatable so we r just gonna be taking back your award now.”   (whispers to the happy chap with him – “thank Gosh you subscribe to Deafread or we would have never known the truth.”  “Affirmative, sir.  Thank gosh they run that crap.”)

Now all my pals in blog-o-land im off to clear off all my shelves of books re: the linguistics of ASL, burn all my DVDs with ASL in ‘em, and start advocating for oral / aural only because I truly want to be an independent thinker and i have finally seen the light through the slogan of the AG Bell Association “Independence through listening and talking.”  since ASL is not even a bloody language and since those who use the non-language are so clannish, isolated, and dependent (see AG Bell’s letter to Pepsi co.) and since Candy Cracks Corn – im CURED!

END of Sas

To all who made the noblest effort over at Candy’s place to illuminate, educate, and elevate – I thank you.  You r grand and SHINE.  Don’t know how u do it – me head was a spinnin’ mighty fast trying to process that entry and some of those comments.

Candy concludes her rambling (where she seems to be trying to assert that SEE and PSE are languages by proving that ASL isn’t.  HUH?  yep, i know folks i know) with this question:

Stokoe is known to be a genius. Is it possible that Stokoe was smart enough to figure out a way to fabricate ASL as a language?

Answer: No Virginia – it is not possible.  Why?  because something called RELIABILITY & VALIDITY – as in scientific terms.

But if you want to discuss how someone may have fabricated that the theory of audism was hijacking the field of Deaf Cultural Studies – well that might be a valid and worthy discussion to have but im sure ud just say – “well, that is debatable.”

‎Clearly ignorance ain’t always bliss folks.

but sometimes it is so i will kindly ask folks not to email me links of bogus blogging any more.  if you want to shine a light on the good folks and comments they are making here and there in an effort to get the truth and light to warm us – send that and ill be happy to toot its horn but as for this …. hmmmm fracking – no thanks.  Me trying to have a hopeful and loveful new year.

and now for some words of wisdom & a plea below:

“We possess and jealously guard a language different and apart from any other in common use – a language which nevertheless is precisely what all-wise Mother Nature designed for the people of the eye, a language with no fixed form or literature in the past, but which we are now striving to fix and give a distinct liter…ature of its own by means of the moving picture film.” ~ George Veditz 1910

“All of the different functions of language – expressing individual and cultural identity, purveying cultural norms and values, linking the present & the past-sustain an ethnic group’s love of its native language as the central symbol of its identity and fuel the minority’s resistance to replacement of its language by more powerful others.”

~Lane, Pillard, Hedberg – “The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry” Oxford Press

Now if i could just get u all to care about a Native American Deaf artist who was killed by a cop – that would be wonderful.  if you could put your attention and good heart there and DO SOMETHING to show we care that would be grand.

John T Williams was a Deaf man walking who in 7 SECONDS became a Dead man walking.

Please visit “Being Deaf is Deadly???” (which is a valid question) read if u want – view the videos if u want – but scroll down to the draft letter and if u like like – send me a note or add a comment that ud like ur name there.  Also circulate it via all ur wonderful social networking tools (or make a new video letter in ASL *gasp*) and get that out there.  The nuk nuk nukkers dont deserve all our attention and affection – JOHN T WILLIAMS memory and family do.


1.     I is me.  I am not typing on behalf of nobody but my own conscience.

2.     I love Candy so this is not a space to be throwing crap at her – feel free to quote some of her stuff so she can see verity is clarity.  Some day may we sit down to a nice ole cup of tea – malice and falsehood free – shall we?

3.     I am of the mind that ASL is dandy, English is handy, > One or Tvo or Three or Four Languages are Grand and…

4.     Yes, I’m aware that this here blog entry is mighty bad ASL.

5.      life is good and I thank u each and all for being in it.  1 2 3 jump at da sun folks for Clerc, Veditz, Teigel, Foster, Clark, … for us


118 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marla Hatrak
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 18:09:11

    Patti, what a brilliant piece of satire! Please don’t come back and fix the English errors. Or was that ASL errors?!? Never mind, language is not important. It’s communication, and you just did communicate some sense.

    Thank you very much for doing this. I didn’t laugh because Candy represents a sad fact of our community. We have those naysayers that distract us from more important work.

    Is this why we couldn’t have an ASL John Tracy Clinic for families?

    Keep up the good sense!

  2. Sheri A Farinha
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 19:31:03

    Touche’!!! Love this article Patti! Your brilliant points definitely point to the true meaning of the word “valid”, defined in dictionaries to mean: “well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force”. Has anyone googled to see if English is a valid language? Lol. I also want to point out..Is English even the official language of the United States? Nope. Most widely used, yes, and as you said, ASL is 4th widely used language in USA. There were several attempts to amend the constitution to make English the official language but such efforts failed. Also, just as I had to take English grammar classes, I took ASL linguistics and grammar classes. Just like the roots of English come from the Germanic family of languages (see: ASL roots come from 18 century France. It was used long before it was officially documented in written languages of French and English. Important to mention that the Proponents of the oral movement argued (esp in the 1800s) that signs could not be considered a true language, because they did not comply with the grammatical rules of spoken French or English. (So duh!) “Linguists who have studied American Sign Language have pronounced it a fully functional language in its own right….Research in the latter part of the twentieth century allowed scientists to conclude that American Sign Language meets all of the definitive qualities of a true language, including specific rules, syntax, grammar, and changes made over time as it is shared by a distinct community. It has all of the characteristics of a true language. It BYPASSES the connection made in Signed Exact English that bridges concepts to words to signs. Native signers who use American Sign Language have been proven to process thoughts in the language, just as most native speakers of oral languages think in those languages for the rest of their lives. American Sign Language has made steady gains in respectability, and is often the language of choice for children who were born deaf or who became deaf before learning English. American Sign Language has also gained the respectable status at the high school and collegiate levels, as it is increasingly taught as an option to fulfill foreign language requirements. The educational world is at last acknowledging what the deaf community has known for many years: American Sign Language is a separate and distinct language in its own right”. (I borrowed excerpts here from one of thousands articles written re about ASL as a true language). Lastly, your mention of Carol Padden and the honorary GENIUS award she received because of ASL, is a case in point. She’s a linguist whose research focused on the unique structure of ASL, its evolution, how it differs from spoken language etc. Candy is not a linguist. Maybe send Candy the link to UCD to take her classes? It should be a humbling experience for her.

    I’m bettin’ most Educators out there will listen to a University Genius vs any lay person.

  3. Tim V
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 20:56:04

    Sometimes I feel like a whole bunch of people are wasting time debating things when nobody is willing to change their mind.

    Here’s the crazy thing — I think Candy contradicted herself. Here is what she said in response to one of my comment under “All that moanings…”:
    — Begin comment snip —
    That’s interesting, Tim V. I don’t recall being told ASL isn’t a full language. It will be interesting to see what others say. Whether they were told ASL wasn’t a full language. If so, when they were told that ASL wasn’t a full language, etc.
    — End comment snip —

    What’s more interesting is if you read the rest of her comment — she sounds like she is acknowledging that ASL is a language throughout. Of course, in saying it is one of several languages.

    But, I do have a nit to pick here. Creole is a language too! In linguistic eyes — Creole, even Black English is a full language of its own right, too. I learned this sort of thing in Anthropology class in college — they had evidence of a black kid off the street expressing very complex thoughts (and being understood) in his black English. Canadian French is obviously based on French from you know where, but there is differences. American English is a bit different from what they speak in England. Both are a bit different from what is spoken in Australia. That is the thing here — over many, many years, languages change. Generation after generations, languages are bound to evolve. Over time, there comes a point in which the two languages are different enough that the speakers of each cannot understand each other. Mandarian and Cantonese are the two top dialects of Chinese language — but they cannot understand each other. It is believed that both descended from the same language base.

    As for if something is a ‘valid’ or ‘invalid’ language: all we have to ask is this: can two people who know the same language communicate complex ideas with each other? If so, it is a valid language. Whether or not it is based on another language is utterly irrelevant to its validity. Also irrelevant is if it was made up by somebody who knew a prior language.

    Personally, I see Candy freely admits she knows nothing about linguistics. I appreciate her being honest and upfront about that. However, isn’t it irresponsible to make linguistic claims without knowing anything about linguistics?

    It is sort of like a guy who claims he is a doctor after reading just a handful of medical articles, taking ZERO tests to prove his proficiency. Sure, he can claim to be a doctor, but he isn’t getting anywhere close to my body, thank you very much. I certainly don’t see Candy hiring a doctor to implant a CI device in her head unless he/she has the proper experience and credentials. Yet, that is exactly the sort of thing she is doing when she claims that without any linguistics knowledge, she can assert that ASL is not a valid language.

  4. deafa
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 21:52:34

    Is it true that modern day ASL is more PSE (or CASE)? So if I want to learn Sign Language that recongizable to majority of population of deaf people, should I learn PSE or ASL? Where can I learn sign language for modern day technologies so I don’t have to fingerspell it? I know it is all about concept. I know that when I sign “mouse” (computer mouse), I should NOT use the sign that’s for an small animal… but more like computer point and click thingy (I’m not good with describing concept in English so I am not sure how I would describe a new technology).

  5. deafa
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 22:34:10

    btw, I already knew she have made up her mind. Especially after the fact that she wanted names of people who don’t believe ASL is a language when others suggested she should read books or take classes about language. which I agree with the suggestions that she should take classes and perhap take ASL classes, and it doesn’t matter if she does know ASL, She should study ASL just like we study English in school (nouns, verbs, pural, past tense, etc.) even though we speak English already. It doesn’t mean we understand how English works… Why else it take us over 13 years (k-12th) of GRAMMAR, READING, and WRITING? She wrote she might just do that, but I hope she does and that she doesn’t think that just because she communicate ASL means she understands it.

  6. patti
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 22:44:36

    heye Marla

    thanks for ur comment

    im glad the entry didnt make u laugh – i did use alot of tongue in cheek statements just because we gotta get the upset out – we gotta instead of getting ANGRY and MEAN be able to pinpoint how ludicrous some of the statements are and we do have to ask ourselves why are we even bothering to explain

    once i saw the “that’s debatable” statement i realized ohhhh this is not a sincere pursuit of knowledge and understanding


    i do not want folks to laugh at her or to react or to take the bait but rather to just let the facts and truth be known
    ASL is a language
    Languages shouldnt be banned from the life of a child just cuz some folks have prejudices against that language

    as to why we dont have an John Tracey ASL Clinic – i think it is more likely due to the fact that we do not have any wealthy benefactors who have INVESTED in bi-bi

    John Tracey’s dad had a few pretty pennies
    AG Bell had a few pretty pennies

    it helps

    most of the BIG “option” (ie oral / aural only) programs have big family backers

    most of the “let them hear” kinda thingies have big corporations + Hearing and CI folks (surgeons specialsts, Co. etc) backing them

    YET despite all the kings horses and all the kings men early exclusionary exercises and attempts – data from canada shows that oral / aural only enrollment plummets around adolescent age and bi-bi peaks after that

    see shel’s blog and the pdf

    the age when the kids start to say “id like NOT TO HAVE TO WORK FOR MY WORDS” if you don’t mind

    it is also interesting to note that even despite all the big money and overwhelming availability of glossy brochures and systems and accessories and specialists – lots and lots and lots of Deaf folks end up gravitating to ASL at the end of the day

    oodles and noodles of them

    yet – ive been told it aint valid and was all fabricated by some mad hatter at Gally hmmmmm ; )



  7. patti
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 22:47:56

    Tim –

    spot on in all u wrote – u be a thinking chap and i thank u for that

    re: contradicted herself – ya think?

    keep ur eyes open and read backwards past entries or exchanges here and there and u will see a plenty

    candy candy quite contrary how does your garden grow?


    im sad to report. poorly.

    why am i sad. cuz i like her and cuz i love her. and cuz nobody should be that confused and conflicted. and cuz verity is clarity

    re: ur last sentence – yep – quite contrary



  8. handeyes
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 23:01:28


    RE: when you take a sign class – as with English it will often depend on the skill, fluency, and approach of the instructor. if u want a really organic, close to the ground form of ASL – ur best teacher is gonna be social settings with lots of Deaf folks – preferably older ones who havent been bred on every invented signed system to come down the pipe

    re: technical signs – anyone have a suggestion of where to get info on those?
    i know there are some DVDs out there with tech signs and there might be some websites

    re: the sign for “mouse” for a computer mouse – i think it is generally accepted to use that sign (for the animal) also for the technical device because if i understand right the origins of the English word is because the shape and cord made the thing look like a mouse so hence the nick name and hence Hearing folks figure out which type of mouse u r talking about based on the context – so true with ASL

    it is when someone might sign “miss” index finger on the chin – which really means – i MISS SEEING u or i MISS U but they might choose it for “miss” the bus or at “miss class” – those would need different signs

    for “mouse” the computer thingy – i have seen the animal sign and / or a gesture like sign of moving the invisible object and then clicking

    thanks for ur comment



  9. handeyes
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 23:05:18


    oh my gosh u r brilliant – i am being serious here. this is a PRIMARY problem and the PRIMARY reason of why ASL aint as strong as it could and should be today

    cuz kids dont study it k-12 like we study English

    bingo on the nose o

    even if we did get it K-12 one might say it is nothing short of hubris to be putting forth some of the myths that got proudly proclaimed by some of the” ASL is bad English and not valid” folks

    just imagine where we might be as a people if kids formally studied ASL – wow wee

    hmmm wonder why that hasnt happened yet hmmmmmm

    could it be cuz ASL is bad english – nope cuz Hearing babies are learning it and Hearing students are gobbling it up to soon be the 3rd most studied language so why oh why is it that Deaf kids dont often study ASL hmmmm

    id tell u what i have seen as the reasons but it would break ur heart



  10. Tim V
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 23:27:02

    Yeah, I’m with Patti on that what deafa is saying is pretty brilliant. We really need to bring to the forefront *WHY* ASL is not being accepted as a legitimate language by some people.

    The fact that people don’t study it in school is part of it. There are many tribal languages out there that is not studied formally in school — and THAT doesn’t negate the fact that it is a language.

    I thought of another reason when working on a response to what deafa brought up (the first comment from deafa): the fact that ASL fingerspells lot of English words in the course of communicating a number of concepts.

    I’d love to hear a foreign language speaker speak to this issue, though — if they borrow lot of technological-based words from English because such concept does not even exist in their language. CD-ROM is CD-ROM in Spanish, for instance, as is ASCII, and so many other terms.

    From that list, what I see is this: when a word exists for the same concept — the word is translated to the new language’s term. When it doesn’t exist, oftentimes it is borrowed just as it is to the new language — with adaptation to follow the destination language’s pronunciation rules. Each language has a range of different sounds that it uses. No language uses all the different sounds that a human is capable of making and distinguishing. Rather, each language uses a subset of those different sounds.

    What is different about ASL vs other spoken language is newsflash, ASL is visual, the other languages are spoken. When you move from one spoken language to another spoken language, the same basic medium is used — the word is basically translated so it fits within the same variety of ‘sounds’ in the destination language. When moving from a signed to a visual language — the medium is *completely* different — you cannot even get past square 1 in this sort of ‘borrowing’ process. This is why fingerspelling comes into play until over time someone thinks of a sign to convey that concept. However, it is not right to claim that simply because we fingerspell some stuff that we are using an incomplete language, or a language based on the language we are prone to ‘borrow’ from the most. The fact that we ‘borrow’ from English the most is because we live in America, an English-speaking country. And most of us by extension know how to read and write English.

    I think some other people can speak more to that fingerspelling thing. This is just the explanation that came to my head.

  11. LaRonda
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 04:11:03

    Just a side comment, Patti, I swear you and DeafJeff could be siblings given your ya-hoos and yee-haws. LOL You sounded so much like him. 😉

  12. deafnicity
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 04:24:46

    Patti – remind me never to piss you off.

  13. Dianrez
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 04:33:09

    In examining Candy’s efforts to prove ASL not a language, I keep seeing hints at her motives. Motives that have nothing to do with intellectual exercise, but more to do with self-concept.

    It makes me recall old texts at Gallaudet where distinguished Hearing experts call ASL a “limited language” that proved Deaf people had limited thinking capacity unless they were given the gift of speech. Others called it a debased language or a concrete language. These people betrayed their lack of familiarity with the full spectrum of Deaf people using ASL and its contact variants.

    It made me marvel at Stokoe, who within a year of arriving at Gallaudet and learning signs, immediately noticed that his students used a different form of ASL with him than with each other and wondered why! It takes a hell of a perception to get that. In a time when Levine and Myklebust ruled the professional area and their books were bought by every graduate student in the country, yet! (I blush to say I bought, too, as they were required in my studies.) Even the famous Dr. Karl Menninger, revered sage of psychiary, was quoted as “Deafness is a mental defect.” Stokoe had a tremendous job ahead of him just to prove ASL a fully featured language as used by a cognizant and perceptive people.

    Interesting was the side argument that professors of ASL studies actually used PSE and therefore were not credible. Same with the majority of “educated” Deaf people. I’m still scratching my head over why that has anything to do with the original question.

    The best thing about flat-earth supporters is that they force us to define better why the earth is round. That task over, let’s not waste time continuing the debate too long and move on to unexplored topics. Such as why it is difficult for some people to respect ASL as they do with other languages.

  14. Dianrez
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 04:33:43

    Deafnicity, LOL!

  15. PopeMistress
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 12:45:15

    wow long blog to read! Trying to figure out? If anyone label me or others PSE, what shall we do? Of course, I do support ASL even thou I do not have qualied ASL teacher in my lifetime! Why on earth that person is trying label us PSE? I do not understand why on earth + what the heck is wrong with that person who did dare on a vlogger used the story abt the Grinch in first place + did started thew whole thing against the same vlogger??! I love that. One vlogger who shared the Xmas spirit with Grinch story with us becuz we need MORE Deaf folklore holidays story! Not less deaf folklore stories! That person is a Jewish + did respect us different religious deaf people! That woman has.a big nerve to degrading the deaf folklore story! I’m so impress with that Deaf Jewish man who did great job giving + sharing many of his cute stories!

  16. handeyes
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 13:19:34

    Tim V – really good stuff u have put forth here. i totally thank ya and tip me hat to the fact that u be a thinking chap

    thank u thank u thank u

    re: fingerspelling in ASL – Dr. Carol Padden has some good stuff on that so ill see if i can find any publications –

    i think there is another paper by her re: fingerspelling but from the top google search using
    Dr Carol Padden fingerspelling the two above appeared at top

    again i thank ya tim



  17. handeyes
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 13:26:56

    DEAREST deafnicity –

    what makes u think u havent yet?

    its just a question love.


    just kidding

    lots of folks piss me off – including meself. i usually let water roll off me back like a duck except when its really bad muck intended to entrap and heye – veditz’s “preservation of sign language” film just got the awesome recognition of being put in the national film registry and veditz concluded his kick butt speech with “I hope you will cherish and defend our beautiful sign language….”

    so im just heeding his call matey

    got an issue with it – then just watch ur back pal. no no no im totally kidding here

    now to be serious – if i have done wrong with this entry – if this entry is an attack and not in fact an attempt “with a spoon full sugar helps the medicine go down, medicine go down, medicine go down…”

    somebody pls call me on it

    somebody i know who will speak the truth not someone who is gonna twist and spin it to be about some email group from many moons ago where folks wanted to find out who Candy was when in fact she had already self disclosed her name and much of her back ground here and there previously and which the “outing” of her she said was no biggy at all but will pull it out and beat u to a pulp with the “woe is me” any chance she can get

    so if someone who is trust worthy and can come from love wants to tell me what i done up above is unjust – pls pls pls do let me know so.

    i take no pleasure in having had to do it and i do it with some peril cuz we all know how rough some folks play

    but me main motive is 1. to honor veditz and 2 to love candy by direct confrontations with truths

    it aint easy but somebody gotta do it

    sorry for the long reply deafnicity



  18. handeyes
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 13:35:36


    u got me smiling from EAR to EAR today (so that is why i got those things hanging on me head – to be big ole dimples for this grin u got me grooving)

    how do i love thee – let me count the ways

    really u is good soup for the soul

    so hmmmmm what can i say beyond AMEN



    and Word UP

    and lets do it – lets rock this house – lets start examining the unexamined of why folks keep wanting to stomp on little ole ASL – for goodness sakes what did she ever do to anybody except offer a wee measure of emancipation and equality

    ya got me thinking Dianrez and that is naughty of ya ; ) thinking of another blog entry when im forever eager for a holiday smile

    will see if i can squeeze something out today but pls oh pls try to beat me to it – u r a much better writer and thinker than i and really all it needs to be is that all powerful valid questions that u have put forth and tim has affirmed and many others have asked before and are today and one in which will go a full measure and then some towards good ole George’s hope for us

    viva Veditz

    oh and Dianrez – thank you!



  19. handeyes
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 13:57:52

    Heye Popemistress

    re: the whole grinch thing – i didnt really follow that but i assume u r referring to Dr. Don G and Candy’s attempt to discredit him because he uses mouth movement and signs somewhat in English word order

    #1. she aint a linguist so i dont believe she is qualified to assess his signing

    and lets use me as an example – not cuz im all about me, me, me but because im the most familiar subject i got (although i am still study on me and learning a plenty)

    i write English

    some folks would disagree with that big time

    who is right??????

    Don signs ASL – in his vlogging cuz he is talking to a bloody camera with no other HUMAN BEING IN THE END OF IT – is he signing more English like SURE

    now have we E V E R seen Miss Candy sign anything into a video camera without any human beings in the vicinity?

    nope we have not

    i will tell u – it is bloody hard to sign “pure” (whatever that is) ASL into a little dot on ur computer

    it is LONELY beyond lonely

    ASL aint meant to be monologue city without any audience

    ASL is an interactive language – anytime i have put a camera in front of someone without another person on the other end doing all that nodding and affirming the person will go more English like in their signing WHY cuz ASL naturally wants an audience

    Text English can be and is monologue friendly – just check out alot of my comments and blog entries ; )

    and if we had access to the millions of folks talking into video in youtube we would see there is a VARIETY of usage of the spoken English language

    anybody policing those vlogs to pull them into their BLOG entry to say – look that person doesnt event use real English

    NOPE we dont really see that – why????? cuz folks know that people speak and use English differently

    as in DIVERSITY

    as in VARIETY

    as in there is no PURE ENGLISH

    and within English text and speech lo and behold some other languages and slangs and etcs slip in to our lexicon

    OMG (ha that is one of them too – that is not even a word but there it is sneaking into our text and our speech and even our signing LOL – call the bloody linguicism police – red alert IMPURE languages at play here)

    oh goodness im getting sassier by the minute aint i


    this is the lesson of the day folks – u know that ole “grain a salt” proverb

    instead of aiding and abating the folks that u have to constantly shift through their #hit to see if there is even a grain of truth in what they r tossing out – look for the salt of the earth folks

    gravitate to them and celebrate them and love ’em up real good

    cuz they be real and true

    and im telling i can NOT stand the pompous attitude of thinking that folks who use ASL brilliantly are stupid and uneducated and illiterate

    they trump me in many a ways and we gotta consider the source – when they are painting that brush so thickly they might be displaying a bit of jealousy that some folks shine mighty brightly

    (remember ASL has even made it into outerspace)

    related to outerspace – this is one of the evidences we got LONG after galileo proved the earth was round that in fact the earth is round – we got pictures to prove it although im sure there are some folks out there that say its all a hoax (Note: just adding now that maybe i should have credited christopher columbus or magellan re: the earth being round – but i know folks said it even before those two blokes kinda showed it in their big ole ships even if one of ’em thought he had reached India and even named a whole race of people after his mistake (ie Indians – now thankfully called Native Americans)

    there are hoax hollers for just about everything these days

    so popemistress for ur valid question “Why on earth that person is trying label us PSE?” excellent question for which i have no idea except:
    1. for her the earth is flat
    2. maybe she loves sim-com, speaking and hearing and wants it to be a PSE world instead of a Deaf ASL world

    no idea

    im headed for the bright side of the moon

    much peace


  20. deafa
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 16:22:58

    yes, I definitely think deaf children should study ASL. It will help them put on their thinking cap on of why they do what they do. And they are able to apply it to English because they understand it better. I’ve read way too many time how a ASL deaf child (in public school) struggle with writing… but when he have someone explain to him from ASL prospective of what’s past tense, purals, etc. he was able to apply it in English. No one explained it to him in ASL until he got private tutoring.

  21. handeyes
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 22:46:24

    deafa –

    deafinitely – formally studying ASL at an early age would go a LONG way to “thinking cap” ness

    and YES definitely in studying ASL folks can understand the more boggling rules of English

    thanks for ur note and all ur good thinking and heart

    tim v – made this comment elsewhere in response to the link above re: fingerspelling – think u folks would like to read it and also see that article – good stuff from a real linguist Dr. Padden

    tim v “this is very interesting. I’ve wondered how children who don’t even know the alphabet handle fingerspelled words. Turns out that in some instances they learn it twice: first they learn the whole word fingerspelled as a ‘sign’, then later when they learn how to write, they realize that it is composed of letters.”

  22. deafa
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 00:38:20

    I found this site from reading AD today:

  23. Shel
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 01:27:43

    Well- written bad English, or is it bad ASL? I’m a bit confused myself, Patti ol’ gel.

    I beg to correct you on one thing: Linguicism is not a form of audism. Linguicism goes hand in hand with audism, and/or racism.

    For instance: gee. you have the little problem of overpopulation of illegal Mexican immigrants according to Arizona which wants to pass a law doing something about them. They speak Spanish. I believe it was Barbara Kannapell who presented on history of bilingualism during DBC Milwaukee conference in 2008. In her presentation, I believe she mentioned that years ago Spanish-speaking children were once labelled mentally retarded as were Deaf children BECAUSE THEY DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.

    Speaking Spanish = HANDICAPPED…. true business. Especially if those people did not speak ENGLISH.

    Classic case of linguicism isn’t it? Goes hand in hand with racism in the case of Mexicans.

    Native American languages… many of them have died out with a few exceptions for example: Navajo, Ojibway, (to name a couple off the top of my head). The number of Native Americans in USA (and First Nations People in Canada too) have dwindled.

    Another case of linguicism and racism going hand in hand.

    Now… we have the assertations of ASL being labelled as invalid as a language, and just bad English. and how Deaf culture doesn’t even exist and is supposed to die out in a few generations, AND oh yeah… AB2072 in the original format… don’t forget that. Artificial modes of communication designed to teach ENGLISH and eradicate ASL.

    LINGUICISM goes hand in hand with AUDISM; the belief that deafness is a condition that ought to be cured, eradicated.

    Thanks for pointing to my blog/vlog, Patti.

  24. deafnicity
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:42:26

    As much as Stokoe gets creditted – and I do appreciate him greatly – Stokoe award paid for my dissertation research and was used to compensate people I interviewed – anyway there is this fella from Gallaudet by the name of Porter who in 1880 published in Princeton Review indicating that sign language was a language. This was further supported by Mallery in 1881 who distinguished it from what he called gesture language. I thought I was so cool finding that information until Lane pointed out he already done that in WHEN THE MIND HEARS.

  25. handeyes
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:49:11

    heye shel –
    thanks for the comment
    a long while back i made a vlog discussing various – ism (yes, yes i know it will give them a heart attack so i hope they dont watch it cuz they can only handle so much truth in a week and the term AUDISM frightens them so much they cant even spell it properly) but me and u all folks seem to like knowledge and truth so i was exploring the various – isms and how they might fit or interconnect or line up. i had speculated that Linguicism is a by product of audism much as it is a by produce of racism or anti-semitism – it is the club that gets used to beat the oppressed with due to the main mother of all – isms (audism, racism, -semitism) me think but i aint sure and i aint married to me little chart so if u got time and interest – welcome to check it out and let me know what u think

    u can fastforward to the chart at: 2:17 – the intro is about the word AUDISM and its origins

    thanks again for ur comment and caring and critical thinking and….. many more



  26. handeyes
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 04:11:37

    Deafnicity –

    worry not – u is still cool in me book.

    really before u, before Lane, before stokoe, before AG Bell (who also called it a language), before Veditz, before hanson, before mcgregor, before EM Gallaudet, before hotchkiss, before Clerc, before T Gallaudet etc there were other folks recognizing it as a language

    pierre desloges wrote at length about how Deaf parisians had their own sign language before L’epee founded the paris school

    many others wrote of natural / native sign languages prior to that

    i think plato did – i gotta re-read Dirksen Bauman’s open your eyes

    so in general folks always recognized it as a language but it got so HORRIBLY stigmatized and became such a big taboo that folks who loved signing were ashamed to use it in public

    in the film Through Deaf Eyes a man explains when the Clarke school kids went into town they would be reported on if seen signing and then they would face consequences back at school

    a 19 year old woman told me on monday that at her St Louis oral school if they signed during lunch they were punished and segregated from their class mates – yep 5 years ago in the US of A. she transfered to a mainstream school

    if u cant sign it might as well be cuz there is no one to sign with instead of it be because you are FORBIDDEN to do so

    kinda interesting to track the influx and outflux of things eh

    1871 typo due to my reversals with numbers. correct year 1817
    1817 US of A – signing is accepted in schools – bi-bi methods rules (articulation classes are offered for those who benefit)
    oral only comes in (she is a jealous mistress – so said one of the priests at the ICED Milan 1880 congress) and ASL was banished to the woods (dorm, bathrooms, secret places out of the way of watchful eyes and rulers)
    but just as u can try to beat the Nativeness out of the Native American – u can not steal their soul and so the language of ASL continued on the sly and on the fly – INCREDIBLE really

    read Bayton’s Forbidden Signs: the American Campaign Against Sign Language – i consider it to be one of the BEST historical books examining “the troubles”

    Babbige congressional report 1964 declares Oralism a dismal failure

    Stokoe et al do a kick butt analysis of ASL with lots and lots of data and publish long lenthy and thorough books on the subject

    ASL starts to gain recognition and acceptance

    cant have that so artificial systems are invented – Sim-com, manually coded English, Signed English, SEE I, SEE II, LOVE

    COED report of 1988 says that mainstreaming is failing Deaf kids and TC aint really working

    BI-BI is revisited for the “first” time

    cant have that – technology is pushed onto the parents and babes as well as Signed English systems and codified systems of lipreading etc – cued speech, AVT and CI etc

    de ja vu anyone

    what happened to – if its not broken dont fix it?

    oh oh – because the original method of teaching in the US – bi-bi didnt over emphasize speech in many folks’ eyes it WAS broken? so they chose to break up a perfectly good language, method of education – (DEAF FOLKS HAD REALLY GOOD WRITING BACK THEN) to offer us a myriad of clunky, inconsistent, unreliable, artificial solutions


    odd, eh?

    by the way re: stokoe’s its cool u got that award made in his honor – u and he deserve that.

    shortly before he died Stokoe’s presented at NTID and a Deaf man in the audience stood up and said well its an honor to be talking with the Father of ASL and stokoe’s politely interrupted him and said – i am not the father. no way no how (of course he didnt talk that way but u get the gist) Clerc is really the father of ASL – i see myself more like an uncle who discovered ASL in the wilderness after it got the boot from the oralist and i simply helped to bring it out into the light of day

    i fell in love with him at that moment

    that is a good bloke

    a really good bloke



  27. handeyes
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 04:31:39

    deafa – thanks for that link. another thing that is great about u. u ask questions re: tech signs and than u go out and find stuff and share it with us here.

    Thanks. that site is pretty new to me. ill check it out more carefully soon. big thanks again



  28. deafnicity
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 05:55:51

    Well Mallery 1881 some of the stuff of a sign language illustrated on side of some Homeric vases and connects with being same as signs in Naples Italy in 1880s BUT I have not been able to verify that Italian sign is even close to what is on the vases. Not my area of expertise.

    Ah Stokoe award – yes I got that the year he died. They decided to award two that year in his honor/memory. It really did help as i sure didn’t have money to pay participants i interviewed or mailing of surveys etc so I am VERY grateful to Stokoe.

  29. PopeMistress
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 11:07:13

    heye patti!!

    oic! thanks for your reply to my comment. now i undy from what i did view on drdong’s video + he has good points!

    gotta go drive on icy road to my work. warm hugs, shawn

  30. Don G.
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 12:20:56

    Even before Stokoe, before Porter, there was Anton Deusing, a Dutchman, who wrote a book, “the Deaf and Dumb Man’s Discourse” in the 1500s or 1600s, and his observations were quite linguistic! If only his book had gained wider circulation — what could have been….

  31. handeyes
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 17:20:01

    when checking PENDING folder in me wordpress i see a comment from sheri has been held hostage there – very sorry – just approved it and its up now

    scroll back up folks to the top of comments here – its worth it

    sheri my apologies and thanks for the links and yep some folks r lacking in logic

    peace patti

  32. handeyes
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 17:28:35

    deafnicity – cool about the naples signs and the vase and very big honor for u to get the award the year of Stokoe’s passing. Dr Harry Lang (Deaf professor and author of many Deaf history related books) told me he has visited Stokoe’s grave site and toasted him with a drink of Scotch – its a really sweet story and nice to know folks remember our ancestors be them Deaf or Hearing

    popemistress – thanks for the link. I dont want to criticize Don but i would suggest he dont buy into the myth that he is using PSE. cuz there aint really such a thing is there? he uses more English like signing but its still ASL – i think its largely cuz of age of learning ASL and talking to a bloody camera and not a live person when vlogging and CUZ we have variations in ASL – its no biggy

    its like someone watching Bush and saying he is not using English cuz its not the same kind of English that ML King Jr used

    OMG did i just accidently compare don g to Bush jr – oh heavens see what they drive me to ; )

    Don ur English is superior to Bush jr as is ur ASL cha superior to bush jr. pls dont take their bait and start believing u use PSE – gosh and crud they spun ya

    i dont use PSE – i use ASL. it aint the best and it aint the worst

    i dont use bad ASL in my writing i use English – it aint the best and it aint the worst

    it just is

    now show me a video with SEE and Cued speech – then we can talk but dont show me a bunch of videos of non-native signers and call it PSE just cuz they decided to call it there – GOSH!


    would gally get that Visual Language and L1 and L2 literature out to the masses quick like a bunny – some folks r S I N K I N G in the quicksand

    Adding now – Don G’s main point that Deafhood folks do accept diversity of backgrounds, language orientation, folks au anaturale or with CIs etc etc is true and does bust the b.s they try to paint that Deafhood is about EXCLUDING

    psst folks – when they say that they is really talking about themselves and some SYSTEMS that actively do exclude. dont be fooled by the fact that they can sign – even AG Bell the man could sign

    Don G – yep indeed. “If only….” and now for my next blog entry since dianrez has not yet posted one re: her and ur mighty good question

    stay tune folks



  33. Trackback: A Question for Ya All « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910
  34. brenster-
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 23:54:32

    You don’t write English; you use PWE (pidgin written english). Therefore, English is an invalid language, and whether it is a language or not is debatable! Hey, there’s even a book called “Crazy English.” See!

  35. brenster-
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 23:59:22

    It bugs me when people claim they write English when in reality they use PWE! Just don’t claim they use English to mask themselves. It is OK to use PWE as it is becoming widely used even among the hearing students at colleges and universities! Shocked? Yes, true+biz! Using English in its true form tend to be used by those who are illiterate in simple common sense.

  36. deafa
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 03:42:21

    yep, It sad that deaf have to fight to protect ASL. I read Ridor’s comment and I was sad that a teacher tried to change his language and say it wrong. I never hear a teacher tell a student that his Spanish is wrong because he isn’t using English order Spanish.

    Offtopic, if you don’t mind, but I did enjoy reading John Carlin’s poetry “to the fire-flies” I’ve been looking for a poetry about fireflies and just my luck, there is one written by a person who is deaf and communicate in ASL :
    ok, sorry for posting so much. 🙂

  37. handeyes
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 11:29:12

    Brenster –

    Thank you for all that rad info on PWE – its new to me and PHEW i say. PHEW and thank goodness for PWE and ewe. I is fine and valid and educated and smart unlike the folks who use that “other” language.

    TU again – and am i right to understand that ur fountain of knowledge comes from ur own observations and is not tainted by any academic studies or book reading? and that u too know that the world is indeed flat?

    serious now:
    my goodness brenster u certainly got the hang of it there

    ya spooked me u is so good at it – r u a double agent impersonating to be brenster?

    u did give me a mighty chuckle so i thank ya



  38. handeyes
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 12:05:23

    Deafa – i dont even know ya but i love ya. anyone who brings us poetry for me to read in the wee hours of the morning has got me admiration and appreciation

    and a poem by a Deaf poet and artist and about fireflies no less! champ

    Dr. Chris Krentz (Univ of VA) writes a bit about Carlin’s writing in his book “Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century Literature” Krentz has written about how Carlin exhibits double consciousness (a term borrowed from WEB DuBois) – which as i understand it is fairly common in oppressed unrepresented / minority groups – to love who u r and how u r made but also to have internalized some of the stigmatized thinking of the dominant culture about urself / ur people / or ur condition (way of being)

    u can see a bit of that in the fireflies poem but much more so in the mute’s lament

    truly i thank u for that present in the form of that link. i LOVE reading primary documents and poetry about fireflies – wow

    when i read it i kept envisioning a painting by John William Waterhouse

    re: ridor sharing that he had a teacher try to change his language and told him it was wrong – there are many stories of Deaf folks who had their native ASL signing “corrected” by teachers and then they would return home during break and correct their parents natural ASL signing and show them all the “ing” “ed” “was” etc

    i had a student with gorgeous ASL recently remark on how much he is learning about Deaf culture, Deaf history, and ASL at college because his family did not have that opportunity to study this.

    it always makes me sad how much does not get shared and that it doesnt get shared sooner and if folks dont get that exposure they may never get it. The good news is that information is spreading faster and farther and better now. In just a few years i have seen folks awareness of who Veditz was and what he did leap. I have seen the term audism used and properly used (by and large). I have seen the concept and construct of Deafhood understood and appreciated. More and more folks know who Clerc was. More and more folks know and value what ASL is etc

    the backlash is no fun but sadly it is a common fallout of progress – that some folks will try to thwart progress by deceitful and unjust means

    re: your statement – “yep, It sad that deaf have to fight to protect ASL.”
    yep, it is sad but the destiny of any disenfranchised group – to do otherwise is not an option ; )

    re: your apology. not accepted because not needed ; )

    im really glad for all u bring here




  39. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 19:39:30

    I am walking in with the full protective asbestos suit head to toe with the knowledge that I may be flamed for what I will write.

    I can understand how Candy’s question on whether ASL is a valid language can upset, unnerve or irritate some people. Some were questioning her motives for asking the question. Some even went far to stigmatize her for asking a question.

    Questions that challenge the common knowledge, establishment or authority have very long history. Socrates was punished to death for unsettling the minds of the young people by questioning many things that were assumed by the contemporary people to be true. The knowledge that we have now could not be made possible without the questions that the people in the past dared to ask. Philosophers love to ask questions and they enrich our lives with the answers that they attempt to provide for the questions. Some teachers that I had in the past said that there were no stupid questions and the only stupid questions were the questions that were not asked.

    Some will say that I am going too far in using an example of Socrates to make a point. They may be right. Nowadays in the U.S., no one will be punished to death for challenging the common or well-established knowledge but there are subtle ways that people use to make him or her an outcast. For example, if I were to question Chomsky’s theory, I would be easily made an outcast by people who advocate the theory.

    If I ask the question:

    Is PSE a bona fide language?

    Many people will yell a big nay.

    If I ask the question:

    Is the Klingon language a bona fide language?


    Is Cued English a bona fide language?

    Still no.

    Is the English language in the spoken form a bona fide language?

    Obviously yes.

    Is ASL a bona fide language?

    All of a sudden, this last question becomes a forbidden question. No one dares to question the sanctuary of ASL.

    Why is it okay to question any language or system of communication but it is not okay to question the well-established knowledge about ASL?

    Candy will not be the last person to question the validity of ASL. There will be always some people in the future who question the validity of ASL. Instead of forbidding or stigmatizing the question, we should be always well prepared to answer the question with full confidence (and love, I might add) backed by critical thinking and sound reasoning. Engage in discussion with the questioner rather than making a wall (assuming that the questioner is sincere).

    (I would add an asterisk to the first and third questions. I would answer them with yeah. I really don’t agree with the paradigm as used by the linguists but that is way off topic.)

    Falling off the soapbox (it is hard to step down with the full asbestos suit on).

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  40. Sheri Farinha
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 20:09:02

    Nah Joseph, we still love ya! Its always good when people ask questions. Its because Candy took the position to believe only the hearing people’s views re ab2072, and opposed our insistence that ASL have a fair shake in a heavily biased brochure, that she asked the question. Reason for emphasis on hearing people is because in another post she criticizes Harlan Lane because he is hearing and doesnt know about her life, but yet, conflicts herself because that is whom she listened to and supported re ab2072, hearing people who know nothing about our lives, As Patti says here, she has motives for asking about ASL, and her post and comments clearly indicate she’s not really wanting the answers. If it were a parent asking, or anyone else for that matter who is more sincere about wanting to know the answer, I think Patti’s approach would be different.

  41. Marla Hatrak
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 22:39:21

    Hmmm, so Joseph believes we do not welcome questions. Amazing turn of events. I must insist, “Au contraire.”

    She asked questions that are in my opinion loaded with innuendoes.

    ASL a valid language? What kind of responses did she expect? She needs to be careful with her choice of words if she does not appreciate inflammatory responses from people who are passionate about ASL.

    For many people, learning ASL is a turning point in their lives. That is something neither Candy nor I understand. We take ASL for granted. So why would Candy ask that question? It’s beyond me. How does Candy communicate with her husband? ASL (or as she insists, PSE). So why in the world would she be asking something that’s as important as the air she breathes and the food she eats?

    There was some discussion of it being a “reliable” language. Now, that was an interesting question for me. I think our experiences with ASL and some of our linguistic knowledge will debunk those kind of “innocent” questions.

    Second question:
    Stokoe is known to be a genius. Is it possible that Stokoe was smart enough to figure out a way to fabricate ASL as a language?

    Instead of asking us that question, she ought to return to school and get her BA degree, MA degree, and finally her Ph.D and disprove Stokoe’s linguistic findings. I encouraged her to do that.

    She’s trying to debate those points with mainstream readers. Come on, if this is not irresponsible, I don’t know what is.

    She’s lucky commenters like yourself had the patience in outlining all of the linguistic facts about ASL. She’s not as naive as she makes herself to be.

    I appreciate it when people ask sincere questions, but don’t appreciate it when vloggers/bloggers plead ignorance when they are not. It is their own responsibility to research topics that interest them.

    If we want to pick up Sheri’s AB2072 comment above, we can write a book on how Candy and her cronies skillfully spread misinformation. I was astonished and greatly saddened at how people could do that.

    Candy insisted that things happened (when they didn’t) and admonished us for things we ought to do (we did try and it didn’t work).

    Considering my feelings, I have been pretty respectful towards her.

  42. handeyes
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 22:52:11

    heye laronda –
    ur comment jan 7 stuck in spam folder. not sure why – maybe the smilely icon? sorry i didnt notice it amongst all the other diet and viagra spam comments there

    re: the content of ur comment – WHO? smile – just kidding.



  43. handeyes
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 23:08:55


    candy is now socrates?


    u too


    re: questions – u know im a major lover of VALID quest i ons

    and valid arguments

    not trolls taking a stroll

    stroll on by, stroll on by

    re: love – tough love sometimes is required – boo

    hope u can get out of that suit but if it suits ya, suit on up.

    Much love and peace,


  44. deafa
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 23:27:25

    Just to let general public know that ASL-STEM Forum is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation – NSF is a Good science website 🙂 seem to have video of sign languages in some advanced form, but Some interpreters go to workshops and it doesn’t hurt if deaf people go to them as well.

  45. handeyes
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 23:30:42

    deafa –

    great and big thanks

    u keep bringing the good stuff. thank u



  46. brenster-
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 00:20:33

    Well, I don’t see the need to defend Candy’s intention. I already read that she claimed that ASL is not a language and so on. Now, she backpedaled saying, “no no I’m not saying that it is not a language; I’m just asking a question…” la la la. Sorry, I don’t believe it.

    Then it took into a different spin by oh he PSE, not ASL, there she PSE not ASL, pointing at people and accusing them for not admitting that they actually use ASL and all this silly sh*T! I didn’t bother to comment there – I like the slogan: “Do not feed the trolls.”

  47. brenster-
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 00:21:48

    Oh, I meant “accusing them for not admitting that they actually use PSE…” but you know what I mean!

  48. handeyes
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 00:34:26


    yep Y O U are clear



  49. brenster-
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 00:38:21

    Sure people can question things and have a good discourse. There are ways for that – healthy discourses.

    I just believe that the question Candy supposedly asked is an irresponsible question – there is no valid and logical reasoning to back her question but her reasons were all based on old thinking, such as ASL as bad form of English, that it is English based and such. I believe she knows that ASL is a true language; she just wanted to stir up things creating more divisions and accuse certain people. More unhealthy discourses. I’m sick of it. If she has personal issues with certain individuals, then she needs to keep that between them but taking down our language and community is not cool. But again, like Patti said, it is actually a good thing. The true colors are showing out in each of her posts lately.

  50. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 00:46:20

    After reading some more comments, I see that I misunderstood the message of this blog post. I will just return to the lurking mode.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  51. handeyes
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 01:34:18

    joseph – today i learned that there is such a thing as a lurker troll. i hope i’m just misunderstanding ur comment



  52. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 01:54:48

    I am now delurking. 🙂

    Can you explain what “lurker troll” means? I don’t recall seeing this term.

    When I wrote that I am returning to the lurking mode, this is a way to let the commenters, who responded to my comment, know that I will not participate in the further discussion due to error on my part so that they will not wait for my response. I felt that this is better than my long silence. I don’t understand how this can be related to troll as in “lurker troll”.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  53. handeyes
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 02:14:52


    thanks so much for clarifying cuz i just re-read that whole troll thingy and it dont sound like u at all

    so if i understand u right – u r saying u wont be commenting due to an error on ur part but u wanted to let them know that u wont be commenting. u will just be lurking?

    just making sure i understand

    ill be off line for a bit – just so u know my silence dont mean nothing except – got some “have ta dos to” attend to

    much peace


  54. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 09:52:38

    Thanks for the link explaining the different kinds of troll.

    You are correct about me not making any further comments, especially relating to the sub-thread starting with my original comment. I can delurk anytime if I can come up with constructive, on-the-topic comment. Hardly a troll or any kind of troll.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  55. handeyes
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 12:08:54

    Heye Joseph

    thanks for the note

    see ya when u r out and about



  56. Ann_C
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 19:27:32

    I laughed at JPR’s first comment, especially the part of donning an asbestos suit before stepping on the soapbox.

    Then I reflected on why should a commenter have to feel that way (oh, goodness!), when it’s typically the blogger that gets flamed to a crisp.

    JPR is correct in that when a subject dear to ppl’s hearts gets brought up and questioned by a blogger, ppl hate it when hard questions are even asked. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to start a dialogue. Candy has observed some things about ASL, PSE, SEE, etc. She’s not dissing ASL, contrary to what some of the commenters here are saying. She’s DOD and grown up in Deaf culture, so her life-long experience shouldn’t be discounted by those of you who are DOH and came to sign language later in life and have a bunch of college degrees, ok?

    So maybe using DonG who uses PSE primarily was the wrong person for Candy to cite as an example of someone who uses PSE, but it was not her intention to “pick on” him. In fact, DonG signs PSE very well. We all know that Ella uses ASL, Barb DiGi uses PSE, and John Egbert uses PSE most of the time– we’ve all viewed their vlogs.

    Candy has observed that the majority of ppl who says they use ASL and advocate for ASL aren’t using ASL (and ASL I mean by the pure sign language without the English structure or word order and believe me, Candy knows the difference). She wonders what kind of message are ASL advocates such as DonG, Barb, and John sending to hearing parents? If they keep emphasizing that ASL is a true language but don’t use it, what kind of message is that? I’d think it would be confusing to folks.

    So when we discuss ASL being valid, which ASL are we referring to, the pure ASL or the PSE that many ppl call ASL?

    Don’t forget, this is part one of her series on this topic. She will be bringing up more hard questions. I can imagine more rising up…stay tuned. 😉

    I wasn’t lurking btw, just came across your article last nite, sassy redhead. Your bro would be my cup of tea (read the ‘clear’ canal article). 🙂


  57. Ann_C
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 19:30:19

    Oops, typo: I can imagine more groans rising up…stay tuned.

  58. Dianrez
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 20:16:22

    Pointing at people who use PSE and using them in asking questions about what kind of message are they sending about ASL is, to me, kind of a red herring.

    Language is fluid. As Deaf people grow in literacy and facility in English, their ASL base is bound to grow in complexity and sophistication. Rather than ending up with PSE in the future, I see ASL absorbing PSE and adapting it to its own syntax and vocabulary. More, ASL could even be changing in its own syntax. I’ll leave it to linguists to delve into the mechanics and implications of that.

    Before Stokoe, we simply called it “sign language” and only after that began to define it further into ASL and pidgin and so on. Also, we began creating new signs and including them in books such as “Signs for Instructional Use.” Interpreters, in a related development, grew as a profession and became legislated as a right. They developed courses for medical and legal interpreting, platform and dramatic interpreting, special needs interpreting, etc.

    Before Stokoe, “sign language” was only broken down into “low verbal” or “minimal language skills” and “high level”. I think things have improved a great deal in definitions, but pointing at signers to discredit them, question the validity of ASL or concepts such as Deaf culture, that is a backwards step.

    I’ll be greatly relieved when we can get past this determination of who uses PSE and what messages they are sending. What messages? Spell it out for everyone to examine, please.

    They are users of ASL just as anybody else, understand ASL, and can respond in kind, and deeply respect ASL.

  59. Ann_C
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 21:51:15

    I agree that ASL will evolve with more sophistication and complexity, but it hasn’t yet absorbed PSE. Many ppl can still distinguish between the two forms.

    Granted, some of us who came to ASL later think in English order, so we then use PSE without realizing that what we’re using isn’t really the pure ASL to begin with. We’re using ASL in English structure and that has been called PSE. Any DOD who was brought up on ASL will pick up on that difference without hesitation.

    Some ppl see a contradiction when someone who uses PSE most of the time discussing ASL advocacy for deaf babies/ children and don’t use the pure ASL in that advocacy message.

    Another contradiction is some ppl call PSE, SEE, Signed English as English/ audistic oppression on ASL, when in fact PSE, for example, is very commonly used to teach subjects in school and enables some d/Deaf ppl to understand English, a second language for some. This is not to criticize those who use pure ASL as they sign it eloquently, but there are some who cannot write English just as eloquently because they didn’t have early exposure to PSE or SEE and English reading. And we know that some d/Deaf with oral backgrounds who struggle with language period because they were not exposed early enough to either language. Literate bilingualism cannot come at the expense of one language over the other.

    Deaf ppl are a minority within a majority of hearing ppl in this country. To work and contribute as a citizen today, it is becoming apparent that a d/Deaf person needs to be literate in English. It was different in the time ASL first arose in this country, because of an agrarian economy, ppl, both hearing and deaf, didn’t need literacy to work farms and small cottage industries. The economy today reflects the information age and literacy is practically a requirement.

    So, again, which is the valid language, the pure ASL or the PSE that so many deaf ppl call ASL? Something to think about.

  60. handeyes
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 22:07:41


    my brother’s grand indeed but not much of a tea drinker. i can do tea or coffee in case ur asking

    re: groaning about the groaning about the moaning about the….. funny how that works huh?

    re: hard questions

    well, why dont we ask if PSE is valid?


    really my understanding is that the term PSE has been abandoned by the field

    so if ya all want to have outdated discussions about if ASL is a language and how grand PSE is – enjoy.

    i got better usage of my time

    what is ALIVE is
    ASL (in varying degrees of beautifulness)
    English (in varying degrees of beautifulness)

    what is used in most schools or educational programs is:
    Signed English Systems which takes on a variety of forms:
    Sim-com / signed supported speech
    Manually coded English:
    SEE I
    SEE II this is pretty much RIPing too
    LOVE this is pretty much RIPing too

    Cued Speech

    oh and some programs use the exclusionary option of:
    Oral / Aural Only

    the term PSE is dead but if folks wanna keep using it that helps me understand where they are coming from

    re: pure ASL hmmmmmm pls define pure English and where can i find it???

    wow the world is complex and the canal is clear but that dont mean its clean


    hey do u think Candy’s Part II will be delivered in ASL – that would be mighty nice and make her points a bit more VALID don’t ya think?

    just a couple of questions

    what’s that i hear????

    is u groaning ann_c?



  61. handeyes
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 22:20:12

    wow ann_c ur 2nd comment was coming in while i was typing the above
    lets see if we can do this again – if u r typing right now as im typing

    re: contradictions – oh sweet – there be PLENTY of those to go around and i see even a few in ur own comment – wow wee

    re: ASL of old days agrarian society and all that jazz – nice speculations but in fact many scholars (yep i know u folks hate them but they r out there and they are VERIFYING and VALIDATING their claims with proof) have written about how GOOD Deaf ASL folks English was back in the days of the original bi-bi method prior to the spread of PURE oralism in the U.S.

    see groce, lane, lang, edwards….. and more

    good try though

    something to think about eh?

    oh and ann_c the babbidge report of 1964 (congressional report declaring Oralism a dismal failure and they started them as babes since 1920 on), the COED 1988 report declaring mainstreaming and TC not so helpful, and the ICED Vancouver 2010 Oral / Aural only as wrong declaration might be of interest to u

    or u could just ask Candy for her astute observations

    and fyi – i aint groaning or moaning or chuckling – im loving ya with the truth

    be well and be awake



  62. handeyes
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 22:36:10

    Dianrez – u is grand

    one of the biggest achievements of stokoe et al labor intensive examination, analysis and documenting of ASL was that it helped to destigmatize it

    yep folks knew it was a language but during the many decades of PURE oralism it became a “dirty” language – a language of scorn and shame

    folks wouldnt even sign in public

    talk about restriction of free speech – OY

    re: “What messages? Spell it out for everyone to examine, please.”

    that would be might nice wouldnt it be?

    and mighty cool if they actually fingerSPELLED it out or SIGNED it out instead of texted it out

    and did u see the article and PP by Dr. Carol Padden explaining and verifying how the wee babes see fingerspelling as actually SIGNED words before they learn their alphabet – that is so wickedly cool and if we didnt have a linguist amongst us, we wouldnt realize that is what they are doing. we might speculate that they were using PSE or something nutty like that.

    Dr. Padden by the way is Deaf of Deaf (geez some folks are giving that a bad name aint they – crown oh where is my crown but thankfully Dr. Padden has NEVER misused or abused that inheritance – instead she has used the gifts given to her by her pedigree to enhance world knowledge) and she is the winner of the MacArthur Genius award

    oh and she has been doing some major kick butt research on the El Sayed sign language (Bedouins in Israel) see the WONDERFUL BOOK –
    Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind

    knowledge is power folks and verity is clarity

    much peace


  63. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 23:18:33

    Your bold statement that the term “PSE” is dead piqued my curiosity, bringing me out of the lurking mode.

    Can you provide the references to support your assertion that the term “PSE” is dead?

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  64. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 02:15:33

    well that was my intention Joseph

    to lure u out of lurking – smile. nope, not really.

    i do not believe there is any publication that says “the term PSE is DEAD” but i think that there are many publications and articles that have switched from using the term PSE to using the term contact sign
    seems the shift took place by the 1990s

    yep candy et al is about 20 years behind the times

    more evidence needed Joseph? well, there are NO books out there that i know of with the title PSE in them. there are no DVDs that i know of with the title PSE in them.

    i dont know of classes in PSE offered in HS or colleges

    etc etc etc

    in fact i really never see nobody use the term PSE in the past 10 years except to say “remember that old term PSE”
    that is until a couple of weeks ago when some folks started tossing it (meaning the term PSE) around to label folks with cuz they r so ?educated? hmmmm?

    psst Joseph – this is where you are supposed to admire my question and say – yes Candy should prove that PSE is a valid language

    ya know in the spirit of being fair and all



  65. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 02:25:30

    oh also while i dont come from Deaf of Deaf nor have i reproduced Deaf – i do have many of moons of living on this planet and none of the hundreds of Deaf folks i interact with have ever said they use PSE

    some will say they use Signed English
    some will say they grew up with SEE
    some will say they grew up with sim-com
    some will say the grew up with Cued speech
    some will say they grew up oral
    some will say they use ASL
    some will say they use ASL but it aint so good

    but i aint seen anybody say they use PSE since way way way way back when

    maybe its a Wisconsin thing? hmmmm

    nope i know SEVERAL folks from Wisc and none of they say they grew up with PSE or they currently use PSE

    geez im totally bamboozled now

    where are all these highly educated and literate PSEers?

    are they just afraid of me?

    i know i got red hair and all and i can come off kinda strong at times but im basically a nice lass. dont be afraid PSEers – come out and play. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    oh dear – i think i just heard to sound of someone’s bubble popping!

    dang – sorry about that Miss Candy

    my dang truth campaign – when am i ever gonna stop?

    oh yeah, when u all can stop spreading falsehoods and b.s.

    would ya pls. pretty pls?

    i dont mind differences of opinion – i just cant stand falseHOODs



  66. Ann_C
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 06:46:57

    I guess I can say I’m #5 and #7, but it’d be closer to PSE and not so “literate”.

    Yup, PSE, girl. You can quote all the scholarly sources and ya won’t find PSE mentioned, because it’s everyday parlance for ‘contact sign language’, as scholars have put it. Nuthin’ Wisconsin about it, and I ain’t from WI. You live all your life in Rochy? I do think regular d/Deaf folk who use PSE are gonna go “What the heck is contact sign language?”

    Geewillikers, girl.

    I know you’re a professor, but ain’t nothing wrong with calling something you use all the time in everyday parlance. Not a falsehood. It took a while for manual or sign language to be called ASL in this country. And you’d call manual or sign language a falsehood? Come on.

    No, PSE is not the form of sign language taught in HS or college courses, it is usually ASL and typically geared towards students who wish to become ‘terps. But I have had deaf instructors who signed in PSE informally especially for beginners, as many students who take ASL are hearing and think in English order.

    Furthermore, I do think a good number of d/Deaf ppl who use PSE think it is ASL, without realizing that they’re using PSE, (ah, ‘contact sign language’), which is ASL with the English order.

    Just consider it a “difference of opinion”.

    ‘Contact sign language’ is your’n, and PSE is mine’n. But they’s the same.

  67. deafa
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 12:54:10

    They probably don’t call it PSE, sometimes they call it conceptually accurate signed English:

  68. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 13:13:53


    to be honest with u – im not really following ur comment above
    maybe its in bad “pse” not sure

    PSE is not really everyday parlance – maybe it was 20 years ago (but even then it was hardly everyday parlance) and maybe it is where folks who believe the world is flat walk but in the various places i have lived and visited, folks aint saying PSE

    but heye i look forward to u all getting it into the dictionary

    psst – its gonna take a lot more than a few rambling blog entries that wander way off the main point of “is ASL a valid language?” and did “Stokoe’s fabricate it?” and comments here and there peppering the blogsphere with the three letter non-reality term and lobbing folks with the mislabel of PSE to make it become a reality ie VALID

    in fact it just kinda makes all of ur dB credibility rating sink WAY into the quicksand to the point that even when i bring u facts to use you mentality – u say nuh huh – aint gonna wake up to reality

    now re: contact sign “language” – oh girl that is not what they call it

    they call it contact signs

    and it comes about due to the contact between two languages
    ASL – which is a real bona fide language
    English – which is a real bona fide language

    and that makes contact signs – it results when 2 or more languages coming into contact

    *We interrupt this broadcast ladies and gentlemen to let you know that we know that they will just huff and puff and keep trying to blow the house down and when they see that they can’t they will pull out the “well, that’s debatable” dance card. We want to let u know, our viewers at home (and yes, we know many of you are still visiting this thread) that we make this effort for your and our benefit. So that the invisible will be made more visible and so that our good faith effort is well documented and so that when folks wonder just how far off the mark they are – they can see it here because, Dear Viewers, as you well know – Verity is Clarity and the Truth is Toxic for some and looking at the sun when you have been in the dark so long is might hard. And yes, we are trying to be firm and forthright while being gentle but that is mighty hard. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.*

    contact signs is:

    not a language child

    not a language but good try

    wow u getting dizzy too and tripping up on that ole yarn they be spinning

    goodness gracious

    oh have u seen this new book The Hidden Treasures of Black ASL

    cant wait to read that – next on my list after i finish “People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestory

    Look look i can read and i know ASL is a valid language, the earth is round, and Deaf is Dynamic

    wow – who would a figured

    oh and did u know Deaf Poet Raymond Luczak’s book of poems entitled MUTE has been selected as one of the top gay, lesbian, bi, transgender titles for 2010 by the American Library Association

    what is the round earth coming to with all these recognitions and acceptances and validations of concepts, ideas, languages (see padden’s work re: El Sayed), and artists, and poets

    surely the sky is falling

    re: difference of opinion – wow how did i know we’d end up at this place

    i love you



  69. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 13:20:53


    the thinking chap is back (hope chap can apply to fe/male cuz i dont know which u is and dont want to be excluding u if it is only for XYs and u be a XX)

    thank ya

    Added: i did check the CDC link above re: CASE (Conceptually Accurate Signed English) and really this term is almost never used. definitely not used by lay people and or by notable linguists. just fyi

    yes i think what they want to be saying is Signed English – which is a visual system used to represent English but is NOT a language and no Don G, Barb DiGi, etc are not using Signed English

    maybe if they sim-com and added some of the signed English stuffy they would be but no they is using ASL and ASL has a lot of VARIATION

    just as we see that the English language has variations

    is English a valid language????




  70. brenster-
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 14:45:29

    I read some comments; I must admit that I shake my head at some certain commenters who do have minimal skills & knowledge in ASL going around lecturing us about ASL & PSE, like they know more than us! HA!

    I wanted to point out one assumption that any DODs can tell the difference between ASL & PSE without hesitation. This is partially true if they view at signers, but when they are signing themselves, no as it is in my opinion based on my experience and many others’ as well that they must know grammatical rules of BOTH ASL and English to be able to automatically gauge their signing into more of ASL or more of English. Most Deaf people were never taught the grammatical rules of ASL (formally educated, I mean).

    Why do some Deaf people say that they use ASL, yet they signed PSE in their videos? What kind of message does it show? blah blah – Instead of examining the situation, candy et al assumed that ASL must be invalid language and etc etc. Those are unexamined thinking. I have seen some of those Deaf persons IN PERSON and they actually use ASL. So, why shifting little bit more English-like in their ASL presentation?

    My theory – well not proven, so my hypothesis:

    Their videos are done in front of videocam. That “automatically” put them into “PRESENTATION” mode that we have been stressed at school to give formal presentation in SEE or more English-like. Often, we would be videotaped and watch ourselves as the teachers (mostly hearing) corrected our signing. Again, remember we were never formally educated about ASL grammatical rules, etc, we never learned HOW TO give professional/formal presentation in ASL!

    That, my hypothesis about why some Deafies automatically linked some English-like signing into their supposedly ASL presentation.

    I remember I wrote a speech for my HS graduation; and I was stumped with how to present the English paper into true ASL signing. There were no ASL coaches, or anyone to assist me to learn how to best translate from English to ASL and vice versa. As result, I watched the video of my speech and I cringed!

    Many Deaf people ended up learning the grammatical rules of ASL, and “PAH” they know TWO languages. The ability to sign strongly ASL via video requires practice, because #1 this is BIG DIFFERENCE from casual and regular conversation.

    Thank you!

  71. brenster-
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 14:57:05

    btw, at school when we were to give a presentation in formal settings (stage, video, etc), during daily practice, we were to sign out each word from what we have typed/written in our paper – word for word. If we forgot even just one sign which couldn’t disrupt the whole presentation (such as the, a, in, etc), we would have to start over practicing until we perfectly sign word for word from our papers.

    That is BRAINWASHING, I must say. To “un-infect” ourselves from ENGLISH-only mode takes long time, years years. Even many Deaf people who finally are able to express themselves automatically in ASL at ANY settings, they would find themselves to be tainted with just few English signs. It takes years.

    However, language borrowing among languages is VERY COMMON. So, many Deaf persons who are fluent at both ASL and English languages would often borrow some English idioms and quotes, and such. It does not mean, OHHHH THEY SIGN PSE! It is language borrowing.

  72. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 15:40:48


    are u talking logic
    and logically
    and reason based
    and have u actually studied this real language known as ASL

    wow – makes a difference dont it

    i would add to ur astute assessment about our lack of formally studying our own language at an early age and thus we dont always “talk so pretty in it in formal” settings
    there is the Gallaudet syndrome thingy that Ryan Commerson touched upon in his vlog and he and Alison Aubrecht wrote about in their Butterfly Effect

    that syndrome is not specific or localized to Gallaudet – its just a by product of linguicism me think

    the belief that one language is superior to another and in this case it would be anything that resembles the darling language – english and not the more native or indigenous type languages such as ASL

    and then there is the “educational setting”

    and then there is diglossia – aw wont anybody discuss diglossia with me

    and then there is the fact that ASL BEGS for a live audience – i think it is incredibly much more true of spoken signing (grr my reversals) languages and there is probably some article or dissertation asserting this that i read long ago and it hung out in the recesses of my brain as a truism soooooo

    its probably from the works of Padden or Bauman or both – but it just seems to me that natural sign languages are very interactive based so lecturing on a stage when the audience is in black out is HELL

    pure hell – i know cuz i been there done that

    and signing into a web cam is mighty hard without anybody on the other end of it but there are folks who are gems at it

    stay true and blue to the language and then there are others of us who make that noble attempt

    at least we try eh

    as opposed to arm chair critics who just sit behind their screen names and text all day and night and dont even show off their marvelous – whatever signing they want to call it for all to see

    odd eh?

    bottom line various causes contribute to the variety of our ASL fluency – education being a chief one of them

    there is also the little factor that folks wanna hold us up to some of the champions and that simply aint fair – i mean i cant compete with Ridor ; )

    re: language borrowing – yep hence the “contact” in the contact signs



  73. Marla Hatrak
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 17:02:52

    You know, Patty, too often we talk about such volatile ASL issues without “remembering” our history. Indeed, we forget our history, and we are condemned to repeat it.

    BrenSter’s comments brought some of those “historical “ moments which I think is worth illuminating here for the benefit of those ASL arm-chair skeptics.

    If I use my true-biz ASL, people would call me ASL elitist. I do not use it; people say I am English elitist. I think BrenSter is right in that we struggle with this issue.

    I was in high school and during a Junior National Association of the Deaf (Jr. NAD) talent performance, Ella Lentz (the one and only Ella) did her ASL performance about “the puppy with the pink tongue.” We snickered and called her ASL “broken English.” Never mind that the poem she wrote in English was most adorable.

    At Gallaudet College (yeah, I am Class of 1977!), Ella Lentz was my sisters’ roommate. So was MJ Bienvenu. Ella Lentz was an ASL champion then and now, imagine that! MJ was brilliant in her spoof of everything that was not ASL. She did her high school graduation speech in Rochester method!

    I thought I was “holier than thou” than those two ASL champions; I preferred to showcase my English. That was our history then. Today, they continue to champion what we should have known then. Ella, I can say, is more true to herself than anyone of us can claim.

    Sadly, it was not till 1988 when I read Carol Padden and Tom Humphries’ book, Deaf in America, Voices from a Culture did I realize who I am and more importantly that Ella and MJ were right in their efforts to promote ASL. I am sure Carol Padden and Tom Humphries had her share of ASL naysayers then.

    Today, it is really not cool for DoDs to show off their ASL, because it will make others feel like their ASL is not good enough. Go figure.

    Candy reminds me of myself in the 1970’s and 1980’s. What could prompt Candy to go around questioning whether anyone speaks “true-biz” ASL? We did that 30 years ago. I also need to address Ann_C’s comments. I am a DoD, no more nor no less than Candy. Her experiences with ASL is her experiences, and so are mine.

    True-biz ASL can happen only when both speakers use it. In other words, most of us do not meet our own kind of people. As for me, I speak “true-biz” ASL with my family, my school cronies, and those I know understand it. My husband can tell you I use “beautiful ASL” when I am angry with him.

    There’s a good reason for contact signs as there is a good reason for contact languages in parts of Europe.

    To attain a contact language, you need fluency in one language. In our case, it is ASL.

  74. brenster-
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 18:51:23

    That’s great that we are examining this issue, talking about possible reasons based on logics, such as our history. There are historical documents, but not only that WE actually LIVE in it!

    Patti- yes, definitely! studying ASL made a huge difference – not only in my ASL signing but also my English writing. I am able to separate them (even though some English signs still stuck in my signing, slowly removing them out of my ASL signing vocabulary). I found myself translating from ASL to English and vice versa much easily than before. Yes, a huge difference! Oh oops, I forgot… I write PWE! *wink*

    You are correct that ASL, and actually also ALL signed AND spoken languages are interactive. Writing, signing to videocamera, presenting on the stage are whole a different game. That is why there are public speaking and writing classes for English speaking students (and Deaf students, too). There should be public speaking classes for ASL (stage, videocamera, etc).

    Plus, other reasons that you added, yes.

    Some people like to portray us as ASL extremists, but in reality most of us are flexible with language, hence the contact language.

    Marla, I appreciate your sharing stories from your time about yourself and some other persons. I’m in younger generation, but yes I saw your traits in my Deaf teacher. Ironically, she presented stories in true ASL form that left me in awe! We (us kids) would always say to each other, “wow that Mrs.X expert/skilled drama facial-expression!!!” At that time, we didn’t know that it was actually ASL! She didn’t even realize that herself, too. Ironic.

    I completely agree that if we use strictly ASL, we would be called ASL Elitists or if strong English, English Elitists. No win either way! Not easy, but I try to be true to myself and be a model to others. With right attitude, many Deafies came to me and commended me on my true ASL on stage, presentation and at the meetings. However, knowing that all of us grew up in that “system,” we are diverse in our language backgrounds (see, pse, you named it), I am flexible in my communication with them. I do not go around saying to them, well you too English for my taste, me must ASL only, go away! like some others try to portray us. At the same time, I try to maintain my true ASL and many of them appreciate it. The only complaints I saw are ON some people’s blogs. Interesting.

  75. handeyes
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 19:56:21

    Marla and Brenster

    thank u for sharing ur personal stories and experiences

    this is very important stuff

    re: labels and name calling etc

    it could be projection on their parts

    it could be an attempt to discredit and dismiss

    as my brother always says “what other folks think of me is none of my business”

    he also recently told me when i was remarking on how our mom gave us the beautiful gift of being able to laugh at ourselves – T remarked “my friend said – learn to laugh at yourself and you will spend the rest of your life being amused”


    so how does this relate – well its got to do with Dr. Paddy Ladd’s discussion of elite subalterns and subaltern elites – i always mix up which is which due to my wee dyslexia but if i remember right the elite subalterns r the pro-English folks look at me im all that and more folks
    and the subaltern elites r the pro-ASL folks look at me im all that and more folks
    see Ella for more clarity and accuracy on this:

    im mostly interested in the subaltern rebels – they are the risk takers for the greater good and they seriously know how to laugh and have fun
    More recent vlog from Ella including Rebels

    i think they r cool

    and needed

    and brave

    and good

    where we put the elite for ourselves is not so important cuz subalterns is what we all be

    the important thing is whether or not we feel we r important enuf to replace the elite with a peaceful subaltern rebel

    and in terms of the extremist label they love to slop around – i learned Martin Luther King was brandished an extremist also

    as if

    as if folks

    and he thought long and hard about it and decided there was one kinda extremist he did want to be – and that was an extremist of love

    so that is what im aiming for. i aint ever gonna come close to this brilliant star that guides my step but i am gonna aim for it

    at least ill get off the ground

    again Marla and Brenster thank u for sharing & caring



  76. Don G.
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 01:18:36

    I’ll talk diglossia with ya, Patti, although that, too, is another one of those terms that the linguists are no longer using, at least when it comes to ASL.

    Why? Cuz diglossia technically refers to two forms of the SAME language, and we all know that ASL and English are not the same language, no matter how some folks huff and puff and try to make it be so.

    But it is definitely true that the Deaf community is in a diglossic-like situation where one language (English) is valued and maintained and established as a MUST for all to know and use, while another language (ASL) is scorned and devalued and shunted off to the side whenever possible.

    And it is certainly true that the end results from diglossic situations in spoken language communities do apply to our community.

  77. Don G.
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 01:19:02

    BTW, now you got me talking like you! You’re infectious!

  78. Marla Hatrak
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 01:34:18

    I had a conversation today with a friend who offered that “PSE” is the same as Spanglish where Spanish-speaking people speak English with Spanish words thrown in here and there. Spanglish is not a language.

    PSE is not a language because it is signed English. My friend continues that you cannot possibly take a class in “PSE.” She also suggests that the word we may be looking for is “dialect.”

  79. deafa
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 02:15:20

    “hasta la vista, baby”

  80. Don G.
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 04:45:31

    No, PSE or contact signs CANNOT be considered a dialect either. Dialects too, have rules governing how they are spoken, and PSE or CS do NOT have any (or very limited) rules for how they are used.

  81. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 13:16:03

    don g – im infectious!

    heavens – hope u mean like a smile is and not like a yawn smile

    re: Diglossia – there are two common usages / applications of it right

    fishman is my man i think

    talk to me some more pretty please – i think there is something there but im not a linguist in training. not even a socio-linguist but there is a kernel of TRUTH and applicability to the ASL & English in contact situation and id like to blow off the dust on that concept and toss it around a bit but everybody ive talked to just goes to the original understanding of the word and not the more “advanced” smile (really expanded is a better choice) of the definition

    woodward markowitz stokoe’s i think they were on to something but some folks didnt like what they were on to so just went the purist route and deep sixed it

    not as in a CONSPIRACY folks but just in – prudes

    another problem i have musing about it is my reversals – the distinction was made between diglossia and a diglossic community and one was more applicable to us but i always confuse which is which – i assume it was the “diglossIC”

    i really think fishman’s expansion of ferguson’s definition helps us understand the variations in ASL signing

    in academic settings – English (in its various productions – spoken, written or signed) is HIGH prestige whereas ASL has long been regulated to the LOW prestige status in education

    hoping to see them both get valued

    again i could be way off with this but it might give us some musings in order to put forth new terms and conceptualizations of what happened post ASL the term and language being accepted and validated again only to be smacked in the face with the onslaught of English based signed systems in educational settings and academia

    big thanks don for being willing to chat about this

    much peace


  82. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 13:22:53


    heye i was chatting with a colleague who is cha smart about all this stuff too and she did mention spanglish too

    we mostly talked about contact signs but we did see that PSE as a term is pretty much dead and buried

    who knows – maybe they will coin a new term ASLglish?

    lets watch and see see – since they be watching this here thread

    [heye ya all! Lurking Joe check out Valli, Lucas, and Mulrooney and Valli and Lucas (several kick butt books that cover how PSE is RIP]


    u got me chuckling good

    but i aint had me joe (as in coffee not as in the III) yet so i can’t think of a good comeback for ya


    (unless that there is one???)

  83. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 13:41:05

    Don G et al

    yep that is me understanding of dialect and contact signs distinctions

    my guess of why her friend mentioned dialect was just to show those CONTACT situations so in chatting grabbed at a dialect as an “kinda like” but not meaning IS

    dialects are often kinda situationally specific and as are contact signs (notice neither are languages also right – so its kinda like

    which of these things are kinda like the other, which of these things are kinda the same oh… which of these things ….

    and lo and behold – which is gonna stand out and apart ASL and English cuz they be true blue languages which host and boast a variety of forms

    so to recap here folks:

    1. is PSE a valid language?
    a. NO because
    i. it is not a language
    ii. it is a rejected concept and construct
    iii. hardly anybody ever uses that misnomer of a term no more so….
    get with the 21st and 1st decade in it would ya u all

    2. is ASL a valid language?
    a. yes indeedy it is
    i. see the scores and scores and scores of research before and after it got the A added to it

    3. do languages have varations?
    a. well yes they do honey child, thank u for askin’

    4. did Stokoe’s make it all up?
    i. nope – cuz of something called reliability and validity – as in scientific terms and processes (yes i know i done said that up in the blog entry at top but it seems some of the folks who are paddling mighty hard down the de nile river benefit from repetition
    [pssst we even got MRI pictures (which were done way post-the-soorcerer-sotoke) to show just how much of a language it is – ya hoo but dont tell them they can only take so much truths at a time]

    5. is patti using English or Spinglish or Spinach language (popeye!) or ?
    a. we dont really know what Patti is doing here [she asks herself on a daily basis what she is doing in the blogsphere but then then somebody is always showing up offering wisdom, knowledge, truth, hope, stories, love, etc so she goes to her gratitude place and keeps on keepin’ on and cuz i love them too and they deserve to know that Deaf is beautiful and ASL in all its variations is worth fighting for. all u good souls really do sustain me so i thank ya. Sorry viewers for the long interruption in our program. we now return u to the sass]
    b. We have had many folks review Patti’s writings (hundreds upon hundreds folks and not just ee cummings loverss) and 9.5 out of 10 experts have concludes that YES in fact she is using English)

    go figure

    or go Fishman

    or go fish

    thanks all – u made me day

    btw – i do know we covered more stuff here but im in a hurry and my sass aint always as funny to others as it is to me so im trying to exercise a wee bit of restraint. there is MUCH more we could poke at but i really dont want to hurt – i just want to gently nudge folks to realize that the sleeping mode when it makes u think PSE is real and still used it just a wee bit dated and misguided

    and i do worry – im a major worry wort and often when i do me direct confrontations with love and truth – folks get mighty hurt.

    “they say that waking up is hard to do…”



  84. brenster-
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 14:30:00

    Good Morning!

    About PSE being “dead,” it got me thinking back and indeed it did seem to be quietly fading out but not yet proclaimed as dead until you. Since it is published here, now it is really dead. *haha*

    Serious here now… I tried to remember back to when was the last time I saw the comment “ME PSE” from anybody was in mid-90’s. After that, I haven’t seen anyone saying ME PSE since then. I know plenty friends who are not perfect at ASL but they don’t go around saying ME PSE. We just communicate.

  85. Dianrez
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 15:34:22

    Through all this, I was getting this uncomfortable feeling that with all the letters flying around and new terms for old ideas zinging through it all…that we were getting away from the basic concept: COMMUNICATION.

    It’s what happens between humans. It happens in a fluid, flexible, anything-goes manner. It varies depending on situation and application: people don’t speak it in the same way or pattern as it is taught, nor the same way with different people.

    In adult human discourse, it is disrespectful to pick apart language usage and stops the communication. It diverts from the message that is being sent. This happens when an oral parent stops their kid in midsentence and makes him repeat a word or syllable. It happens when a Deaf elitist stops a new ASL user in midsign to criticize it. It happens when a blogger minimizes another by saying he is using PSE, implying “not credible.”

    What the heck? Leave it to the linguists to study and analyze and name stuff. We’re communicating, thank you, so why rehash itty bitty stuff not really of our concern?

    Except for trying to build a case against ASL by grabbing at tangental straws, I see occasional worthy ideas in even naysayers’ contributions here and elsewhere.

    Languages are globally pervasive and infinitely varied. Therefore, communication is to be appreciated for the experience, like art. This picking apart and semantics stuff is for the Ivory Tower birds. (Present company excused.)

    I learned something here, though. The current word to use is “contact signs.” PSE is considered archaic. Thanks.

    Still, in the future, I think we will return to the old term “sign language” again as the boundaries become blurred. Maybe linguists will add to their distinctions, but for the rest of us I hope we move on to wider acceptance of its variations.

  86. deafa
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 15:44:25

    oh patti, You got your own style of writing. It’s almost like your signature.

    A dialect is more like this:

    ASL dialect is more like different signs for the same meaning because where they are from or what school they went to.

  87. Don G.
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 19:56:51

    Thanks for reminding me about Fishman, Patti! I’m going to have to go dust off my cop(ies) of him to remind myself of just exactly what he said re: diglossia.

    But yes, ASL/Deaf are in a diglossiC situation, for sure, even if we do not have a formal situation where diglossiA exists. English is H, and ASL is L, and we should make it so English is E and ASL is E (where E = Equal).

    Sometimes “separate but equal” DOES have value as a concept!

  88. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 22:36:39

    brenster –

    smile re: the belated announcement of a way dead term – yep

    re: “We just communicate.” Yep and most of us communicate in ASL with varying degrees of loveliness just as most folks communicate in English with varying degrees of loveliness and when the twain meet and neither folks is very gifted with the other – they make do with contact signs

    and yep – we just communicate!

    me like like



  89. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 22:49:55

    Dianrez –

    smile like what u wrote

    i wouldnt have even tackled the PSE thingy except that it kept being used as a club against folks and then i was like BUT PSE dont even exists !


    don’s etc signing is ASL

    somebody even named Barb Digi as signing PSE – really – wow!

    that is just rude

    its like saying im writing in ebonics

    and that is insulting to ebonics and insulting to me – ; )

    re: ur point that we should call it sign language – i agree – but can we put the A in it

    cuz that is mighty beautiful ASL – in all her variations. this is what all the courses, books, dvds, films research and heye all the folks i chat with on the ground call it

    but if we r talking generally and not to diminish other countries sign languages then refer to signed languages

    and yes as u noted and as our NATIONS is struggling to figure out – maybe we can just focus on communicating

    that will go a long way to commUNITY building

    i know i felt like i worked a life time on trying to find the common ground some folks to stand on and move forward but kept getting shoved off with a ton of falsehoods slathered all over me and labels to boot

    and it is mighty hard to find a common ground when folks can even agree what language we are speaking or if the language is valid smile

    or be willing to agree to disagree

    but the good news is that i did a mighty bit of learning this week re: ASL – what it is and isnt, where its been and where it is going – it is DEFINITELY on the RISE folks

    and i did a bit a schooling re: contact signs and revisited that old grey area – diglossic community

    dont need to hurl that at anyone but just the folks who know of it and want to chat about it – it is helping me see things better and see the PATTERN of our language oppression

    1960s ASL is recognized which legitimizes it after decades of being forbidden
    1970s signed English SYSTEMS enter Deaf education cuz Babbidge report says oralism dismal failure
    1980s mainstreaming – keep them away from each other so ASL wont foster (contact signs and false systems wont mutate towards natural language)
    1988 COED report says mainstreaming and TC not very helpful
    Bi-Bi gets alot of buzz
    1990s CI wave begins and oral / aural only returns
    2000s mainstreaming Sim-com and CI and oral / aural only reign ( AVT)
    CI recalls
    Deaf schools begin to close
    2010 Vancouver ICED New Era declare that oral / aural only is wrong
    Bi-Bi still buzzing but not in place beyond a few programs

    feel free to tweak this quick and fast timeline

    dang u got me thinking again Dianrez



  90. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 22:53:52


    well, eyes thank u very much for that little assessment

    eye is uni Q for sure

    (note: my daughter says if i start typing with 4 for “for” as in b4 – she is gonna have dad cut the wifi – smile)

    really much of me texting style is from old tty talk and not so much from the modern LOL, see i cant even think of the others – i always gotta ask folks – huh what dat mean?

    and the rest is just crazy me and a bit of ee – i love ee

    re: dialect – yep and regional signs etc. me husband still signs “dog” the NYC way – hand brushing ear so we gave that name sign to our dog eventhough his name is not “dog” his namesign is ; )

    i do thank ya for the link and the nice idea of a signature



  91. handeyes
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 23:01:21

    Don G –

    smile – maybe this summer we can vp chat it out. im sure right now too much on each of our plates but the basic premise i think is valid and does tie into the Gallaudet syndrome thingy English HP and ASL LP

    ryan’s stuff:

    latest installment re: On Profiting from Deafness

    Castberggaard Syndrome (guy from Denmark / now Sweden)

    (not sure if u saw this one don but the guy discusses Stockholm Syndrome which i believe u vlogged about a while back)


    re: separate but equal

    well lots of African Americans have discuss that the issue with govt regulated separate but equal was that it was based on RACISM. they do recognize that sometimes it is beneficial for minorities to be on their own when THEY choose it and for the right reasons

    not sure if u r familiar with SEED schools but they are residential schools that re being founded in inner cities that cater to African-American students and are SOARING – they r doing GREAT GREAT GREAT work

    cool stuff



  92. Dianrez
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 23:33:48

    Thanks for the SEED link…checked out the location in DC and found it is a brand-new campus located right in the city (who knew?) surrounded by parkland on three sides and new apartment buildings on the fourth. It’s a fairly large campus, with 300-400 kids housed in groups of 15-18.

    It gave me pause for thought, because it takes inner city students out of their community and gives them a rigorous environment 24/7 so that over 90 percent go on to college. It is not selective: it accepts without regard to race, etc., and students get in by lottery.

    These are CITY kids concentrated in a boarding school environment!

    I wondered about the comparision to residential Deaf students who are gathered in campuses far from home. Why is it that SEED students are doing so well with all the SES roadblocks they have and Deaf kids not doing as well?

    Whoo…a whole other Pandora’s box of questions here.

  93. handeyes
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 00:52:55

    Heye Dianrez

    im glad u checked out Seed – i learned of them a while back when the 60 minutes program aired – wish i could find a version of the program with CC on the web but the program was GREAT

    they have a SEED school in MD also and if i remember right they r planning on one in philadelphia and other cities with high % of kids at risk

    it seems to me the main reason for the success is that EVERYbody has the expectation that they will succeed – ie = failure is impossible ; )

    that some will fail or wash out is NOT a norm of the school

    social norming is REAL effective and important

    so i thought of SEED when i watched the Butterfly Effect vlogs re: Gallaudet Syndrome too

    would would would L O V E to see at least one SEED type of school be created for Deaf students

    im impressed by the founders and also how folks have INVESTED in these schools

    i wish we had more folks investing in Deaf education instead of being so dependent on govt hand outs



  94. brenster-
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 01:10:19

    Patti- the dates you put down are good a good review for me. So, after ASL is recognized as a true language, different new methods were invented even though they were not yet proven to be effective at that time. They also did not prove that ASL was not effective, but but but ASL never had a chance (at that time)! Bi-Bi programs still a few today. So, English-system (oralism, avt, see, TC, etc) still dominates our Deaf education. Yet, when looking at test scores in English competency which were low, first thing they blame is what? ASL! Wait a minute, ASL (on the majority) is NOT even included in our Deaf Ed programs! How could it be ASL’s fault!

    Those low scores prove that English-only methods are far INEFFECTIVE, yet they still are keeping those methods and still are refusing to give ASL a chance!

    Go figure!

  95. handeyes
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 01:58:11

    ah brenster

    see what happens when we study our history

    things become more illuminated and we see some patterns

    everytime we make a bit of headway – the systems in power push back bigger and badder

    yeah they have been blaming ASL for alot of the “evils” in Deaf education when ASL aint even formally used in but a handful of schools – all the rest are sim-com / SEE / or oral / aural AVT

    and often even with the bi-bi schools – they kid has been routed the oral / aural only route first and then when that system failed her / him they r put into the bi-bi program as a port of last resort

    the cool thing about the SEED schools is they get alot of these students later in life and still manage to help them soar. of course the kids already have access to a natural and fully accessible language so they have a good jumping off place once they have all the other things lined up – safe living environment, high expectations, quality teachers, quality curriculum etc

    would love to see at least one type of magnet school set up for Deaf bi-bi kids. the number of students would be much much smaller because the rate of Deaf kids is pretty low but if it materialized it would be cool to see see see

    now the BIG question is – why r folks so afraid of giving Deaf children ASL? not just as a hobby or when its “too late” or as a remedial thingy but from the start and formally

    (i know what the practical constraints are but we cant even address those cuz the field is so VEHEMENTLY opposed to giving Deaf infants and children ASL early and formally – why is that???? huh huh huh???)

    its an important question folks – think hard and ye shall see



  96. brenster-
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 02:48:31

    Money talks! If there are other reasons, I doubt they are that big of significance.

  97. deafa
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 03:18:55

    you mentioned more people learning ASL: Lets hope this bill get passed in VA:

  98. Dianrez
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 03:21:32

    Maybe we should look at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. It is a magnet high school and most live in dorms in the northeastern part of the Gallaudet campus. All teachers are expected to be fluent in sign…also when I was there (1970-73) many teachers were Deaf.

    What percentage of the kids are going on to college? It also admits inner-city Deaf teens from the Baltimore-Washington area. Is it making a difference to them, too? Are there other parallels to the SEED school, too?

  99. Don G.
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 06:47:03

    D-rez —

    I agree with you in that we should just focus on the fact that we are all communicating, stop labeling each other, and let the linguists sort out whether someone is communicating in ASL or not. However, that labeling process, like it or not, IS part of the language process and a part of the reason why we humans are effective communicators through language.

    When we meet someone, our linguistic instincts kick in to evaluate the other person’s linguistic skill, and that helps us to adapt our language to meet the other person’s abilities, if we choose to do so. We all have this ability that has developed with our knowledge of the language we are using.

    But, Hearing English speakers, when they hear a non-native speaker of English, they judge that person’s ability to use “standard” English. They don’t label that person as using “pidgin English”. So, we really do need to understand that when we sign (in America), we are signing in ASL (unless we are trying NOT to use ASL, by using signed English or Rochester Method — I will not include Cued Speech in this list, because Cues are NOT signs!) and the variations in our signing are indicative of either non-native linguistic status, or language contact issues — and it also needs to be understood that those language contact issues derive almost entirely from the linguistic imperialism of English speakers on signers in our schools and society. That is where “those folks” are going wrong.

  100. brenster-
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:40:37

    deafa- about the bill in VA… first of all, I hope it passes and I believe it is a good thing.

    BUT I cringe! Why do they lobby for instruction of ASL to hearing students but would not lobby for the Deaf kids’ right to get instruction in ASL (of course, and English), and they do not lobby for the protection of our language rights!

    Anything for hearing, yes sure sure. ASL for deaf, no no no.

  101. deafa
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:47:14

    This bill would have been good for me because as a deaf who went to public school (k-12th), I would taken this course instead of dropping out of Spanish (true story- I tried Spanish and it didn’t work out at all for me so I was exempt from it because I’m deaf)

  102. deafa
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 13:48:45

    and yes, they should lobby for deaf kids’ right to get instruction in ASL

  103. brenster-
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 14:35:06

    deafa- you got a good point! it would be good for you and others attending public schools. like I said, this bill is a good thing and I hope it passes, but thanks for bringing this to another light 🙂 I hope in that bill, it states ASL teachers are to possess a high level of proficiency in ASL. From what I understand, most (if not all) ASL teachers at public schools are hearing. I personally wouldn’t want to learn ASL from a hearing teacher. Imagine the irony, deaf students learning ASL from hearing teachers.


  104. deafa
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 15:21:13

    yeah, I rather learn from a deaf person. And having a hearing teacher in the class do not really teach kids about people who are different. In public school, all you see is healthy, hearing teachers. To me, it’s not healthy environment.

  105. deafa
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 15:25:08

    What I mean by “healthy hearing” is their version of stereotyping of people who are different because they rare see deaf or people who use a wheelchair working at their school, other than their classmates.I hope no one took it the wrong way! Had to write another post just to make sure after I thought about it.

  106. Linda Slovick
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 05:03:11

    “Have you ever wondered whether or not ASL is truly a valid language?”

    It’s easy for a native speaker of a non-majority language to wonder that about their home language. The situation is called diglossia. To the native, the home language is not the language encouraged in official discourse, which makes it feel less than real. It’s also why “High” (in this case, more English-like) sign has higher status. Not due to the home language being less valid, but due to the imbalance of power monolinguals have over bilinguals even in the larger hearing world in this all-too-common situation.

    Instead of comparing her own opinion to that of William Stokoe, however, it would be more apt to compare her opinion to that of pretty much all modern linguists.

    Can Candy come up with the name of even one linguist who has stated in print that ASL is NOT a valid language after about 1990? I cannot.

    So it’s not just Stokoe whose “opinion” you’re up against in considering ASL less than valid language.

    The Wikipedia does an ok job on “diglossia”, at least enough to get you started. (they are far too brief on how Stokoe knew what he did. His actual background landed him in Scotland in the middle of just such a diglossic situation just before his time at Gallaudet, so it wasn’t hard to recognize that ASL was not only a language, but quite a typical low-status language like the Scotish situation).


    – Linda

  107. PopeMistress
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 11:32:44

    Bravo to this vlogger:

    Wondering what Candy response to that vlog????

  108. Dianrez
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 14:35:04

    It’s been a long discussion already. Maybe what we should be asking is for Candy to explain her objective, rather than defending ASL.

    Suppose Candy proved that ASL is not a language, then what?

    Is it to score a point against Deaf Culture, the beginning of proving it is not a culture?

    Is it to support an argument that a different system is called for in schools, such as cued speech, or oralism? Or something that she hasn’t yet described?

    If it is to re-examine ASL, then it is appropriate to compare the alternatives. This is a weighing of pros and cons that explores all available options. (What, this has been done before?? Really??)

    Candy, have you considered that oralism supporters may pick up on your arguments to say “here is a DoD who says that ASL is not valid” and use it to support a restricted approach?

    Candy, I am sure that many people would appreciate your coming forward and explaining your objective in asking the question: “Is ASL a valid language?”

    Otherwise, the question is not valid in itself, but a pointless stirring of the pot.

  109. Joseph Pietro Riolo
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 15:22:33

    I gather that it is really just the term PSE by itself that is the real bone of contention. I guess that if I call a rose by any name as long as the name is not PSE, everything is rosy and peaceful. If I call a rose PSE, the rose does not actually exist in one’s framework and tension arises. If that is framework that people choose to use, so be it. I myself think that the term PSE is an acceptable but not necessarily the best term until a better term can be found for it. We can call it ASL English Pidgin (AEP), English ASL Pidgin (EAP), Pidgin ASL English (PAE), Pidgin English ASL (PEA) and so forth. I find this better than using a generic, categorical term of “contact sign”, “language contact” or “contact language” that really does not inform me of what kind of contact language that is occurring.

    Given that I subscribed to the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, I decided to do a textual search on the phrase of “Pidgin Signed English” and I got 9 articles and one book review. The latest usage of PSE occurred in the article titled “Exploring Perspectives on Cochlear Implants and Language Acquisition Within the Deaf Community” by Dr. Elaine Gale as published in Volume 16, Number 1 (Winter 2011). On page 125, there is a table listing different sign modes. The modes including PSE are listed as simple “PSE”, “ASL/PSE” and “ASL/PSE/TC”. The table is about the demographic characteristics that were collected from the 30 participants. The fact that 6 of them selected PSE or combination of PSE and others gives a strong indication that they knew about PSE and recognized the term of “PSE”.

    It is still premature to declare that the term PSE is no longer in use.

    I gather that some people prefers to use the framework where a signer (at least in the U.S.) is assumed to be using ASL even though his or her skills are not on par of the native ASL signers. This signer needs to be educated or corrected to follow the proper or standard rules in ASL. Does this mean that they favor prescriptivism? Does this mean that they oppose descriptivism? Or, are they more slated toward prescriptivism than descriptivism? Or, is it the other way? If they use complete or a bit of prescriptivism, which variety or varieties of ASL will they prescribe? I think that this is probably the most contentious point that Candy has with some signers. As an example, some initialized signs (initialized sign means that a sign uses a handshape that corresponds to the first letter of the English word that the sign stands for) are not accepted by some or few usually native ASL signers. Prescriptivist would proscribe some or many of the initialized signs while descriptivist would allow all initialized signs. Which way they go involves the understanding of language politics or power that is too complex to discuss here.

    PSE or any contact language or pidgin actually has rules. Else, there will be no effective communication among people. Pidgin or contact language uses very simple rules and a minimum set of words. For example, English language uses SVO structure (subject-verb-object) while ASL allows both SVO and OSV (object-subject-verb). When the people from both languages meet and use the signing mode to communicate, ASL’s OSV will not be used in contact language but SVO will be retained in the contact language. Unlike bona fide languages, pidgins sometimes lack consistency in rules but that does not mean that pidgins have no rules. The biggest obstacle that a pidgin must overcome in order to reach the prestigious status of a bona fide language is the process of making a pidgin the first or mother language of children in the next generation. During the process of nativization, the existing rules in pidgin are expanded or modified to include any new changes. Let’s put the myth that PSE has no rules to rest.

    To Ms. Linda Slovick: I certainly hope that there are no current linguists that do not recognize ASL or any signed language as a bona fide language. But, if they do exist, my bet is that they use a paradigm that is different from the one that is used by the very large majority of linguists. Paradigm or theoretical framework has enormous power that can make a great impact on one’s thoughts about anything.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  110. deafa
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 15:26:58

    Maybe me and her ought to switch place and hand over “spoken English” as her first and only language. Then she’ll probably acknowledge that ASL is a valid language as she’ll realize the limited of oral-only in communication.

  111. handeyes
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 15:40:16

    heye all

    sorry i aint been around

    i seen ur comments but i been musing and living and loving

    and a wee bit of new news came in re: Sovona Advanced Bionics so there is a new entry up at People of the Eye if u wanna check it out

    ill try to back later to comment here – after i re-read or i might just say – all is fine and dandy and u all knows i love ya no matter if im adding me .02 cents or not

    keep jumping at da sun – we r definitely getting off the ground and last night i saw a beautiful gibbius moon with a star lit night before it went all overcast

    Rochy is good at giving me peaks of the heavens to remind me that even when i cant see things – i can feel them mighty fine and they still be there sight unseen

    truths – that what we be aiming for



  112. handeyes
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 15:09:24


    re: why ASL is suppressed against Deaf folks – u suggested $ talks

    it surely does so i aint disagreeing with that

    and i done read the FAB book Forbidden Signs: The Campaign Against American Sign Language by Dr. Douglas Baynton – it is a MUST Read

    and read Mask of Benevolence and When the Mind Hears etc

    but it seems to me also in all my years here and there – that there is a FEAR component

    folks within Deaf Ed – dont really want ASL to shine cuz they aint so slicky as it

    it makes them be unmaster

    and they’s so want to be master – to help to save to rescue to fix to “make others independent and successful” so they can shine etc


    now it aint everybodies motive

    some folks r truly true

    but there is this fear some folks get – this look in their eyes when they see someone with brilliant ASL that makes me wonder hmmmm

    to keep folks oppressed u must keep them away from things that empower them

    ASL empowers

    it TRULY does

    i have seen its power

    i have felt its majesty up close and personal

    i have seen it spout roses

    and that is somethign that some folks cant get their hands on so they try to suppress it

    they saddle it down with so many falsehoods it can barely breath

    for decades

    yet it does

    what does that tell u?

    what does that tell us?

    that ASL has ALWAYS survived despite and inspite of the campaign against it

    that there be a true truth eh

    and ya know when folks r in Fear they often cant be in love

    so we gotta help them

    know that ASL dont bite

    ASL is kind and good and honest and lovely and allowing folks to have it at a wee age does not make them grow up to be angry unruly anti-Hearing

    in fact it allows them to grow up feeling loved and loveful

    cool eh

    so we gotta help them

    Freire wrote a ton about the oppressor and the pedagogy of the oppresed and keeping the downtrodden downtrodden via language and power

    Slaves were FORBIDDEN to learn to read and write


    ask why

    and u shall see

    verity is clarity

    knowledge is power

    Deaf folks have been FORBIDDEN to sign

    it is the only thing they have been FORBIDDEN to – why? why? why?

    cuz there be power there

    power for equality

    equality of condition!



    PS: will be back for the other stuff later – off to a MLK Jr service

  113. Dianrez
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 15:43:15

    Thanks, Patti for bringing in power as a reason for all the fracas against ASL. As a young teacher, I have seen fellow Hearing teachers become defensive or unsure of themselves when they see students stumble with themn but blossom with Deaf teachers. Sometimes they even blame the Deaf teacher! This has mystified me because it was so obvious.

    Power in the family is harder to pin down. As long as their child doesn’t communicate with people outside the family, parens have the power to use any method with their child. Power in other situations can follow the communication lines–a foreign boss can get along better with foreign workers than the supervisor.

    It’s an interesting concept. How it applies to Candy, I’m not sure. In putting down ASL, is she exerting power as a HOH that is denied Deaf people around her? I don’t think so. It might simply be asserting herself as an authority with an invisible audience that may or may not include Deaf people. It might be be expressing an opinion about ASL as the lesser language in a diglossia situation. Certainly tilting at a windmill makes one question the guy on the horse.

  114. handeyes
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 20:14:55

    re: link to VA bill from deafa – very cool and thank ya

    Dr. Krentz is quoted – nice! Deaf professor and administrator who hails from Yale and teaches at U of VA

    brenster and deafa’s points about:
    – should advocate for Deaf kids learning ASL – amen (see my musing about why that is so “controversial” above)

    – should have Deaf ASL teachers – agreed
    in Vietnam – Dr. Woodward (US professor who coined the D / d distinction and examined diglossic communities a bit and also did talk of pidgens) now works in Vietnam and their teachers of Vietnames Sign Language are all Deaf
    – our kids have studied Hebrew and ive always appreciated when their teachers were from israel – of course all their teachers were Jewish (from Israel or not)

    i have heard alot of stories of where Hearing teachers kinda take over the teaching of ASL in various high school programs and that is a shame i think. I understand sometimes its a necessity cuz no one else available – but in some cities with a pool of highly qualified Deaf ASL teachers it is puzzling

    ya got me thinking about how foreign language is required at our kids’ public school so im wondering why couldnt ASL be required for Deaf kids?????

    what is it such a taboo

    i always come back to freire and the way to empower is to teach a child to read the world so they can read the word

    Dianrez re: MSSD as a SEED type of school – that would be AWESOME

    Don G re: ASL and systems etc yep
    heye maybe they will coin a new term like “siglish” and make a wikipedia page for it like “deafless” oh never mind that got the boot

    deafa – re: Healthy teachers
    i understand ur point

    yep i have long been said that our kids dont have very diverse teachers – all Hearing, most all white, gender is pretty well mixed but no different abled and no African-American or Native American. They have had some Asian, Indian, Gay and Lesbian, Jewish… teachers and the student population runs the whole rainbow – ya hoo!

    but i agree important for students – especially students of the dominant culture to have a teacher from minority / underrepresented cultures / groups. i think that goes a long way in reducing prejudices and misconceptions



  115. handeyes
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 20:34:04

    Linda – thanks for the info re: stokoe, scotland and diglossia

    Popemistress – thanks for the links – wow Insane Misha has seriously reduced her perchance for profanity – that is nice to see

    Dianrez – re: ur questions for Candy – probably best to ask them over at her place

    Candy asked a couple of questions – Is ASL a Valid Language and did Stokoe make it all up. I decided to take the questions at face value and answer them.

    I think your questions are valid and just. Hope you will get the answers for them.

    Joseph – re: the article u site 6 out of 30 selecting… does it specify that it actually gave the subjects PSE and combo as an option to select or did it give them a description (with or without the label of PSE)

    re: PSE having RULES – hmmm ill have to look into that a bit more

    re: “It is still premature to declare that the term PSE is no longer in use.”

    yep it seems there r some folks still living in the past

    re: 2nd generation – aren’t those studies that show the 2nd generation folks morph contact signs and/or sign systems towards more organic / natural / bona fide languages cool?

    re: pidgens getting grammar etc – i think that leads them into creoles but i aint a linguist

    by the way did u check out Valli and Lucas (several books cover contact signs)

    the main point remains – ASL has variations

    re: “a rose is…”
    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    maybe this returns us to Dianrez’s question

    what is the purpose of asking if ASL is a valid question and then signing the praise of PSE?

    many folks have used the image of a ROSE to represent ASL so shall we say:

    “What is name? That which we call ASL
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    TRUE eh?

    ps: nice to see u delurkified ; )



  116. handeyes
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 20:48:48

    Dianrez – re: Deaf teachers yep

    i think this is an important part of the SEED school success most of the teachers are African American themselves and they got HIGH expectations and they speak the lingo of not just the content area but also the life experience

    this does not mean Deaf = great teacher. i have seen some really bad Deaf teachers and that is sad. it does not mean Hearing = bad teacher. i have seen some really great Hearing teachers and that is rad.

    but there does seem to be something about being “in-group” that aids in rapport building, discourse, language, expectations etc

    There is a study that Dr. Humphries mentioned to me during his recent visit to NTID about findings of how Deaf teachers fingerspelled more with young children in Deaf schools than did Hearing teachers. Showing that the Deaf teachers instinctively KNEW the Deaf child could get “it” from the context and make appropriations etc (see way up at top for PP and article by Dr. paddenn re: fingerspelling as signs etc)

    he said they also studied these Deaf teachers in mainstream settings with Deaf kids and they fingerspelled LESS – this indicated that the setting and power relation influenced the teacher

    in a Deaf centered space they knew what the kids were capable of but when they were in a “mainstream” setting the adopted the values and beliefs of the dominant culture – that Deaf kids couldnt catch the fingerspelling at a young age

    that was fascinating to me and got me thinking about how environment affects expectations etc

    Dianrez – i see u r hard at work trying to understand Candy and i assume and hope the end goal is to further appreciate her. Maybe email her if she is open to such.

    I do love her. I have enjoyed her alot when we are talking topics on the table and when there is not all this other stuff under the table bumping it all over like a cheap seance scene.

    re: windmills & horses – in the past when i have felt i was chasing windmills one of my best mate always corrects me and says nope u were not chasing windmills – u were aiding the winds of our sail.

    so may we all be the wind and sail forward

    onward and upward





  117. handeyes
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 14:21:56

    heye all

    some folks have notified me that Candy has released her “Is ASL a Valid Language” Part II blog entry

    i want to thank EVERYBODY for not linking me

    thank u thank u thank u

    ill wait for the book to come out

    for all who have engaged in serious and civil discourse and who love ASL and love our neighbors (those we agree and those we disagree with alike) – i thank u mightily

    this here was a might good thread and very well visited ~ over 600 visits.

    I dont share that to flaunt i just do it to assure folks that just cuz somebody’s counter via the Deaf Read portal has a high number does not mean:

    – being on DR gets u traffic. it dont really and it gets u tarnished a might bit.
    this “People of the Eye” blog is way off the Deafread grid and has mucho more traffic than it would if it was hanging out amongst the likes of that yellow press stuff

    – u dont have to have blog entries and comments that bash others to generate clicks. yes i know i did use some sass and i know some folks do visit just to see if a cat fight is gonna ensue but by and large folks are coming for knowledge and information and truths and inquiry and love

    – all my setting of the tone of no bashing and i love these folks – i truly do – does reduce some comments – is a deterrent for the folks who want to lash out and that is a good thing me think. folks on both ends of the rainbow rhetoric know that bashing and falsehoods are not welcomed here where as in other spaces they are actually encouraged and rewarded

    – the visits are due to folks caring about the topic and about our commUNITY and about love and about justice

    we get high traffic on the other blog entries too. higher than if we were being carried at Deafread cuz the appetite is not for harshness but rather for truth here at the “People” place

    so life is good folks and take a bow for being a good part of it and for contributing to the greater good

    and re: the non-dr and his sinking titanic – projection me friends projection (yep dont send me those links neither – i get no pleasure out of watching their credibility sink lower and lower to the point of no return. me hand is still out but they may be too far sunk now)

    let ’em row row row their boat up the denial river

    some folks just gotta learn the hard way

    and love them…from a far, folks – no feeding the trolls or the stinking-sinking-thinking (its a verb or adjective??? folks not a noun – i aint calling them deficit thinkers but i might call them flat earthers just in fun and cuz a rose by any other name ; )

    just kindle the fire and spread the love

    links to truths, love and goodness – always welcome here

    thanks again all



  118. Trackback: why do we bother? cuz linguicism and audism r not cool « PEOPLE OF THE EYE -…first, last, and all the time” – g. veditz 1910

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