Society for

American Sign Language

Editor's Commentary


SASLJ Unveiled: A New Frontier  ......................................................................................  4-6

Jody H. Cripps                                                                                                                      

                  

Featured Manuscripts


​American Sign Language: Access, Benefits, and Quality  ........................................................  7-34

Russell S. Rosen                                                                                                                    


Abstract: While American Sign Language (ASL) is taught as a bona fide language in general education and used as the language of instruction in schools and programs for the deaf, several issues remain regarding the access to, benefits of, and quality of ASL as a language. This article provides an overview of sign language education, reviews studies on the benefits of using ASL as a language for deaf and hearing learners, and discusses current pedagogical and intervention issues. This is followed by discussion on ideas and options to increase access, benefits and quality assurance for ASL in American society.


​A Sketch on Reading Methodology for Deaf Children  ...........................................................  35-55

Samuel J. Supalla                                                                                                                 


​Abstract: A well-established reading methodology is much needed in the field of deaf education. While the concept of signed language reading is intriguing and underappreciated, it has some of the clearest implications for how to teach reading to deaf children. This paper begins by covering historical attempts to have deaf children learn to read in signed language. The distinction between signed language reading and spoken language reading is part of the paper’s creation of a cohesive theoretical basis outlining best reading instruction practices. A key element of the discussion is how deaf children find text readable when it represents the language that they know, American Sign Language (ASL). This includes utilizing glossing as an intermediary system and reading methodology which enable deaf children to experience a transition to English literacy, all the while learning to read in ASL. Some indications of signed language reading (associated with glossing) are laid out through a review of published research reports. Deaf children in a charter school setting are highlighted in a variety of reading behaviors resembling hearing learners in early elementary school years. Signed language reading incorporates parallel concepts such as sounds, phonics, phonemic awareness, reading-aloud, and sounding out. The paper’s emphasis on the liberal application of key concepts for reading processes produces a scenario where deafness may no longer serve as a barrier to reading.


​American Sign Language Literature: Some Considerations for Legitimacy and Quality Issues  ...........  56-77

Andrew P. J. Byrne                                                                                                                

Abstract:  American Sign Language (ASL) literature is a recent phenomenon in the American and Canadian academic landscape and constitutes an important component for the field of ASL and Deaf Studies. There are a number of pressing issues that have not been addressed until now. These include: how to respond to the status of ASL as a non-written language, various definitions for ASL literature, a large number of literary works translated from English to ASL, and the confusion associated with some works being produced by the deaf community as opposed to those by individual performers. This paper represents an attempt to address these issues. The four main objectives of this paper are: (1) to validate the relationship between oral literature and ASL literature; (2) to provide a comprehensive definition for ASL literature; (3) to promote the value of originality as compared to translation; and (4) to create a taxonomy of ASL literary genres. Substantial information and some research data is presented which comes from the author’s doctoral dissertation, completed in 2013. A comprehensive definition of ASL literature is expected to help maintain the legitimacy and quality of the literary language of the deaf community. The author has been involved in the creation of a collection of ASL literary works, which provides a much-needed basis for research and scholarship. The general knowledge of ASL literature through the familiarity with works listed in the collection will help create a canon of ASL literature.


Understanding Signed Music  .......................................................................................  78-95

Jody H. Cripps and Ely Lyonblum                                                                                            


Abstract: The existence of music performances rooted in American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture indicates that music is not exclusive to the audible domain. Terminologies such as “deaf music” and “visual music” as used in the literature are subject to discussion and clarification. Theory, roles of language, culture, and music and their relationships to each other become important for exploratory investigation regarding what music means to deaf people. As a result, signed music is the term deemed most appropriate to define the original lyric and/or non-lyric musical performances done by native deaf signers. This is different from English-to-ASL translation of songs that may be a common practice at present. Unlike translated songs, signed music performances are originally developed within the signed modality. Signed music frequently includes deaf experiences and is fully accessible. A review of a study on the work of two deaf performers demonstrates how signed music constitutes a unique form of performance art, yet shares elements that are common to music in general. This paper is intended to generate a greater interest among scholars and researchers on the topic of signed music, and expand the scope of signed language performance art.



Review


Is Silence Music to the Eye? A Review of Signed Music: A Symphonious Odyssey ...........................  96-99

Lisalee D. Egbert​​