Shakespeare in ASL

susan mssmith at BOONE.NET
Thu Jul 8 01:16:37 UTC 1999


The National (American) Theatre for the Deaf might be a good resource as in
answer to your inquiry about translation of dramatic works into American
Sign Language. They (the theatre company) are based in Denver I believe.
I have some experience performing Shakespeare with a couple of actors from
that company using a method called "shadow acting" It was a very powerful
and effective way to perform for both hearing and deaf audiences.
Hope this helps.
Take Care,
Susan Nelson
mssmith at boone.net

----------
> From: Scott or Pafra Catledge <scplc at COMMUNIQUE.NET>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Shakespeare in ASL
> Date: Tuesday, July 06, 1999 10:52 PM
>
> I would love to see documentation for some of these "careful studies,"
particularly any that have been published in juried language publications.
 I will not debate your assertion that principal linguistics groups would
never submit "resolutions based on politically correct positions (although
it gave me quite a chuckle); I will agree that no linguistics group to my
knowledge--or any other such group--has ever admitted taking a position
because it was politically correct although ASLHA came close when they
moved their national convention one winter from NOLA in a state that
licensed Audiologists and Speech/ Language Pathologists but that had not
ratified the ERA to Detroit in a state that had ratified ERA but that did
not license Audiologists and Speech/Language Pathologists "at the request
of many members."
>
> ----------
> > Fortunately such stuff is being very carefully researched (and I meant
to
> > raise no political issues, only to state a very well-agreed on
linguistic
> > commonplaces among linguists who have devoted their lives to ASL
research,
> > hardly anecdotal evidence, not would the principal lingusitics groups
in
> > the US submit resolutions based on anecdotal or politically correct
> > positions).
> >
> > To call ASL a dialect of French takes a little piece of historical
> > information and makes far too much of it. That is at every level
(phonetic,
> > phonological, morphological, not to mention syntactic and pragmatic)
more
> > than a little off base.  Morphological elements of ASL, for example,
> > pattern in a very different way from French morphology (of any
historical
> > period or variety). In addition, ASL phonetics and phonology are hardly
a
> > pretense, as many careful studies show.
> >
> > Applied linguistics, as always, is harder, since we may not have all
the
> > variables in hand, but the fact that ASL learners do so poorly (on some
> > tests) would seem to be about like suggesting that I would do poorly on
a
> > Chinese test. It's not my native language, and I have very little
control
> > over it. I would turn out to be lower than first grade. If you want to
know
> > someone's langauge proficiency, you must test them in the language they
> > know (not the one you think they should know, which does, at last, I
> > suppose admit some of the political fervor which surrounds much of this
> > debate).
> >
> >
> > dInIs
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > >In Deaf Ed classes, we studied the basics of ASL, Signed English, and
Signing
> > >Exact English.  Of these, only SEE morphology, but not even it made a
> > pretense
> > >of phonology,, much less phonetics.  All the languages studied had
syntax,
> > >semantics, and pragmatics, of course.  The morphology of ASL seems
more
> > >complex than English to the naive English learner because ASL is a
"dialect"
> > >from French, not English.  I have yet to hear an explanation of why
students
> > >who learn ASL are such low achievers when the few students who are
fortunate
> > >enough to learn SEE do as well as if not better than their hearing
> > classmates.
> > >Unfortunately, it is politically incorrect to research such a point,
and we
> > >are left with only anecdotes.
> > >
> > >----------
> > >> One can only hope that the gist of this does not lie in the
direction which
> > >> I first understood. ASL, of course, is a fully developed, complex
human
> > >> language (with a phonetics, phonology, morphology [much more complex
than
> > >> English], syntax, semantics, and pragamtics). The idea that it is
> > >> Tonto/Tarzan talk is simply a misunderstanding of the phrase "sign
> > >> language."
> > >>
> > >> Further, the idea that learning it (and becoming proficient in it)
would
> > >> "retard' one's ability to read and/or write English is unfounded
(similar,
> > >> in fact, to the popular notion that children's acquisition of a
second
> > >> language might retard their advancement in their first or, more
insidious,
> > >> that continued development in their first might retard their
acquisition of
> > >> a second, the apparent foundation of "English Only" and
anti-bilingual
> > >> education measures roundly condemned by every responsible
professional
> > >> linguistics organization (e.g., LSA, AAAL).
> > >>
> > >> dInIs
> > >>
> > >> PS: One nice thing (among many others) about being from the South
Midland
> > >> (i.e., Hillbilly) area is that nobody wants to translate Shakespeare
into
> > >> our variety, since the popular press has told us that us
shit-kickers
> > >> already speak Elizabethan English.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> >Just pretend that you are Tonto/Tarzan.  Why do you think that deaf
> > students
> > >> >graduate with an average achievement level of 3rd grade, as I was
told in
> > my
> > >> >graduate Deaf Ed classes at UNF.
> > >> >
> > >> >----------
> > >> >> Is anyone familiar with translation of dramatic works into
American Sign
> > >> >> Language?  I am assisting a dramatist who is in the process of
> > translating
> > >> >> _Twelfth Night_ into ASL and I am looking for works on
translation and
> > use
> > >> >> of ASL in drama.
> > >> >>
> > >> >> If you're interested, the website for this project can be found
at:
> > >> >>
> > >> >> www.yale.edu/asl12night
> > >>
> > >> Dennis R. Preston
> > >> Department of Linguistics and Languages
> > >> Michigan State University
> > >> East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
> > >> preston at pilot.msu.edu
> > >> Office: (517)353-0740
> > >> Fax: (517)432-2736
> >
> > Dennis R. Preston
> > Department of Linguistics and Languages
> > Michigan State University
> > East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
> > preston at pilot.msu.edu
> > Office: (517)353-0740
> > Fax: (517)432-2736
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