American Sign Language---query

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Apr 12 22:40:08 UTC 2005

Recent opinion has been strong that ASL is indeed a natural language, but I believe that claim has now been challenged, at least to some extent.


"Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at UMR.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard"
Subject: American Sign Language---query

First, thanx for the responses on XX; very helpful. Here's another issue that just came up today: Is American Sign Language (ASL) really a "complete and natural language" as, e.g. the U of Minnesota says, or is it merely the signing skills (however valuable) with which to communicate a natural language?
My campus' administration has turned to the Foreign Language section for insight on this matter, and I know virtually nothing about sign language.
I assume ASL is *not* a natural language but am open to persuasion on this point.
This all has to do with whether my campus should offer foreign-language credit for ASL, or perhaps something else like free-elective credit
Any thoughts on this would be very welcome.

Gerald Cohen
University of Missouri-Rolla

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