About Me

My name is Grace Crozier, my student number at York St John is 209041813. I live in Whitley Bay and I have 2 dogs and a brother and a sister. I live with my mum and my stepdad.

What is the history of ASL?

There is no record of ASL starting before 1814. ASL was formed with the help of Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. Clerc was Deaf and he came from France and he agreed to come back to the USA with Gallaudet to establish a school for the Deaf in America, the school was established in Hartford, Connecticut and is now know as the American School for the Deaf.

Gallaudet work in helping establish the school for the Deaf in America was really crucial in helping form what would become ASL. ASL was formed from signs that the Deaf students who attended the school in Connecticut brought from home as well as signs from French Sign Language as well. To this day the USA is the only country to have a fully Deaf university. The university is in Washington D.C and is named after Gallaudet.

YouTube, 2016. The Story of ASL.

Deaf art in the USA

There seems to be a stronger and more defined Deaf art culture in America as compared to the UK. This is perhaps highlighted by the comparison of the following two artists.

This painting is called Ameslan Prohibited (1972) by Betty Miller
Google, 1972. Ameslan Prohibited. [image].

This picture depicts two shackled hands with chopped off fingers. It is a piece of resistance art, which encouraged American Deaf people to reveal their own childhood experiences of discrimination through art.

This painting is called America by Chuck Baird
Google, n.d. America. [image].

The stripes of the US flag can be seen incorporated into the ASL sign for America. This is seen as affirming image of the rich lives that deaf people enjoy.

Both Betty Miller and Chuck Baird are part of De’VIA which stands for Deaf View Image Art. The difference is that they are on different sides when it comes to paintings for De’VIA. Betty Miller is about resistance where as Chuck Baird is about positivity and empowerment. Both types of De’VIA are created when Deaf artists want to express their Deaf identity and experience through there art. Baird’s work particularly demonstrates one of the norms of Deaf American Culture, that of having a positive attitude towards deafness.

What are the differences between ASL and BSL?

The most obvious difference between ASL and BSL is that they are two completely different languages. American Sign Language was formed thanks to a deaf French person named Thomas Gallaudet was brought to America found the first deaf school in the USA. British Sign Language is different in so many ways to American Sign Language-and in many ways the way that the two countries handle their Sign Languages is really different.

In America there are only 10 states that officially recognise ASL as the official language of the deaf people in that states. They are Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah. The other 40 states in the USA recognise ASL as a foreign language that students can get a credit for if they do it at school. (Nad.org. 2016. STATES THAT RECOGNIZE AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE. [online] Available at: <https://www.nad.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/List_States_Recognizing_ASL.pdf> [Accessed 13 May 2021]. )

This video gives a great indication on just how BSL and ASL really are and how difficult it would be for a British Deaf person to communicate with an American Deaf person
YouTube, 2019. Differences Between BSL and ASL [D’oh! I Made a Mistake!]. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYGIyKIH96I> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

The signing in this video really shows just how different these two languages really are, the alphabet especially in ASL. The alphabet and numbers in ASL are so completely different from BSL, for example the vowels in BSL are done using your thumb and four fingers and there is a lot of two hands work for the rest of the alphabet whereas the vowels in ASL and the rest of the alphabet is done with one had.

This image is of the ASL alphabet and it just show different it is from BSL
Google, n.d. pictures of the ASL alphabet. [image] Available at: <https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=v6%2BOAzcR&id=CF41E2E3E75A9484A60D7DB589FBBEA2B75F6F5D&thid=OIP.v6-OAzcRZ8hnL4RPvPGTswHaJk&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fqph.fs.quoracdn.net%2Fmain-qimg-bfaf8e03371167c8672f844fbcf193b3&cdnurl=https%3A%2F%2Fth.bing.com%2Fth%2Fid%2FRbfaf8e03371167c8672f844fbcf193b3%3Frik%3DXW9ft6K%252b%252b4m1fQ%26pid%3DImgRaw&exph=729&expw=564&q=differences+between+asl+and+bsl&simid=608038150820345608&ck=A0F77AFDA350893ED70E3E503ED2FEC7&selectedindex=2&form=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0&ajaxserp=0&vt=0&sim=11> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

Why American Deaf Culture?

I chose to do American Deaf Culture because I know a bit about the history of ASL but I don’t know anything about how Deaf Americans live their lives. I also know that ASL is a completely different language to BSL and so I want to find out if American Deaf Culture is really similar or really different to British Deaf Culture.

Rourke, N., n.d. ASL Thrives. [Oil on canvas].

American Deaf Culture fascinates me because whilst thinking about how I was going to compose this blog post I found a video on YouTube which was of a Deaf American Police Sergeant from Texas, I’m unsure whether there is any Deaf people in Britain so this was really interesting to me and I will definitely be looking into it further.

YouTube, 2019. #DeafSuccess Scott Daily Patrol Sergeant. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOnu2FhnbYI> [Accessed 13 March 2021].