Friday, April 25, 2008

ASL-only issue

American Sign Language(ASL)is a language used by the Deaf culture and there are so many people using ASL today that ASL is probably the fourth most commonly used language in the United States. Within the Deaf community, there have been talk about having "ASL-only" community (online or in person). "ASL-only" cannot be done in the United States because the United State's primary language is English.

We can't have this "ASL only" because we can't say "whites only" in the United States. America is a multi-culture society and we have the honor to live in a multi-culture society. There is no "me-only" society. Today the United States of America is a diverse and multi-cultural country as result of mass scale immigration from so many countries throughout America's over 200 years history.

The first immigrations were the Pilgrims who brought the British culture, due to colonial ties with the British that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances. Which is why we have English as our primary language. Later, worthy influences came from other parts of Europe, especially countries from which large numbers immigrated such as Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Italy. Again, later over the years, other immigrants moved in.

We have to remember the first pre-America culture was the Indians, the Native Americans. They had their own language.

Cultures are important but no cultures are more important than any other cultures. All cultures are equal. There is NO 'me' only society therefore there is no "ASL-Only" Deaf society. There are many hearing-impaired and deaf individuals do not always use ASL because in order to live in the United States and make money, we are to speak other languages like English.

There were once a group called "English-only movement" but it was not successful. We cannot control other people's language and they have the freedom to speak their own language in this country. In 1803, as a result of the Louisiana Purchase, the United States acquired French-speaking populations in Louisiana. Also, after the Mexican-American War, the United States acquired about 75,000 Spanish speakers in addition to several indigenous language-speaking populations. During World War I, there was a widespread campaign against the use of the German language in the U.S.

Linguist Geoffrey Pullum, in an essay entitled "Here come the linguistic fascists" charges English First with "hatred and suspicion of aliens and immigrants" and points out that English is far from under threat in the United States, saying "making English the official language of the United States of America is about as urgently called for as making hotdogs the official food at baseball games." Since the very first immigrants were from England, all the official documents in the U.S. are written in English, the United States federal government does not explicitly specify an official language. However, English is an official language in many States around America


Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues said...

I think you misunderstood somebody. I never heard about someone wanting ASL only without English.

Where is the evidence? Who said it?

Please don't spread misinformation.

Shel90 said...

I question is why do AGBAD and other oral-only organizations insist on English-only. It seems like these organizations and people who support them have that "only-me" attitudes.

I understand the value of mastering English. However, ASL should be valued just as well since it fully accessible to deaf people unlike spoken English.

DBC said...

There is no such thing as "ASL Only Deaf"

All Deaf people know English and those that also know ASL are bilingual.

John Egbert

james said...

Hey great stuff pal!!
I agree with the stuff,
There cannot be "only me" in america.Instead we can help spreading how to use ASL.
his will help a lot to improve the well being of humanity,

lisa said...

I enjoyed this post. I think that if we embrace our different cultures, we can learn so much without speaking someone else's language. Don't you think!

Karen Mayes said...

Ahhh... I like the way you think. Yeah, I keep seeing that many of us forget in that we live in an English-speaking society. I do notice that DeafRead caters mostly to the extremes and a few moderates, like you. Well, things will change in a few weeks, and I am disappointed to see segregation occuring (ya know, segregation is a form of oppression.)

whimsical brainpan said...

Great post!