Signing Naturally: Student Workbook Units 1-6 eBook & All Videos from DVDs
The Signing Naturally Units 1-6 Student Workbook and DVDs are designed to complement coursework in American Sign Language (ASL). These introductory materials. along with class instruction. give you basic vocabulary, grammar. and expressive practice to develop your everyday conversational skills in ASL.
This introduction will cover information about what to expect in the classroom. provide brief information about ASL. Deaf Culture. and the Deaf community. review the materials. and tell you how to prepare for class.
You’re Taldng an ASL Class!
Since you’ve enrolled in this course. you probably already have an interest in ASL. Maybe you’ve seen an interpreter at a performance or in a classroom. Or you’ve met a Deaf person. have a Deaf family member, friend, or neighbor. Now that you’ve decided to learn ASL. be prepared to open your mind to a new language and culture.
Human communication is really a set of symbols (this applies to signs. sounds and printed pictures or words) that users agree to have the same meaning. For ASL. an obvious difference from spoken language is the modality. which for ASL is visual and gestural. Students of ASL can expect to acquire many insights. not only into the universal aspects common to all languages. but also specific information that is found in studying ASL and learning about its community of users.
A Brief History of ASL
For over 250 years. ASL has evolved in the U.S. and Canada as the means for Deaf people to express and share their ideas. needs and thoughts. Although it is primarily Deaf people who use ASL, hearing people around them acquire and use the language also. They are children born to Deaf parents. siblings of Deaf children. other family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, supervisors, or employees of Deaf people. Since the mid-1960s when linguists recognized ASL as a distinct language (something that was true all along, but only “discovered in the 1960s). a growing number of hearing people have elected to learn ASL in major colleges. universities. and high schools throughout the country.
The origins of ASL can be traced to a couple of major historical influences. There is evidence that in the 1600s some of the inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod had a genetic pool that resulted in a large number of Deaf people in the community. This in turn resulted in naturally formed signing communities on the island. Likewise. on the mainland. various indigenous signs were used where Deaf people were members of villages. These regional sign languages were brought by the students to the first school for the Deaf founded in Hartford. Connecticut, in 1817.
The second major influence was French Sign Language, brought by the school’s founders. Laurent Clerc, a Deaf teacher from France, and Thomas Gallaudet. a hearing American minister. The blending of the indigenous sign
language and French sign language formed the basis for ASL today.
Similar to other language minority groups within the U.S .. it is common for the native language to be acquired within the family. This process is true for only 8-10% of Deaf children who are born into families with Deaf members. A larger percentage of Deaf children. around 70%. are raised in hearing families that do not sign. The remaining 20% of Deaf children have hearing families who use ASL and embrace Deaf culture. For Deaf children. the Deaf residential school has been the primary venue for learning ASL. The constant exposure to signing Deaf peers, Deaf teachers, and dorm counselors has made it possible for the children to develop fluency in the language. For Deaf children. the Deaf residential school has been a primary venue for learning ASL. The constant exposure to signing Deaf peers, Deaf teachers. and dorm counselors have made it possible for the children to develop fluency in the language.
Bilingual Education and Oralism The early 19th century saw ASL flourish through residential schools. which had immense success in Deaf education utilizing ASL and written English. Gallaudet University was founded in 18 64 with a charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Gallaudet University was (and still is) a bastion for using signing in higher education as well as contributing to the standardization of ASL among Deaf people in other states where many graduates returned home to teach.
From there, highly evolved Deaf signing communities formed complex networks all across the country. The communities maintained constant contact through organized sports. conferences. social and political events. and the arts.
However, a pivotal moment in ASL and Deaf America’s history occurred in 1880, with repercussions that are still being felt today. At the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf Conference in Milan, Italy, educators who supported oral instruction for Dear students successfully blocked the influence of educators supporting Sign language. Congress voted in favor of oral education for all Deaf children. In a span of 40 years following the conference, the percentage of Deaf children being taught by the oral method grew from a very small percentage to an astounding 8%. Before that. Deaf teachers constituted 45% of all teachers of the Deaf, but that figure went down to only 11 %. In many parts of Europe, Deaf teachers were dismissed because they were unable to teach speech. The oral approach to Deaf education became a contentious issue for the next century and a half, reflecting the broader society’s misplaced belief that spoken language is superior to sign language.
Fortunately, during that time, Deaf children lived most of the year at schools. Despite not understanding much of what went on in the classroom. after school. in the dormitory and on the playing fields, ASL was still used to exchange information, share understandings, and learn other life lessons. Generally, at best. ASL was tolerated by the staff in the dormitories. This approach (banning signing in the classroom, and tolerating it outside the classroom) took its toll on the general Deaf community. Deaf people’s perception of ASL and themselves as capable human beings diminished drastically. Confidence and pride waned as the quality of education declined for Deaf people. What carried them through those years was the ability to continue networking with each other at the Deaf clubs. Gallaudet University, and other social events.
In the 1960s and Omvard
In the 1960s, linguists at Gallaudet University proved that ASL is a fully developed independent language unrelated to English. From there, a resurgence of the positive view of ASL and Deaf culture empowered Deaf people to reclaim control of the institutions that impact their lives. In 1988, when the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet University selected a hearing president who didn’t know ASL, the students staged a weeklong protest and succeeded in appointing the first Deaf president of the university.
Interestingly, while Deaf people have struggled for decades to bring ASL back to the classroom as the language of instruction in Deaf education, ASL enjoys tremendous popularity among hearing parents and their babies. Literature shows that learning signs early in infancy has a positive effect on general language development and enhances the parent-child relationship. Studies further show that signing babies understand more words. have a larger vocabulary and engage in more sophisticated play than non-signing babies. Yet the language has not been systematically made available to many Deaf babies.
Issues surrounding ASL and Deaf education continue to be contentious. but the resiliency of ASL in the face of many obstacles is a testament to its value in meeting the powerful human need for communication.
A Brief Introduction to Deaf Culture
There are two popular uses of the word culture. One means to have a sophisticated taste or to be well-read. appreciate art, literature, cuisine-to be cultured. The other use of culture relates to the unique attributes of a certain group of people. Various groups of people develop distinctive ways of describing. valuing. and behaving in the world. This is their culture. Anthropologists have been formally studying world cultures for years. and mindful people have been pondering and examining culture as long as human societies have existed. Yet. having a deep understanding of culture still can be elusive.
One way of understanding a culture is to look at how the members identify themselves. Over the years different terms have been used to refer to Deaf people. Some older terms are considered offensive today and should not be used, especially “deaf and dumb” and “deaf-mute.” The terms “hearing impaired,” “deaf and hard of hearing,” or “people with hearing loss” have been used by public institutions. political groups. and some individuals, as an attempt to be inclusive. but those terms focus on what is perceived as lacking or lost. The term “Deaf” with a capital “D” is an inclusive term because it focuses on what people llave-a-living culture. an available language. and the infinite, untapped possibilities being Deaf can offer.
People within Deaf culture value being kept informed about the environment, the community, and its members. Since the majority culture’s primary ways of disseminating information are not visually centered, Deaf people are expected to have a sense of social obligation and duty to others within Deaf culture. This includes sharing information and offering updates on what is going on in the Deaf world as well as the broader world.
In fulfilling this duty to the group, one tends to develop long-term relationships and complex networking systems. Similar to more than 70% of cultures in the world (many found in Africa. Asia and Latin America), in Deaf culture, the group comes before the individual. Although the Deaf community recognizes individual achievements and talents, contributing to the group’s success is very highly valued. This is different than in American culture where great emphasis is placed on independence, self-reliance, achievement, and individual success.
One visible cultural behavior among Deaf signers is how their eyes are used during signed interactions. For example, while watching another person sign. they would focus on the signer’s face while reading the signs within their peripheral vision. This is to get valuable information about the grammar of the sentence which is shown simultaneously on the face.
Another visible cultural behavior among Deaf signers is how they get other people’s attention. Examples are waving in others’ peripheral vision, tapping on certain parts of the body, and/or hitting a surface to create vibrations.
Yet another visible cultural behavior is how Deaf people locate themselves and move among people in signing situations. For example, if a path is blocked by two signers conversing. the Deaf person does not wait until the signers stop talking, bend down to pass. or find another path, but just walks through.
It’s considered rude when one watches a signed conversation in public and not inform the signers you know ASL. Additionally. a person who knows ASL and chooses to speak without signing in front of Deaf people can be considered disrespectful and insensitive to Deaf people.
Throughout this ebook, there are examples of cultural behavior typical in the Deaf community. Since the concept of culture is complex. it may take time and personal experience to identify the distinctive qualities of Deaf culture and more fully understand them. Until you have more exposure to and connection with Deaf culture. it is best to have an open mind. be respectful. and enjoy the uniqueness of Deaf culture and the challenge and fun of using ASL.
Debunking Some Myths about ASL
Probably the most important myth to debunk is that ASL is not a visual code for English, written or spoken. The differences are significant. ASL and English use different modalities (visual/gesture/ as opposed to aural/oral). and have different phonology and grammar. For new students. it is important to avoid reliance on English syntax and usage while signing. since this will result in poor command of ASL.
Another common myth to debunk is that ASL is a language of pictures and pantomime. If true. nobody would have problems understanding ASL! Although some signs in ASL appear to have features similar to actual things or actions. most ASL signs do not.
Another myth to debunk is that ASL is a universal language understood by all signers in the world. In fact. there are hundreds of identified sign languages in the world. most of them developed indigenously by Deaf people in their countries.
What to Expect in the Classroom
All communication in the classroom will be in ASL. This approach. which immerses you in the language. is the best way to become comfortable with the language. retain what you’ve learned. and improve both your receptive and expressive skills.
There are no English equivalents in this workbook. That means. while there are some signs that have a brief description in English to help you grasp the meaning. avoid “assigning” the meaning of an English word to an ASL sign. Many ASL signs simply arc not directly translatable to English words. So if you develop a habit of seeing ASL signs and doing a mental run-through of English. you will often make wrong sign choices. ASL signs are best learned through use and context.
Often students are tempted to hold on to the crutch of English by speaking while signing. This is not a good idea. Trying to speak and sign results in bad ASL syntax and grammar. The faster you can develop a complete reliance on ASL only when signing. the more quickly you will progress.
The classroom most likely will be set up so all students sit in a semi-circle so that everyone can see each other. Visually based language relies on people being able to see each other to see what is being signed. Watching every conversation. sign. and exchange will benefit your own language skills.
Signing Naturally Units 1-6 is that the first part during a series of curricular materials for the instruction of yank signing (ASL) as a second language. The goal is to require students with little or no knowledge of ASL and Deaf Culture and supply them with the talents needed to speak comfortably during a big variety of situations within the Deaf community. Cultural information taught throughout class allows students to interact with the Deaf community in a way that’s respectful and aware.
Signing Naturally Units 1-6 curriculum’s first and foremost goal of teaching is to bring an individual unable to speak in ASL to a basic level of communicative competency. The curriculum and therefore the lessons are designed to assist the category and the program meet the five areas of Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities outlined by ACTFL. Click here to ascertain how Signing Naturally Units 1-6 match up with the 5 C’s!
Units 1-5 comprise several sorts of lessons: conversational (functional), skill-building, cultural, and review. Conversation (function) lessons introduce vocabulary and key grammar structures in the context of key dialogues. Skill lessons specialize in introducing numbers, fingerspelling, spatial elements, and other supporting skills. Cultural lessons specialize in behaviors that enable students to act in linguistically and socially acceptable ways. Unit 6 focuses on building narrative skills to organize students to inform a story from their childhood.
Features include homework for an out-of-class study that corresponds to classroom lessons. A topic index allows students to find specific parts of their homework that include key vocabulary and grammar. Culture notes and bios of amazing Deaf people increase students’ understanding of the Deaf World.
Seven and a half hours of video on the DVDs feature 12 diverse native signers modeling clear American Sign Language. Signing is paced for new learners. DVD functions also allow students to answer questions before moving on. 12-month Video Library access included with the purchase of every set!
Signing Naturally is one of the most widely used ASL curriculums throughout the United States and Canada. And now you can see for yourself, Signing Naturally Units 1-6 is truly the BEST Made Better!
SIGNING NATURALLY Table of Contents
UN IT 1 Introducing Oneself.
UN IT 2 Exchanging Personal Information
UNIT 3 Discussing Living Situations
UNIT 4 Talking about Family
UNIT 5 Telling about Activities
UNIT 6 Storytelling
Reviews about ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6:
- Ainsley: it was amazing.
This newer (2008) version of Signing Naturally Units 1-6 is AMAZING!! If you want to learn American Sign Language, buy this ebook/DVD set. It’s masterfully and thoughtfully compiled to teach nearly 1000 signs in six units. Signing Naturally was the text for my ASL 101 class this semester. I was consistently impressed with how well the ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6 and DVDs were integrated, and how expertly the DVDs utilized technology to facilitate the practice of a signed language. It’s fast-paced, but the ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6 is very accessible. The DVDs make it possible to go over a section, a story, or a particular sign again and again. The sections on Deaf history and culture are informative and extremely helpful in understanding the community. My husband took this same class some years ago with an earlier version of the ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6 and says the difference is night and day. Be warned, if you’re using this ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6 to self-teach, that some of the signs used are local to California. My New York-bred Deaf professor (who now lives in Maine) often complained about that and corrected signs that she thought were from a West Coast dialect. Of course, that’s to be expected–ASL, like English, has its own regional variations–but to a beginning signer I wanted to learn the “right” way. Also, sometimes later in the ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6, they introduce “new vocabulary” that is actually very basic and does not introduce some signs that genuinely are new. I am already bracing myself for disappointment next semester, since the following Signing Naturally book has not been re-released and is dozens of years old. :(This one, however, is a keeper. I expect to return to it as a language resource for years to come.
This was the required text for ASL I and II. I had no knowledge of ASL prior to ASL I and, after units 1-3 of the ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6, feel confident about what I have learned thus far. I had a difficult time navigating the DVD and found that using it on my pc was much easier since I was able to see the chapters more clearly. I would recommend using this ebook Signing Naturally Units 1-6 along with a signing dictionary. I paired mine with The Joy of Signing by Riekehof which is an illustrated guide to Sign Language.
- Kelsey Campbell:
Yous Signing Naturally Units 1-6 ebook is a great way to learn American Sign Language! The DVDs that were in the textbook were extremely helpful and were even entertaining.
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