Tag Archives: asl

Our Latest Book! Day One: Learning American Sign Language in 24 Hours

Our second American Sign Language book published in three weeks — Day One: Learning American Sign Language in 24 Hours written by Janna Sweenie and David Boles — is now available for purchase online as an eBook. You may read the book online, on your smartphone, tablet, computer or Kindle! You also get 150 free HD ASL videos for use with the book!  We invite you to join us in our ongoing effort to help propagate American Sign Language as a proper foreign language!

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Buy Our Book! American Sign Language Level 5: A Field Guide for Advanced Communication Techniques for People with Other Disabilities

Janna and I are pleased to announce our latest book is now available for purchase from Amazon — American Sign Language Level 5: A Field Guide for Advanced Communication Techniques for People with Other Disabilities written by David Boles, M.F.A. and Janna Sweenie, M.A. — yes, it’s an eyeful of a title, but that sort of specificity is necessary for this sort sort of real life ASL field guide.

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Total Failure of the ASL-Only “Switched at Birth” Episode on ABC Family

Last night was supposed to be the premier of the penultimate “American Sign Language Only” episode of ABC Family Channel’s teenage soap opera, “Switched at Birth.”  Janna and I urged our ASL students to watch the episode because we believed the hype and the PR that this would be an episode to remember.  It was not.  The show was a tremendous disappointment and I’ll tell you why.

The one bright spot in the show was this “Deaf Power” banner that struck a long-ago memory in Janna when one of her teachers at the Iowa School for the Deaf said that action was forbidden on campus because it was was rude and disrespectful.  For Janna to see one hand covering an ear and the other hand raised in a fist filled her with both terrible regret at believing a repressive Hearing teacher, and terrific pride that, in the end, the Deaf will own their own place in the world.

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How Baby Signs Infantilized American Sign Language

Five years or so ago, the Baby Signs movement was in full bowel, with mommies everywhere clamoring to get their babies “signing” their first words instead of verbalizing sounds.  “Baby Signs,” the theory still goes today, “is a prime key to early intellectualization and language acquisition for babies.”  The problem with that notion is that Baby Signs do not teach a language — Baby Signs only destroys an established language by infantilization and misuse and ego projection — and I’ve never seen any convincing, quantifiable, evidence that Baby Signs actually does a baby any good.  Oh, Baby Signing is great for mommy because it makes her feel fulfilled and that she’s given birth to a genius-child-by-inference using imagined visual glossing, but Baby Signs does nothing significant at all for the baby because the intention is to never actually teach the baby American Sign Language.  The intention of Baby Signs is to improperly use ASL HandShapes out of context to bridge the baby into spoken English.

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What's in a Deaf Sign Name? Hunter and his Gun!

The last week of August caught a firestorm in the Grand Island, Nebraska Public Schools system as administrators scrambled to recover from banning a three-year-old Deaf child named Hunter Spanjer from using his sign name because his fingers “looked too much like a gun” — and any sort of suggestion of a gun, even as a sign name, is verboten.

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