Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
American Sign Language
American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual-gestural language that is used by most of the deaf community in the United States and in Canada. ASL is a natural language with a structure quite different from spoken English. It is not a manual-gestural representation of spoken English, nor is it pantomime. Instead, ASL is a full language, with all of the properties of spoken natural languages, but one that has developed independently of and differently from English. Embraced by both reformers and dissenters in deaf education, the role of ASL in the education of deaf students has been characterized by conflict and controversy. This situation has existed throughout the history of deaf education in America. The formal education of deaf students in America began in 1817 with the establishment of the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. The mode of instruction was Signed English, and it was an attempt ...