Monday, April 19, 2010

Is ASL a Modern or Minority Language?

The Chicago Tribune newspaper recently published an article - "Is ASL a Foreign Language?" DeafPundit.,0,2337497.story

Should we get the society at large to see the American Sign Language as the modern or minority or community language?

From my past 2006 blog posting which I urge the Deaf America to embrace the ASL as a modern or minority language, instead of defining it as a foreign language. (Blogger's note - I could not possibly find my previous blog posting which urge the Deaf America to consider the federal legislation to designate the protection of ASL as a minority and community language. That blog posting disappeared into thin air or not cached in any way. *stratch head*

I only found some remaining comments of mine -

RLM said...
Anonymous, Learning ASL is more approriately called "minority language", Minority-speaking populace's language in other countries would be not seen as some kind of foreign language. ASL should be embraced as a "minority language" used by the deaf Americans, Canadians and other nationalities. That is my own personal opinion. RLM
May 22, 2008 8:44 PM

I think that is the time for us to get the U.S. Congress to recognize the American Sign Language as a minority and community language thru formal terms with the legislation to protect our beloved language That is pretty overdue by the year of 2010! I urge the Deaf America back in 2006!

Kinda puzzled why the Chicago Tribune said that the use of ASL was ranked the fourth language usage in the United States, not the third common language usage among the Americans.

The interesting revelation of the questionable statistical verification about the American Sign Language being widely known as the third-ranked language usage in the United States from Gallaudet University's Research Institute -

ASLize yours,

Robert L. Mason (RLM)


  1. Modern and minority language fits. Foreign language too, since it is not English. The important thing is that Hearing have to learn to understand that ASL is a language and a BIRTHRIGHT for us, not just an "accommodation" that we use because we are Deaf.

  2. Don G,

    Well-said! I somewhat disagree with the definition of ASL as a foreign language.

    That would clearly confuse Americans more why our language should be called "foreign language".

    I am sure that you are much aware of the past xenophobia and societial prejudices against the racial diversity and pluralistic society, especially multi-lingual speaking populace.

    Define the ASL as a modern or community or minority language will surely convince the American society to embrace it as a more acceptable language.


  3. Sign is always a minority language, current BSL is modern, it is less than 15 -20 years old. I think deaf prefer minority status for sign, it carries more kudos in acceptance terms, it's the sympathy card !