Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Update and a Call for Written ASL

It's been some time since I posted last. Life can keep you busy at times, and no one is immune. However, I did want to acknowledge that there will be very few book reviews until sometime in August, when the Global E-Book award winners are announced. Most, if not all, of my reading over the last few months have been ebook submissions on which I am judging. I am currently judging in the categories of poetry, short stories, horror fiction, and fantasy (set before the 1940's). I have read 8 submissions so far and working on the ninth. In a few more days any further entries will have been submitted, so who knows how many more there may be for me to read. The awards people have asked that no jusge posts a review of any kind until the award winners are announced. It's something I agree with because it could have an influence on other judges and therefore effect outcomes unfairly. Suffice to say that when August comes, there will be a plethora of reviews for me to post.

As far as my next book is concerned, it is coming along well. I have completed writing about one third of it and am plugging away. I think when the writing itself is done, it will be the editing that shall be the most painstaking and agonizingly long part of the process. I still hope to have it ready by sometime in the fall, and if not, by years end.

That's it for updates. One thing I have been thinking about lately is signed languages across the world, whether it's ASL, LSF, BSL, MSL, or any other signed language in the world. Historically, none of them have ever had a written form of the language. My personal opinion on the reason for why is this; they never had an opportunity to get to an academic level. As for today, many signed languages are being used at academic levels, but because of its larger society's use of spoken langauge, the theory is that if a deaf person does not learn to communicate and get by in a hearing world, their chances for success are dismal. Somehow in all of this, Deaf cultures across the world haven't really developed any system of writing based on their signed languages. I find this to be highly detrimental in helping deaf children to learn to read and write. They don't even have one of their own.

I have seen one developed based on ASL, but it has never really caught on within the Deaf community. I'm not entirely sure of the reasons for this, but I do believe one thing. Without an arbitrary system for reading and writing in ASL, deaf children in bilingual education are still at a disadvantage in learning their second language of written English. If ASL had a written format, then deaf children could learn it as we learn to read and write English. I think it's fair to say that if a child can read in one language, learning to read in another becomes exponentially easier to do. I could list a million examples of this to back it up, but I want to keep this relatively short.

I really want to stress how important it is for ASL to have a written form. Deaf people could argue that written ASL would be boring, especially in the technological age we are in right now. Ok, fine. But guess what? So are written versions of spoken languages. Is it any wonder why movies are so much more popular than books? Written language can still be beautiful however, and it seems to me that if ASL had a written version, more educators, doctors, and people in general would take American Sign Language more seriously. It would do much to further its legitimacy in the eyes of those who commit acts of Audism based on their notions of superiority. Why shouldn't Deaf people level the playing field a bit more? If American deaf children could read and write in their own language, and that led to improved literacy in English, I would think this would be a huge win-win for Deaf people, culture, and their community. I'm not speaking for Deaf people here, this is just my observation.

Should anyone wish to question this or have any opinion whatsoever about it, the comment box is open.

R. M.


  1. Have you seen the si5s version of written ASL yet? More info at and

  2. Just checked out the website. Is it all arbitrary symbols? I definitely need to find out more about how it works, for sure. Thanks for the link!