The following is a video I made several months ago. I decided to post it under the "ASL Vlogs" tab, and the following is a translation in English.
I’m curious... has anyone in this group seen the book ASL Write? I think that’s the name... well the website is si5s.org. A Deaf man invented a writing system that matches ASL. I checked out the website, and it was pretty cool.
I work in deaf ed, so I approached my boss and showed her the website. She looked it over and agreed that the school should order the book. I’m still waiting for it to arrive. My plan/goal is to read through all of it when it gets here. I want to know if it really matches up with ASL.
If it does, I want to know if other Deaf people have looked it over or if any of you have. My gut feeling is that it’s truly important for deaf education to have an ASL writing system. Currently Deaf around the world have no writing system and kids don’t know of one. But if they knew, if they could learn it, then wow... ASL, signed language, that would feel more, really - no, that’s the wrong sign - LEGITIMATE.
The proof would be right there. Just like with spoken language, English speaking and writing, Spanish speaking and writing, German speaking - and well, writing, and signing and writing... they would be equal. I feel that would be a good self-esteem booster for Deaf people. That would be one thing. The second thing would be more media access through writing. It would be possible for them.
Let me think of other things. Well really, I know that in American deaf education, there’s a huge focus on learning to read and write English. It’s important, but English is really a second language for Deaf people and not the first one. So, I know some Deaf people who have spot on English reading and writing skills, but most that I know, whether they are children or adults, reading and writing skills in English are shaky at best. So my thought is that if Deaf people have a writing system of their own that matches ASL, well wow... they would have a fully accessible writing system. For Deaf people, there’s limited to no access to spoken language, and therefore access to its writing system is limited to none, as well.
It makes me feel like this - how can we expect them to learn to read and write a language without full access to it? But writing in ASL would provide full access. That means that learning to write a fully accessible language first would allow skills to be transferred to the second written language, and wouldn’t that mean more successful results for the second one?
My theory is yes, if there is a strong foundation in reading and writing ASL, then there would be an improvement in reading and writing English, too. They would both benefit. What do you guys think?