Essays on American Sign Language by Baker-Shenk, Charlotte L and Dennis Cokely Article

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The paper "American Sign Language by Baker-Shenk, Charlotte L. and Dennis Cokely" is a delightful example of an article on education. The articles revolve around discussing the importance of language in conveying important information, particularly messages, in various forms like spoken words, writing, and most importantly, hand signals. But what is more crucial is how a language is converted into a “ tool” or a “ mean” through which information can be delivered to the addressee accurately. This is particularly critical in that interpretations can vary extensively even when messages are still being conveyed through words, so how much more if physical signs and symbols are the only instruments to carry out a communication process.

In the article, there is a strong assertion of words to contain “ symbols and grammatical signals” (31) that stand for something else. Since deaf people only rely on symbols, there is a certain degree of precision required in transporting a message from a normal person to a deaf person. But, much concern should be placed upon the limitedness of variations in hand signals. Unlike words that could subtly be interpreted inside the mind, sign languages need to be represented by a hand signal, which could overlap other hand signals.

Considering the fact that deaf people only depend on hand signals, it is fair to infer that there is a much lower level of emotion involved in their communication. Emotions are best expressed using spoken language. But, deaf people are only afforded to construe what they can “ see” ; nothing beyond it i. e. feelings or sensations. In other words, they are isolated within the realms of visual communication and perception.

For instance, in delivering a eulogy or a sad dialogue, they are only served with the basic information; about what the speaker is talking about. Perhaps, the biggest challenge for ASL is to come up with an innovative hand signaling method that consolidates both emotion and meaning.

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