Linguistics and ASL

hoichi

Well-Known Member
Your wording in post # 226981 is as follows:

The way your sentence is written leads the audience (me) to think that the phrase "primarily for English majors" is a modifier for "hearing university". If you were implying that "primarily for English majors" modified "linguistics course", I would have rewritten the sentence as:
I have my doubts about ASL being discussed in a linguistics course primarily for English majors at a hearing university. ;)

You told me in this thread you were an English major, and that your linguistics course was focused on English and that you went to a hearing university.

hence my above sentence to you. as for how you would of wrote the sentence, you can write your sentences any damn way you want. all cool


However, this is getting off on grammar and structure and arguing semantics rather than the discussion at hand, which is about the comparison and contrast of ASL and English in the scope of linguistics.

Right. In a linguistics course you admit to being focused on English. again don't be so sure it will be brought up unless you bring it up. its actually not within the scope of a linguistics course focused on English. it may, but given the focus of the course i don't see really why it would

As well as the general discussion of the linguistics of ASL compared to other languages whether they are spoken or signed. Oh, the irony of it all!

where is the irony?

I was trying to say that NMMs are important. They also add meaning to signed and spoken languages. But because ASL is visual, NMMs have a very significant place within the language. A change in facial expression could be difference between asking a question and making a declarative statement. That is understood. I will admit that ASL is not my first language and I do not claim to know more than other people. I only know what I know. I am sometimes not good at explaining what I don't know very well and my original statement about NMMs is an example of that.

well again if you want the nitty gritty nuts and bolts of it. start with the linguistics of ASL. the first link i posted here for you. you only know what you know, hence the need to seek to know more.

However a comparison in spoken language is that a facial expression and tone can be used to differentiate sarcasm from a serious statement. Without those other peripheral details, the actual meaning of a statement may not be clear to its intended audience.

yes but it is not to the same extant or even to the same level of importance as NMM's are in ASL
 

Dixie

Farting Snowflakes
Premium Member
Here's something else - inflections. Latin is highly inflected. Modern English has only eight inflections, which are hold overs from Middle English.

Here's my next question: do you think ASL is highly inflective or not? Examples? I'm very curious to know.
 

flip

New Member
Here's something else - inflections. Latin is highly inflected. Modern English has only eight inflections, which are hold overs from Middle English.

Here's my next question: do you think ASL is highly inflective or not? Examples? I'm very curious to know.

Is localization a way to add inflection to words, like, by adding direction to signs?
Do repeating a sign to show plural count as inflections?
Is numberical incorporation inflections?
If the answer is yes, my guess is that ASL is a highly inflective language. It's at least typical for languages with less strict word order, like Latin, that they are very inflective.
 

tuatara

pro-water
Premium Member
Here's something else - inflections. Latin is highly inflected. Modern English has only eight inflections, which are hold overs from Middle English.

Here's my next question: do you think ASL is highly inflective or not? Examples? I'm very curious to know.

Massively so.

Think of how you sign "I'm sick". Then think of "I'm constantly sick" or "I get sick over and over again" - applying the original sign while using a circular motion. Or repeated motion. Also executing a sign with more force or speed to express intensity (very sick) - I'm sure there are lots more of that variety that just aren't popping into my head at the moment. It seems like signs are constantly getting morphed one way or another to adjust meaning.

That said, notions of a connection between ASL and Latin don't resonate with me. Fully visual languages are so radically different from spoken languages that these comparisons seem off-base to me. My sense is that certain attributes of natural signed languages are present *because* they are natural signed languages, without relation to any spoken language that was being used in the region where the signed language developed. Or a spoken language that influenced that spoken language, etc - even less so.
 

hoichi

Well-Known Member
have you tracked down the linguistics of ASL yet Dixie? it is available for a free pdf download online.
if you cared to look.
that book will aid you really far more then posting questions here, that said i appreciate your questions. do yourself a favor and track that treasure down.
as for me i don't really see much value in reaching for loose comparisons or correlations between ASL and hearie languages. Latin included. interesting sure but it misses the mark really
 

Audrey Arndt

New Member
Actually, ASL was born from a mixture of Old French Sign Language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language, and home sign. This language mixture is commonly pointed out when reading anything about the history of ASL. Since then, the language has evolved to become its own unique language so that if you were to go over to France and signed in ASL, no one would understand what you were talking about. Also, there is a large problem in comparing any aural-oral language to any visuo-gestural language in that the two language modalities are completely separate in how they are communicated. I highly suggest reading Karen Emmory's "Language, Cognition, and the Brain: Insights from Sign Language Research". It is a well-researched, thorough investigation of the differences and similarities between signed and spoken languages. It covers everything from linguistics (syntax, form, morphological perspectives, etc) to how the brain receives and processes aural-oral and visuo-gestural languages. The book also starts off talking about the Nicaraguan Sign Language Project, which is the genesis of a completely new language (there was no formal Deaf education or official sign language in Nicaragua until recent decades) that scientists have been studying since the 80s.

You will find similarities between ASL and English, but that distinction can be explained by a minority culture within a greater majority culture and influences shared between the two.


~ Audrey Arndt, hearing, ITP student
 
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