This is something that has been popping up more and more lately, and I really feel like I should address it on this page.
You may be wondering who I am to say these things. Well, I grew up hearing you’re right. I started learning ASL in 2010, and I have made many mistakes in the community. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s in 2013 and have progressive sensorineural hearing loss. I wear hearing aids every day, except when around those who can sign. I am highly involved in the community. I am an interpreting and Deaf studies major. So, I feel like I can offer some insight on this.
I have recently been sent “ASL” covers by many people. These covers are not being done by Deaf/Deaf Teachers/ Certified Interpreters/ CODA/ people with any ASL fluency….they’re being done by lower level ASL students and not as practice/homework. (because uploading a cover with the label homework/practice is different as well)
I want to clarify. I am not against people learning ASL. I am 100% for the spread ASL and the growing of our community. I know you’re excited about what you’re learning. You may have fallen in love with ASL and Deaf culture. You may want to share that passion with others, and that is great! I am so happy that you’re in this community!
But please understand, making “ASL” covers, ASL tutorials, etc; is not something you should be doing. You’re not a certified teacher/interpreter, you’re not fluent, and you’re simply not ready. What you’re doing is spreading a false idea of what ASL is. You’re teaching others how to sign incorrectly. You’re not interpreting, you’re reciting word for word…and you may be profiting off of it. Is that fair to the Deaf community? For you to not only be making money of an incorrect representation of their language, but perpetuating falsehoods about what that language is, what interpreting is, and what ASL looks like?
Another thing I see is ASL/PSE/SEE…. These are three seperate languages. SEE is a visual representation of English. It follows English grammar, uses initialized signs, is highly represented on the mouth. PSE is Pidgeon Sign, or ASL signs in English word order. ASL IS ITS OWN LANGUAGE. It has its own signs, rules, grammar, facial expressions, use of space, etc; These are not the same.
I understand that everyone has a right to post whatever they want, and I am not trying to offend anyone. I am just trying to get people to understand what is happening when they post these videos. I, myself, am not a fluent signer. I am an intermediate signer, but I am not fluent. That is after 5 years of study, immersion, everyday use, and the loss of my hearing. One semester is not enough. If you have questions, please don’t be afraid to ask! I am here to help educate and be your friend. I am not trying to be a jerk.