EDTC 300,  Learning Project

ASL Grammar

This week I have utilized Instagram as the focus of my exploration into American Sign Language. I find this to be a really interesting resource, however one does have to be cautious when using this just like any resource. It is important to be weary about the people and pages that you choose to follow. There are hearing people that share information about ASL on this site. While this is not necessarily a bad thing it is important to note that these people may not completely understand the signs that they are sharing. They may not recognize the key features of a sign that go beyond just the hand movements. It is recommended to try to find creators that are deaf or hard of hearing that sign so that you know that the information they are sharing is correct. I have also found that these creators can explain the reasoning behind a sign. For example, they are able to share why you need to make a motion twice or why the sign might not be as one would expect for a particular word.

Above, I mentioned that some signs have features that go beyond the way that you are moving your hands. This is something that I just learned this week through a post on Instagram. These key features are called ASL grammar. In this post the creator is teaching viewers how to ask yes or no questions. The creator stressed that it is very important to use ASL grammar when asking questions. They state that you must raise your eyebrows for the duration of the signing. This is important because, as I learned last week, ASL is a completely separate language from English meaning that it does not directly translate so without the raised eyebrows one may not be able to distinguish that you were asking a question. I was grateful to learn about ASL grammar so early on in my journey as it is crucial to properly communicate using ASL and it is not something that I otherwise would have paid much attention to. I am excited to learn more about how to use ASL grammar.

Last week I learned about the importance of recognizing American Sign Language as its own language. My learning in this topic evolved some more this week as I watched an Instagram post about the Barbie movie. The post was about the fact that people were not understanding the significance of the movie being interpreted in ASL. People felt that it seemed odd seeing as the movie already had the option to turn on subtitles. I, myself, felt the same thing. I assumed the people who are deaf or hard of hearing watch all movies with subtitles. The creator in this post explained that because ASL is a language separate from English there are people that sign that would not be able to read or understand the subtitles. With that being said, even if they are able to read the subtitles, it is not fair that the only way for them to watch movies is to view it in a language different from their own.


  • Kelsey Gibson

    this post was so interesting! I’m excited to read more about your ASL learning journey.
    Growing up, I always assumed ASL was the same as English, but it is an entirely different language with importance on facial expressions and different syntax! Very cool.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Cheyenne

    Hi Karley,
    Very interesting viewpoints! ASL is so much more than what the general public thinks it is most times, at least from what I have seen. There are many facial expressions and mouth movements that come into play with true communication in ASL. For years I wanted to learn ASL, going as far as trying to organize ASL classes in my hometown, because the ability to use ASL is so valuable, especially in education. Best of luck!

  • Lauren Buist

    Hi Karley,
    I’m not sure why, but I’m not sure I have ever associated grammar with ASL. How interesting! Your post provided much insight as to what you have been up to! Sounds like you’ve been having success and learning plenty! Can’t wait to see what you are up to next!

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