I am not currently teaching Introduction to Interpreting (ASL3310).

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Language and culture

Clearly, language is the most visible component of signed language interpreting. Language is temporally and socially defined; based on perceptions and evolving semantics, words and signs can change rapidly. Let’s understand the etymologies of signed languages and manual codes and discuss how they can be pronounced and produced.

Here are some learning outcomes of which we might want to be aware:


Chapter 7 (pp. 105–118) Required

Handout (Stringham) Required

A comparative language continuum demonstrating the overlapping relationship of American Sign Language and English which results in manually coded English (MCE) forms and approaches (PSE, CASE, SSS, SimCom, TC, etc.). Identifies and briefly describes the most commonly known and/or used languages and MCE forms and approaches.

The Preservation of Sign Language (1913) Required

Clearly, signed language has not always looked like it does today; indeed, the name and politics of “ASL” did not exist until the 1960s. This now-infamous NAD preservation film from 1913 features NAD president George Veditz giving an impassioned presentation on the importance of signed language to Deaf people. Politics aside, how do early 20th century and modern/21st century ASL language and discourse creation differ? What are differences and similarities? Does this impact interpreter practice? (Read the transcription)

Handout (Gustason, 1990)

An article by Gustason (in Bornstein, 1990) examines the origins of the SEE and LOVE MCEs. Particularly helpful in clarifying LOVE and reasons for and myths about SEE creation and usage.

Handout (Bornstein, et al 1983)

The preface to The Comprehensive Signed English Dictionary by Bornstein (1983) explains some of the methodology behind Bornstein and Saulnier’s MCE system. Describes SE’s affixes and rationale behind their sign creation rules.

Origins, Formations, Rules, and (Mis)Usage of ASL Name Signs (Stringham)

Useful Links for Educational Interpreters: RID Region IV

Links to vocabulary building for educational interpreters.

Rendering the Greek manual alphabet (PDF download)