Ed Bosson wrote a great commentary in response to the great article from the New York Times on December 7, 2004 titled “What Corporate America Can’t Build: A Sentence” by Sam Dillon. I believe that even if a person’s first language is ASL, the person should know how to write correct English. ASL is a spoken not a written language. But as a person who doesn’t use ASL, I figured my words would not have as much meaning. However, Bosson uses ASL and he believes in the same thing. Reprinted with permission from Ed Bosson.
“Below article from NY Times: I chuckled at the article because it is so TRUE! Because of e-mail, clarity in English writing now has become all-important necessity.
“I myself am a strong ASL signer; Arkansas School for the Deaf that I grew up to in my youth – nearly all of the teachers used ASL. My hearing parents felt I needed to be exposed to culture of deafness at an early age (3 yrs old), so they made friends with a deaf family and the deaf boy of that deaf family became my life-long pal. Strong ASL signers in that family as well. Did my English suffer – yes. I was not taught very well on how to write grammatically correct English and it haunted me until I learned to master English; I had to purchase books on how to write English language and re-learn the grammatical rules and all that.
“Is my English good now? Yes, but it is not perfect. I have learned how to write clearly and use appropriate words instead of being verbose (that I tend to do that sometimes). I have a pretty good understanding of lexicon terms. Example is this word lexicon terms – better choice would be “dictionary” because it means the same thing and accomplishes the same goal.
“For those of you deafies with strong ASL and not very good English, it is worth ur time to learn how to write English language clearly and concisely. Otherwise u will not get very far in the hearing world – either in both socially or in work environments.
“Email now is the forte of communications and clarity and concise are now the most important features of email writing. There are many good books on how to learn English; I have two on my desk that I like to refer to sometimes and I have a few at home that I like to refer to as well. The two in my office were from the PUC library; they are: “Good Grief, Good Grammar” by Dianna Booher, and “the most common mistakes in English usage” by Thomas Elliott Berry.
“Now don’t get me wrong, ASL is still the best language for deafies. There is no other language that comes close to what ASL can do for deaf person. There is no other language that can express colorful and articulately that ASL can do. Ironically, ASL is the best way to learn English with a good English teacher (I did not have that in my youth), but that is altogether different issue of which I will not tackle in this article.
“Why did I mention this non-telecommunications issue? It is because we deafies use TTYs (calling relay service), pagers, email, and Instant Message alot now thus mastering English now has become an important consideration of ASL signers.
“Read this thought-provoking NY Times article and ponder on it..
“eyes open & thumbs up,