Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chapters 32-36

Chapter 32
 The ability to lip reading (more accurately called speech reading) is one of the most common misconceptions that hearing people have towards the deaf community. They think that all deaf people have the ability to read lips which isn’t the case!  It’s actually a quite difficult thing to do!  Speech reading is an acquired skill. Ultimately it involves a lot of guesswork which I found rather interesting.  Only 30% of all spoken sounds are visible on the lips. Sounds like “b” “p” and “m” are nearly impossible to distinguish by just watching the mouth. Nonetheless, for those that can speech read there are still barriers present that hinder communication. Speech reading also involves the face, eyes, and eyebrows. Nonetheless, it’s a very complex skill, and I applaud anyone who attempts it! However, as hearing people it’s important that we don’t assume that all deaf people are speech readers. As stated in the text, some hearing people tend to over exaggerate or over enunciate their speech when first meeting a deaf individual. They also tend to ask the deaf individual “Can you read my lips?” and when they respond the hearing person automatically assumes they can speech read.  There are many other ways to communicate with deaf individuals if you are unfamiliar with ASL. Ultimately you can use a pen and paper, or even your palm to spell words! If you are really interested in communicating with a deaf individual you will find a way around the language barrier! Not only is this the case for ASL and English but for many other languages as well!

Chapter 33
In the past, speech pathologists, doctors, and audiologists have had a bad reputation in the deaf community. When a child is first born, doctors and audiologists are usually the first ones to deliver the news to the parents that their child is deaf. Audiologists then make recommendations to the parents. Their words are usually carrying weight, and come across lacking sympathy. They also tend to carry negative associations rather than positive ones.  If I was in a situation where I was dealing with a speech audiologist like the one above, I would dislike them as well! Therefore, I don’t blame the deaf community for their beliefs towards these types of people.
Speech pathologists take up where the doctors and audiologists leave off. The have the task of modeling the child’s language.  They teach them how to form sounds correctly, differentiate their vowels, and control their breathing and voice, and much more.  Nonetheless, speech training is very grueling and tiring work. For many children who participate in speech training it can become very frustrating.  However, speech pathologists also looked down upon by some deaf individuals. It’s important to note that they don’t oppose speech training, but oppose some of their beliefs and strategies.  One thing I found completely shocking is that some speech pathologists have the view that deaf children broken and need to be “fixed.” This is appalling to me! Deaf children are no different than any other children. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It just so happens that deaf children lack the ability to hear.  Nonetheless, they can do anything that a hearing child can do. However, not all medical professionals act in this way. Nonetheless, it’s important that we move forward as a community and look towards the future! J

Chapter 34
Among the deaf community lies the debate of oral speech versus signing.  Some oralists tend to believe that career opportunities for speaking deaf versus non-speaking deaf are better. This remains a questionable topic today.  However, I personally feel as if a workplace shouldn't discriminate on any of these factors. If the individual is capable of completing the task at hand, it shouldn't matter whether or not the individual can speak or not. As I said before, if communication is really necessary there are ways around the language barrier! People do it every day.
Before reading this chapter, I never knew that deaf individuals could actually verbalize. My deaf cousin mainly speech reads and signs. Nonetheless, if deaf individuals are comfortable with verbalizing I see no problem with it at all! It’s important to note, that deaf individuals can’t hear themselves speak therefore they may speak rather loudly during inopportune times.  But who are we to tell them to not verbalize? Everyone has the right to free speech!

Chapter 35
As stated in the text, deaf individuals have a wide range of speech skills. It’s important that we, the hearing community, eliminate stereotypes.  Some deaf individuals have good speech skills, and other prefer to not use their voice at all. This is a very controversial topic within the deaf community.  As stated by the author: “If we don’t use our voices, do we give hearing people the wrong impression? If we do use our voices, are we opposing other deaf people?” As a hearing individual we should respect a deaf person choice on rather or not to voice. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision made by the deaf individual.  
One think I found interesting in this chapter was when the text stated that some hearing persons don’t use their voices in the company of deaf friends, relatives, or clients. I thought that was really special. It also shows a sign of respect to the deaf individuals around you! After reading this chapter, I've realized that there is more to speech than just the ability to communicate.  There are multiple ways to communicate whether that’s with ASL or another way. I think the author says it well when he says, “the spirit of communication is far more important than the dogma of mode.”  J
Chapter 36
All deaf individuals have the ability to speak.  However, it’s their personal decision on whether or not to do so. In the past, deaf individuals that “could not talk like a normal person” (as stated in the text) were stereotyped as deaf-mutes or deaf-and-dumb. I find both of these stereotypes very offensive towards the deaf community. A deaf individual that has chosen not to voice is no less superior!
Some people in the community seem to think that signing interferes with speech development. This isn’t true. It is a proven fact that deaf children whose first language is ASL tend to develop better speech than those who were given intensive oral training. Having a solid foundation in a visual language makes it easier to learn another language. For example, let’s say there is a child that recently moved from Mexico to the United States. If the child has previous background knowledge about the content being taught in English they will become more successful in learning the English Language. This goes for ASL as well.  Nonetheless, language is transferable.  
It’s important to remain respectful of the choices that deaf people make regarding speech. If they feel comfortable voicing we should welcome them to use their voice whenever. However, if they don’t feel comfortable we should be understanding and not push them into something they don’t want to do. Nonetheless, deaf people who choose not to use their voice live very happy and productive lives without it! I’ve come to realize speech is not necessary to survive; it’s just a tool we've become reliant upon. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chapters 22-31

Chapter 22
I've always been curious about how deaf individuals feel about signing in public and being approached by others. Since ASL is visual language, deaf individuals signing in public have no real way of keeping a conversation quiet unlike the hearing people. Hearing people have the opportunity to whisper or lower their voice in public while deaf people don’t have that luxury. While reading in this chapter, I read that deaf people have to physically “hide” themselves to make a conversation private. It’s crazy how many things we (hearing individuals) take for granted on any everyday basis.  From reading this chapter, I've learned some very valuable information about when or when not to approach deaf individuals.  It’s important to respect their boundaries just as you would with anyone else. The same respect and privacy we give hearing people, should also apply to the deaf we encounter.
Something I found interesting about this chapter was the use of “name signs.” I've never heard of such a thing before.  As I read on in the additional information section, I found out that it’s a sign usually given to you by a deaf person that’s personalized, and distinctive.  Pretty neat! J
Chapter 23
In my past experiences with the deaf community, I've learned that they often ask a lot of questions. They are very curious about your life, and want to know anything/ and everything they can.  Nonetheless, we had this discussion in class a couple of weeks ago. Growing up as a deaf child can be very hard! The miss out on a lot of things that hearing children do not especially if their parents don’t sign. Because they missed out on so much as a child, it’s important for them that they communicate as much as possible. For instance, a deaf children growing up with hearing parents miss out on basic, everyday conversations.  For example, they may never hear “How was your day?”  Nonetheless, it’s very important to them that they don’t miss out on anything.
As getting asked where I learned ASL, it’s casually come up in several conversations. However, as I stated above I feel like being curious is just a part of their culture. 
Chapter 24
As a hearing individual, it’s important to recognize and respect American Sign Language. As stated in the text, ASL is one language that commonly belongs to the deaf community.  As a hearing individual, you must think of all the possibilities you have as a hearing person (not saying that deaf individuals are any less superior). Nonetheless, we are able to communicate more easily on a day to day basis. The deaf community can do just as much or not more but face more challenges along the way. Because of these, some may be more hesitate with hearing people learning ASL. Can you blame them? I can’t!   
As a new learner of ASL, it’s also important of me to learn about the culture. Just like any other language ASL is constantly changing. Therefore, it’s important we alter ourselves that of the ever-changing language.  As the example in the book stated, it’s not any different than going to a foreign country and learning their language. Ultimately, it’s a sign of respect!
Chapter 25
ASL students have trouble learning English for the same reasons many non-native speakers have learning English the first time! It’s a completely different language! As it stated in the text, many deaf children start school without any real language at all! This was shocking to me!  Because they are deaf, they missed out on the ever crucial “language bombardment” that many hearing children face. During this time, children learn about language and begin to imitate and produce it. One thing that I found shocking was that some parents of deaf children refuse to learn ASL! Nonetheless, the parents don’t communicate with the child whatsoever.  It really bothers me to think that parents could just ignore and not make any effort whatsoever. It’s their job as parents to do anything and everything they can for their children!
Before reading this chapter, I was curious to know how deaf people read/ and write in English. However, I have learned that many deaf people use “deaf English” to write.  My cousin that is deaf writes using deaf English; it is English mainly written in the ASL grammar syntax. On the other hand, I’ve also met some deaf people that fluent in written English! Just as I am learning a new language, they are too! It’s takes a lot of dedication and time for a deaf individual to become fluent in both ASL and written English!
In reading the Chapter, I also learned about the overwhelming language gap many deaf children are facing in the schools. I feel like this directly affects me in the future because of my career choice. As a future teacher, it’s up to me to help these students become successful! It’s up to me to accommodate these students, and give them the necessary tools they need in the classroom.
Chapter 26
Before reading this chapter, I thought reading for enjoyment was a personal choice for anyone (including the deaf). However, after reading I’m shocked to find out the many horrible things deaf children endured in the past! For long periods of time the English language was forcibly battered into the minds of the children. Ultimately, they were punished for not succeeding! For generations, the library was used as a form of punishment. For most hearing people, a library is a quiet, relaxing place full of knowledge. However, for many deaf children the memories they have of the library haunt them! They were also struck by therapists for mispronouncing words! I don’t blame them for not finding reading enjoyable! The majority of their experiences with the English language have been nothing less than horrible!

Chapter 27
As a hearing individual, I never realized the importance of closed captioning to the deaf community. Once again, we take for granted the opportunity to watch television. Nonetheless, the deaf community cannot enjoy television without the use of closed captioning.     
In the chapter, I learned about the disagreement that is currently circling the captioning industry. Some people feel it’s necessary for closed captioning to read verbatim the audio. Others believe that the captions should be simplified. As of right now, I’m currently on the fence about this issue.  I can honestly say I can agree with both sides! Advocates of the verbatim side argue that it’s unethical and insulting to alter the wording.  On the other hand, advocates for the simplified translation argue that deaf individuals cannot comprehend some of the vocabulary on TV. I do think it’s important not to treat deaf individuals as less superior people!   Therefore, I agree with the supporters of verbatim captioning when the say it’s insulting to the deaf individuals.  Why should we get the opportunity to receive more information via the TV just because we can hear? However, I also agree with the simplified approach on some things. If it ultimately allows for the deaf community to better comprehend what’s going on, why would we not make the change? 

Chapter 28
As a future teacher, I firmly believe in the knowledge of literacy. It’s an important part of learning for all students, deaf children included! In the past, my deaf children attended “Deaf-only schools” such as the Hartford Asylum. Schooling at the Harford Asylum was very tedious and demanding but yielded great results for their students. If you were to compare schools today with the Hartford Asylum there really isn’t a comparison. I believe that Hartford Asylum took more pride in educating their students! Unlike schools today, the asylum had no modern technologies, speech therapists, sport teams etc. They were ultimately focused on learning with no distractions! As a future educator, I believe that there such be a mixture of the two. The main focus should be on learning!
I find the idea of Charter Schools very beneficial for deaf children! It’s sad to say that many deaf children in public schools get left behind. Many are mainstreamed into classrooms were the teachers have no formal education in ASL whatsoever.  Nonetheless, charter schools combine the best features of deaf schools, with the idea of mainstreaming.
Chapter 29
Many children that participate in mainstreaming face great problems. Most of the time, they are the only deaf child in the class, and face staff they are adequate in dealing with their needs.  One alternative to mainstreaming is the use of residential schools. However, these residential schools face many negative conations among parents, and teachers. Nonetheless, these schools are suffering! They are also facing budget cuts.  Because of these budget cuts the quality of their programs are diminishing! I agree with the text when it states that closing all the state locals and rerouting the all deaf the deaf students is false economy. I firmly believe that our government should take action in strengthening our residential schools! As stated in the text good residential schools have many advantages over mainstreaming. These advantages include: professional staff, individual attention,  everyday exposure to ASL, deaf mentors, etc.  Because of these advantages, it’s important we get residential and state schools back on track!
Chapter 30
As a current ASL student, I think it’s a good idea to learn as much about the language as possible! Before reading this chapter, I already knew that the library would be a good starting point. However, I was unaware of the Gallaudet Bison Bookstore. I found it very interesting that the bookstore was a mail order catalogue featuring a wide variety of books and multimedia. There are also many organizations that have websites that offer insightful information!  In the future I plan on looking into these organizations in more detail J

Quiz (Chapters 16-30)
After taking the quiz, I was quite surprised that I knew many of the answers! After grading the quiz I ended up only getting one question wrong. The question that confused me the most was question number 6: Since all ASL teachers in schools and colleges hold ASLTA certification, it’s not really necessary to ask an acquaintance who their sign language teacher is, except out of curiosity.  Not every ASL teacher is going to excel. Nonetheless, it may be beneficial for someone to inquire more information about a certain teacher before taking their class!

Chapter 31
This chapter greatly affected me! As a future teacher is important that I know where to inquire more information about the deaf if necessary!  One resource that I found rather interesting was the TDI Blue Book. I have never heard of this before! The blue book allows you to zero in on a specific county or state agency. For example, the blue book would allow finding local agencies for the deaf right here in bowling green! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chapters 11-21

Chapter 11
I found this certain chapter in the book very beneficial. As a beginning learner of ASL, it’s important to know and understand the meaning behind certain signs. Before reading this chapter, I had no idea that certain signs held so much history; for example, the female and male signs.  I’ve noticed before that the typical female signs such as women, girl, mother, daughter, etc are all signed near the chin and mouth. However, I found it very interesting that these “female” signs resemble the tying of bonnet strings.
                I also read in the chapter about certain signs that are looked upon as racist. These include the sign for African-American, Japanese, Chinese, Korea, and Polish. For example, the African American sign represents a variant of the “Black Nose” (as stated in the book). Something that caught me off guard about this particular part in the chapter was the statement that “some African-American Deaf People still prefer the old sign for black.” After reflecting on the chapter, I thought about this particular comment for some time. Just like in other languages, there are certain words that are no longer seen as socially acceptable. However, some older generations of people still tend to use the words in everyday speech. Therefore, they don’t see the need to change or evolve with the ever-changing language. Nonetheless, American Sign Language is somewhat culturally connected to other languages in that way.

Chapter 12
I found the letter written by Tammy Kirk in the beginning of the chapter very courageous of a young child.  In the letter, Tammy discusses her reasoning behind wanting to learn ASL. One sentence in particular that she wrote caught my attention; “Even though they couldn’t hear, they were the funnest people to be with.” From personal experience, I’ve noticed that some people tend to have a negative stereotype concerning deaf individuals. They seem to think that they are incompetent, and are not capable of portraying emotion, humor, etc. However, in these past 3 months as an ASL student I have learned that this isn’t the case whatsoever!
After reading the chapter in its entirety, I found this piece of information the most beneficial:
·         The important thing is to get into practice, and, if possible, find someone who’s skillful in signing to practice with. That makes it more fun.
I’m a firm believer, that practice is the most beneficial study tool in becoming proficient in learning ASL.  I’ve learned that practicing with classmates and deaf individuals in the community is more helpful than studying alone! This allows for feedback and constructive criticism that can ultimately help you in the future.  

Chapter 13
Before reading this chapter, I had no idea that the “ILY” sign held so much negativity in the deaf community. The main reason it’s looked down upon is because it isn’t strictly ASL. It’s a combination of three letters of the standard alphabet. Another reason is because it has become a visual cliché and has lost its meaning. Just like the English language, people tend to overuse the word. Nonetheless, I feel as if the meaning of the word, and its use have somewhat been translated into American Sign Language.
                One particular thing that I found very interesting in the chapter was the part about Presidential Candidate Carter. This took place in 1977 during the Inauguration Day walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. President Carter chose to acknowledge a group of deaf individuals by flashing the ILY sign to them.  Ultimately, President Carter was a very good man who tried to reach everyone in the community. In the end, the deaf community greatly appreciated his effort.  Nonetheless, I find his effort to be very courteous.
                Another thing that I found interesting in this chapter was the statement that the “ILY” sign is arguably is the best-known hand sign in the world. I have trouble believing that to a certain extent. From my personal experiences thus far (even though they may be limited) I have yet to notice the use of the ILY sign by a deaf individual.

Chapter 14
                I feel like this chapter was somewhat geared towards me. I found the majority of the information in this chapter very beneficial for future use.  As an ASL student, I continue to struggle with be able to read fingerspelling. I have been practicing on my own, but haven’t shown much improvement. However, this chapter gave me a few ideas on how to become better.
                 I found the idea that you can fingerspell a favorite poem or brief prose item very useful. After reading this particular part in the chapter, I began to use this method for practice. Nonetheless, it really does help with the development of finger spelling. I also try and fingerspell when I have any free time whatsoever.  For example, I’ll watch a TV show and pick certain words during the program to fingerspell.  It’s definitely really good practice!
Another thing I found rather shocking was that manual dexterity is an important component of fingerspelling. I never realized that the strength of your hand would directly correlate with fingerspelling!
Chapter 15
As a hearing individual, I firmly believe that everyone should learn at least the basics of ASL.  For a deaf individual, ASL is there only way of communication. Therefore, it’s important we at least know the basics of the language to communicate with the ever growing population of deaf individuals among us.  You never know when you will meet a deaf person, and need to communicate with them! Even if you just know the alphabet and the basics of fingerspelling you will go far!
One point in the book I found interesting was that it can be used as a survival tool for anyone. There may be a time in your life when you are unable to vocally communicate. During this time, you can use ASL to communicate! As stated in the book, imagine you are choking and can’t talk; you can use ASL to explain to a peer that you are choking and need help. This can ultimately save your life in more ways than one!
Chapter 16
This chapter was very informative! I’ve wondered in the past if there were ways to teach yourself sign language in the comfort of your own home.
After reading this chapter, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not highly recommended to solely rely on instructional videos and CD-ROMS when it comes to learning ASL. However, I do believe that when mixed with the proper tools these instructional aids can actually help improve learning!
Chapter 17
                Before reading this chapter, I was completely unaware of the use of Pidgin Signed English. Nonetheless, I have heard of “Signed English,” in which the signer follows the sentence structure of English rather than ASL. However, I’m still slightly confused on the difference between “Signed English,” and “Pidgin Signed English.”  To me they generally seem the same, which very few differences.
                One thing I found interesting in this chapter, was learning that you have to use PSE in an English word order to speak and sign at the same time.  After reading this, I instantly thought about one of my favorite TV shows “Switched at Birth.” In this show, a young girl uses signed English to speak and sign at the same time. She does this to communicate with hearing people, and when translating for friends.            
                One question that lingers in the head about this chapter is how deaf individuals separate the two different languages? How do they tell the difference between the two? For example, if they grew up learning ASL, how would they be able to understand someone who is using Signed English which follows the English language structure?
Chapter 18
                In reading this chapter, I’ve learned about the “continuum” of American Sign Language. The continuum represents the entire population of sign language users. It shows the purest (signing exact English) approach to the purest ASL approach.           
                Ever since I read the last chapter, I have wondered how people determine whether or not “Signed English” is being used and how to determine when it’s being used. Ultimately the book states that you have to catch the rhythm of the sentence.  As a beginner ASL student, I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference right away. I feel as if only time will tell!  I just keep telling myself that practice makes perfect, and to not give up J
Chapter 19
I have never heard of Total Communication before.  To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what it entails. I learned from the chapter that TC is commonly but inaccurately used to mean “Simultaneous Communication,” (Aka Signing while talking).
After reading on in the Chapter, I learned that there are schools based solely off on Total Communication practices. However, I’m still on the fence whether or not these practices actually benefit the deaf student.  I read that in TC schools that are no deaf teachers or facilitators, and that most of the students were hearing! Therefore, I don’t feel like these schools would help deaf children. If anything it would make learning more difficult!  
Chapter 20
Growing up with a deaf cousin in the family definitely sparked my interest for learning ASL. However, when it became time for college I soon realized that many colleges around this area don’t offer ASL as a foreign Language. You would think since ASL is the one of the top most used languages, the majority of colleges and universities would recognize it as a foreign language!  However, I agree with the author when he states that it generally has to do something with faulty preconceptions that many people have about the language. Many people seem to think that it’s not a language because it can’t be written. However, that isn’t the case at all! ASL can be written in terms of glossing. The author also makes a good point when he compares ASL to the language of Navajo! All written language was created at one time or another. Therefore, long ago the language of Navajo had no written language either. Does that mean Navajo isn’t a recognized language? No.
Nonetheless, I do not take the opportunity to learn ASL for granted! It may have taken a few semesters (more like years) to get into but the time waiting was well worth it!

Chapter 21
                In many ways I’m similar to Alis! I have always wondered how deaf people feel when a hearing person approaches them using sign language.  Do you feel at ease? Do they feel uncomfortable? I have too also been fascinated by Sign Language! After reading the chapter, I’ve learned that there is an appropriate time to join into an ASL conversation. It’s considered rude to some deaf individuals to interrupt.  However, if you’re a grocery store waiting in the checkout line and you notice a deaf individual it’s perfectly fine to make small talk! J
One thing I found completely shocking was that older children have been known to mock deaf people while signing because they think it’s funny! That’s completely disrespectful and rude nonetheless!   I then read that some adults do this as well! I can’t believe that an adult would mimic someone in that way. If they roles were switched, I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate the gesture!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chapters 1-10

Before taking this class, I can honestly admit that I didn't know much about American Sign Language. However, I have an extended family member who is deaf.  I remember going to family reunions as a young child and trying to communicate with her. As I grew older, I could see the frustration she felt when trying to communicate with everyone who didn't know ASL.  This is one of the main reasons why I began on my journey to learn ASL.  Before taking this class, I had no idea ASL was to precise, and expressive.  I've learned recently that it has its own set of grammatical rules and syntax unlike any other language, even more so than English! Before reading, I also wasn't aware of the elaborate history behind ASL. I thought it was a fairly new language, maybe dating back to the late 19th century.  However, I was proved wrong when I read that people were signing as early as the 18th century.
Chapter 1
            In chapter 1, I read that in the past children were being discouraged from using ASL in schools. It’s stated in the chapter that some hearing teachers told their students that ASL was considered “animal-like.” I found this appalling! ASL is the only way of communication for the deaf community, just like English is the way of communication for hearing people! What I also found every surprising was that it was said by a teacher! As a teacher, it’s your goal to help every child succeed in the classroom, not hinder them. Therefore, these teachers should have made in effort in learning more about ASL, so that they could have more effectively communicated with their deaf students. As a future teacher, I will use my knowledge of ASL to communicate to my students so that they feel comfortable in the learning environment.
Chapter 2
            In reading Chapter 2, I learned sign language is an international language and varies from country to country. Many signs used in one country can mean something completely different in another country. I had no idea that there were so many different types of sign language including Scandinavian, Japanese, British, French, Spanish, and many more! My first reaction to finding out about the many different forms was, “does a language barrier exist between them?” The obvious answer would be yes! However, I was amazed to find out that language gaps don’t really exist between the many different forms. They improvise, use gestures, and expressions to establish mutual comprehension. This is one of the many reasons why I find ASL so intriguing.
Chapter 3
            Chapter 3 discusses Braille and ASL and if there is a similarity between the two. As a young child, I thought Braille and ASL went hand-in-hand. Nonetheless, this isn't the case whatsoever! Braille and ASL are completely two different things. I've learned from reading, that many times deaf people are confused with blind people. After reading about this, I actually encountered an individual referring to a deaf person as blind. If I was a deaf person in society, I would constantly feel frustrated and annoyed with the misused term. It’s important for us people in society to recognize, and respect the differences between the two.
Overall, I do feel like my opinion of Braille changed.  Before reading I thought of Braille as some sort of language. However, now that I’m more knowledgeable, I’m aware Braille is just a tactile form of printed media rather than a language!
Chapter 4
Chapter 4 discusses the importance of Abbe de L’Eppe and Abbe Roch-Ambrosie Cucurron in the preservation of American Sign Language. These two men took it upon themselves to teach the deaf community in Paris in the 18th century. In my opinion, both were very extraordinary individuals to do what they did! L’Eppe was the first hearing person to go into the deaf community, to learn and to let the deaf people teach him! He also recognized the importance of ASL in an instructional setting. Nonetheless, if it wasn’t for L’Eppe, children in schools would still be discouraged from using ASL in the school system today!
Chapter 5
This chapter in particular taught me a lot! I figured that since American English derived from Britain so would ASL. However, I was initially caught off guard when reading that ASL and BSL (British Sign Language) don’t have many similarities at all. One of the only links between the two is the “Martha Vineyard dialect.” I read in the chapter, that at first glance BSL can ultimately be mistaken for ASL. I feel like this statement kind of contradicted the fact that they are different. How could they be mistaken for one another if there are no similarities between the two? 
British Sign Language sounds very interesting, and I definitely would be interested in learning more about it! However, I feel like it’s important to me to first fully understand American Sign Language first!

Chapter 6 & 7
I can honestly say for the first week or so of class, the grammar and syntax of ASL was very confusing. It still confuses me from time to time. However, I feel this is a natural thing in learning a new language. Just like an English student learning Spanish for the first time, everything is going to be slightly confusing for the first couple of weeks.  Now that I’m more knowledgeable about the syntactical structure of ASL I find it easier to follow than the English language!
I also read in this chapter about Manually Coded English, which depicts English Vocabulary and grammatical structure.  I personally feel like this could benefit ASL students learning English. It’s more of a step-by-step process rather than a fully immersion process which can be beneficial for some students.  The students are still using sign language while learning about the syntactical structure of English.   However, I do think it could cause confusion as well. Ultimately, you are trying to mix two completely different types of language.
Chapter 7 discusses the ASL as a written language. When I began reading this chapter I thought to myself, “How can ASL be a written language, if it’s purely visual?” After finishing the chapter I learned that ultimately ASL has no written language, and that many researchers for some time have been searching for a way to reproduce ASL in print.  I personally can’t think of a way to write ASL! Since it’s a visual language, I don’t think there will ever be a completely accurate written form.
Chapter 8
Chapter 8 discusses how ASL is learned by the deaf community.  To be honest, I've always wondered about this; for instance, children who are born deaf and have hearing parents.  I personally feel like it’s important to integrate ASL into the school system.  Deaf children are not any less important than any other child, and should be given the opportunity to formally learn ASL in the school if needed!
Chapter 9
This chapter was probably one of the most interesting I've read so far in this book! In the English language many jokes rely on homonyms, and puns which in turn are not understood by many people in the deaf community. However, I was surprised to learn the deaf community has to own way of communicating humor. ASL humor is visually based, and involves the use of gestures, cinematic effects, and a lot of “sign-play.” As of right now, I don’t recognize humor in ASL. However, just as a young child learning English it takes time!
Chapter 10
Since ASL is a visual language, I though accents were impossible! After reading this chapter I learned that hearing accents are based more off of language differences and ASL accents are based more off of style differences. For example some sign small, and some large. I also found it very interesting that accents occur within different states! For example, birthday is signed a different way in Alabama than it is in Maine.

Reading these first 10 ten chapters has really opened my eyes to some interesting things within ASL. I look forward to reading the book in its entirety.