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American Sign Language and Deaf Culture


Welcome to McQuade's ASL and Deaf Culture Resource Guide. The purpose of this resource guide is to provide the Merrimack community with a starting point for understanding American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture. Use the tabs on the left to find books, videos, and more. If you don't find what you're looking for, or if you need help navigating this guide, please don't hesitate to contact a McQuade Librarian.  We welcome feedback and suggestions:

What is American Sign Language (ASL)?

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.

Sign language is not a universal language — each country has its own sign language, and regions have dialects, much like the many languages spoken all over the world. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. Like all languages, ASL is a living language that grows and changes over time.

ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and “foreign” language academic degree requirements across the United States.

Here's a list of State Laws Referencing the Legitimacy of ASL

Protecting and Interpreting Deaf Culture | Glenna Cooper | TEDxTulsaCC

Deaf advocate Glenna Cooper shares her personal journey as a Deaf child of hearing parents who were told to avoid teaching their daughter sign language. Glenna shares insight into Deaf culture, including why it's not considered rude to tell someone their new hairstyle isn't flattering. You'll also learn about a cutting edge movement in interpretation that pairs Deaf with hearing interpreters. Glenna Cooper is Assistant Professor and Department Chair for American Sign Language Education, English As Second Language, and World Language at Tulsa Community College. She was one of a few Deaf nationally certified instructors to provide Deaf Culture training to emergency responders in 40 states. Although she is Deaf, ASL was not her first language. Instead, she learned to speak and lipread English first which presented many challenges.

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