Author: Molly R. Simonton, M.S.
South Charleston, West Virginia
Date submitted to – April 4,
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Modes of
Orientation to Deaf
Chapter 5
Nancy A. Scheetz
“a process in which
two entities enter
into an exchange of
information to
transmit thoughts,
messages, or ideas”
The foundation for communication.
 “a system comprised of relatively
arbitrary symbols and grammatical
symbols that can be modified or
enhanced by members of the
community” (Baker & Cokely, 1980)
Language Development and
Hearing individuals
benefit from
information given to
them from the
environment via the
auditory channel
Deaf and Hard of
Hearing individuals
must use other
means of
information in order
to provide a base for
Oralists and manualists continue to
debate over the mode of
communication that results in the best
exchange of information for the deaf
and hard of hearing
From this debate, many new methods
of communication were founded
Sign Systems: History,
Structure, and Role in the
Deaf Community
First communication
through sign in A.D.
 Benedictine monks
formed a sign
system to
communicate daily
needs while keeping
a vow of silence
Each country
developed a sign
Signs were shared
and systems
History of ASL
• ASL = American Sign Language or Ameslan
• Created by deaf individuals in the United States
• Now it is used by 250,000 to 500,000 Americans of
varying ages
• 60% of ASL signs originated from French sign
•Accounts of sign communication is recorded as early as
Martha’s Vineyard
A population of deaf
emigrated from
England’s Kentish
region and settled in
Martha’s Vineyard
between the late
1600’s and the early
Martha’s Vineyard
This population communicated using
Old Kentish Sign Language
This sign language is credited to have
influenced ASL development
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
Graduate of Yale
University –
ministerial program
 Interested in
communicating with
his friend’s deaf
daughter, Alice
 Wanted to find
methods of using
written English as
part of her
The Mission
Mr. Cogswell sent Gallaudet to Europe to
learn more about deaf education
Europe was reluctant to share
T.H. Gallaudet went to Paris
The French were more willing to share their
instructional methods
Gallaudet mastered the sign language from
Laurent Clerc, a deaf instructor, who returned
to Connecticut with Gallaudet
The First School for the Deaf
The First School for the Deaf
April 15, 1817
 Institute for Deaf
Mutes later named
the American
Asylum at Hartford
for the Education
and Instruction of
the Deaf and Dumb
 Founded by Clerc
and Gallaudet
Eighty-nine enrolled
students at that
 Still in operation
 Renamed the
American School for
the Deaf
The Communication Methods
American Sign Language (ASL)
 Manually Coded English Systems
 Contact Signing (CS)
 Rochester Method
 Total Communication
 Oral Communication
 Cued Speech
ASL: It’s Own Language
Visual/manual communication system with
it’s own syntax and vocabulary
 Signs in conjunction with facial expression
and body language convey concepts
 Facial and bodily cues differ from nonverbal
cues used with speech
 An interactive language between the signer
and the receiver
Speech Production vs ASL
Speech aspects that
communicate the
speaker’s intention
include consonantal
and vocalic
segments that are
blended together to
form the message
ASL also has
distinctions that are
blended to form
signs that are then
organized to convey
the signer’s
Three Components of a Sign
Research conducted by William Stokoe
identified three independent part of a sign
1. Handshape or dez (designator)
how the fingers are extended
Location or tab (tabulation)
where on the body or in space the sign is
Movement or sig (signation)
how the hand or hands move – up, down,
circular, etc.
(Baker & Battison, 1980)
William C. Stokoe
Categorizing Signs
19 basic handshapes
 12 basic locations
 24 basic movements
 These basics were
given written
 Signs can be identified
by dez, tab, and sig as
spoken words are
identified by phonemes
By using the symbols,
ASL can be
transcribed, although it
cannot be read the
same way written
English can be read
Comparing Signs to Speech
Morphological Process
 Referential Indexing
 Reciprocity
 Grammatical Number
 Manner and Degree
 Derivational Processes
The Morphological Process
“refers to studying
how a word or a
sign is changed in
order to express
different meanings”
Referential Indexing
Temporal Aspect
Referential Indexing
Using space to identify important words
“Directional Signing”
Moving the sign closer to the target
point or toward the target point
Ex: Signing “That book”
Signs that involve the action between two or
more people
Signs that show action
Use both hands in simultaneous movement
Ex: Signing “We looked at each other”
Grammatical Number
Modifications to the verb that show the
action is occurring for more than one
 Ex: Signing
“Give to both of them.”Dual Inflection
 “Give to those three people” Trial Form
 “Give to all of them” Multiple Inflection
Distributional Aspects
Exhaustive Inflection
Allocative Determinate Inflection
Actions that are done to each person in a group
When an action is viewed as one event
Actions that are done to specific people at certain
Allocative Indeterminate Inflection
Actions that are done to unspecified people at
different times
Temporal Aspect and Focus
Signs that can be expressed with different
intensity simply by the intensity with which
it is signed
The sign “look at” can mean the following:
 To
 To gaze
 To look at for a long time
 To look at again and again
Manner and Degree
The direction of a sign or the way a sign is
expressed can show the way in which it was
done (easily, with difficulty) or how it was
done (to what degree)
Signs change their dynamic qualities: rate,
tension, evenness, duration, and manner of
Derivational Processes
Parts of speech can be changed to different
parts of speech
The sign for “type” can be a verb, but the
same sign can be a noun “keyboard”
The sign for “sit” can be altered to “chair” by
the number of times is is repeated
Nonmanual Aspects of ASL
Movements of the eyes, face, head position,
and body differentiate sentence types from
each other
These movements can be used alone or in a
series to communicate the type of sentence
Questions, negated statements, asserted
statements, negated questions have different
nonmanual cues
Formation of Plurals
Using the quantifier
 Changing the
number of hands (or
fingers) used to
form the sign
 Continuing the sign
as the arm or hand
moves across the
signer’s space
Tense Indicators
ASL does not use endings of signs to show
the verb tense as English Sign does
 The tense of the verb is shown in the
beginning of the conversation and is not
referred to again until it changes
 If the tense is not shown at the onset of
conversation, one can assume the action is
taking place in the present tense.
The “Time-line”
Present tense –
signs are made in
the signing space
directly in front of
the signer
Near future – signs
are made in the
signing space just
beyond the signer
Distant future – signs
are made in the
extended signing
space beyond the
Past tense – signs are
made in the direction
behind the signer
Distant past – beyond
the shoulder
Manually Coded English
Signed English
Seeing Essential English (SEE I)
Linguistics of Visual English (L.O.V.E.)
Signing Exact English (SEE II)
Signed English
Developed so that an individual could speak
English and sign at the same time
 Comprised of
Sign words
And 14 sign markers
Sign Markers show change in verb form,
number, possession, and other changes in
words parallel to English word modifications
Signing Essential English
Developed in the 1960’s
 David Anthony (a deaf individual)
 Every English word has a sign
 Incorporated signs for parts of words
 A deaf child could see the English
language as a hearing child can hear
the English language
Linguistics of Visual English
Developed by Dennis Wampler in 1972
 Signs are represented in the symbols
developed by Stokoe, not by pictures
 A word is signed the same way no
matter what – it will not differ because
of content or change in concept
 Not widely used today
Signing Exact English (SEE II)
Three group members working with
David Anthony to develop SEE I broke
off to develop a system that would
“ease the basic acquisition of English by
deaf children.”
Initialized sign were found by this sign
Contact Signing (CS)
A communication
 Influences from the
system that can be
native language of
used between a
the individual is
deaf individual fluent
apparent through
in ASL and a hearing
vocabulary and
 Referred to as Pidgin
 Becomes the bridge
 Not a native
or middle ground
Contact Signing (CS)
Educational professionals often use
pidgin with more of an English base
Others who acquired the language
outside of the educational setting may
use pidgin with an ASL base
Rochester Method
Developed in 1919 by Zenus F. Westervelt,
Superintendent of the Rochester School for
the Deaf
Based on fingerspelling (dactylology)
 26 handshapes that represent 26 letters of
the alphabet
 No separate syntax, phonology, morphology,
or semantics
 Mirrors the the language it is representing
Total Communication
Term became used in the 1960’s during the
development of new sign systems
 Proposed by Roy Holcomb, “The Father of
Total Communication”
 First used by the Maryland School for the
 By 1976 a majority of schools for the deaf
incorporated TC for instructional purposes
Total Communication
Defined in 1976
“Total Communication is a philosophy
requiring the incorporation of
appropriate aural, manual, and oral
modes of communication in order to
insure effective communication with
and among hearing impaired persons”
Gannon, 1981, p.369
Oral Communication
Alexander Graham
Bell, “The Father of
 Influenced the
establishment of
early oral schools in
Oral Communication
Speech skills and speech-reading skills
were incorporated into instruction
 Restricted the use of manual languages
 Emphasis was on the mastery of
communicating with hearing individuals
 Some schools adopted a “combined
approach” where emphasis on sign was
still limited, but utilized to some degree
Cued Speech
Developed by R.
Orin Cornett
 Used to distinguish
between sounds
that appear the
same on the lips
when spoken
 B, P, M / F, V / etc.
 8 configurations and
4 positions of one
Hand positions and
configurations are
used as speech
 Each syllable is
 This distinguishes
the difference
between b,p,m or
f,v, etc.
How Cued Speech Works
36 cues exist for the 44 phonemes (or
sounds) used in English
 To show vowel-consonant blends (such as or)
the configurations can be combined at the
location of the vowel
 Some handshapes are similar to ASL, but
serve a different purpose
 Cued Speech is not a language, but a tool to
use with the English language to enhance
speech-reading skills
Written Forms of
The Barry Five Slate System
Wing’s Symbols
Straight Language System – The
Fitzgerald Key
The Barry Five Slate
Miss Katherine B. Barry, teacher at the
Colorado School for the Deaf in 1893
5 columns consisting of basic parts of
speech, later adding a 6th column for
adverbial elements that may shift
position in the sentence
 Adopted by many schools in the United
Wing’s Symbols
Mid-1870’s – George Wing, hearing impaired
teacher at the Minnesota School for the Deaf
1884 titled his system “Function Symbols”
later referred to as “Wing Symbols”
 Philosophy – sentence essentials could be
taught and students could learn how the
order could vary
 Continued to be used today in some schools
for the deaf
Straight Language System –
the Fitzgerald Key
In 1926 Edith Fitzgerald, a deaf instructor of
English wrote Straight Language for the Deaf
 Utilized 6 key words
 Utilized 8 symbols for the parts of speech
 Became very widely used from 1927 through
the early 1970’s in oral and manual schools
Three Premises of the
Fitzgerald Key
Teacher must be aware of the child’s
mental picture so that the student may be
provided with a clear picture
Student must be provided with an alternate
channel of expression aside from hearing
Student cannot be taught through English
Modes of Communication
American Sign Language (ASL)
 Manually Coded English Systems
 Contact Signing (CS)
 Rochester Method
 Total Communication
 Oral Communication
 Cued Speech

Modes of Communication