EDUDEAF: Questions About ASL, SEE, and PSE

Key Words: Information, Deaf Related Issues, Sign Language

Document 1 of 3

Document: 1 2 3


Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 18:16:47 -0700

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Subject: ASL/SEE/PSE/stuff

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Hi, all:

Today was my second day of volunteering with the Deaf/HH kids at John Muir.

Today was much better. Now that I have a sense of what the schedule is, and now that I know the kids better (and they know me better), I feel much more comfortable. I also talked to the teacher, and she says that she is *very* happy having me there. I basically spend time signing with the kids, playing with them, reading with them, etc. while she is putting on their FMs and getting them ready for projects. Now, I have some questions:

I know the difference between ASL and SEE. SEE is just signing the exact words you use on your hands--a visual representation of the language on your hands--right? ASL, on the other hand (har har har), has different grammar rules than English. I was afraid that by learning both ASL and SEE at the same time that I would get confused, but I don't think that will happen, since the grammar rules are different enough. Are signs for objects the same or different in each language? I do know that "what" in SEE is different than in ASL, for example. But what is the difference between SEE and PSE?

What can the kids hear when they have on their FMs? I was sitting next to one of the girls and I could hear distinct static coming from her hearing aids. I have the idea that the FMs are used to pick up hard consonant sounds, maybe more?

I don't want this post to start another ASL vs SEE debate; I'm just curious about the difference. Please, no flames :-)

Document 2 of 3

Deaf Education Information Home PageDocument: 1 2 3

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 23:47:40 -0400

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Subject: Re: ASL/SEE/PSE/stuff

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Think of sign languages (such as ASL) and artificial sign systems (such as SEE2) as occuring along a continuum. Pure ASL is at one end, whereas pure English is at the other. One generally accepted continuum goes something like this (this is from my memory, so the order may not be exactly right, but you will get the idea):

American Sign Language (ASL), Pidgen Sign English (PSE), Signing Exact English (SEE2), Signing Essential English (SEE1), Rochester Method (fingerspelling), Cued Speech, English

ASL is, of course, the natural language of the Deaf in the U.S. It has its own unique grammar. Historically, it came from a combination of the "home signs" used by Deaf people on Martha's Vineyard and French Sign Language (which was brought to the U.S. by Laurent Clerc, who with Thomas Gallaudet opened the first deaf school in the U.S.).

PSE is really in the middle. It uses ASL signs and some elements of ASL grammar, but in English word order, and with the edition of some signs to represent English words.

SEE1 was the precursor to SEE2.

SEE2: 60% of the signs are based on ASL signs. Most of them are modified to such that there is a one-to-one correspondence between an English word and a SEE2 sign. Usually this is done by "itializing" ASL signs. So SEE2 signs will be similar to ASL signs in some casess, but not always. 40% of the signs are invented and are used to represent English morphemes and other English words.

Rochester Method uses voicing and fingerspelling everything.

Cued Speech uses voice and eight handshapes in 4 locations to aid speechreading.

FM systems work more or less like hearing aids, but their main purpose is to improve the signal to noise ratio. Basically they place the teacher's voice in the kid's ear so that there will be less background noise to get in the way.

Document 3 of 3

Document: 1 2 3

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 08:23:56 -0600

Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education

Subject: Re: ASL/PSE/SEE

To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Kathy, Laurel, et al--

The term PSE is being phased out (because it is not really a pidgin) in favor of "contact" language. Although it is not a language, either, it is the means to communicate between two language user groups, so it stands to reason that people whose natural/native language is ASL will color it with more ASLism, and those whose natural/native language is oral/aural English will do likewise. I'm not sure about the Stokoe notion of two PSE's, since there really isn't one clearly definable one. It is a polyglot of ASL and English, and therefore not a model of any linguistic system--rather it is an accommodation by Deaf people for hearing people who can't/don't/won't use ASL and an effort by hearing people to communicate manually with Deaf.


Uploaded by: Jessica Soltesz/Kent State Univetsity/Deaf Education Major