ASL and SEE - a continuum?

In the past couple months, I have been watching an increasing number of vlogs with variable hit rate on comprehension. At the same time I am studying a couple books, one which delves heavily into ASL syntax.

One thing I notice is that there SEEMS to be quite a bit of acceptable syntax variability between signers. Do signers all fall somewhere on a continuum between ASL and SEE? Or is there a certain amount of variability between ASL signers and a huge chasm between ASL and SEE? (i.e. two distinct groups with variability within themselves only)

Maybe an example. Seek Geo's Hell's Kitchen recaps seem to me to be in a somewhat English word-order. Do I just notice this because he captions his vlogs and my high comprehension of his ASL then seems to come more easily/naturally to me?

I'm really confused here. Can't wait for my ASL class to start in 5 weeks!


Yes, some people sign in PSE-y way. They sometimes do sign according to ASL syntax so it varies depending on his/her command of ASL. The same idea applies to people who type out in comment sections and blog posts. It depends on their command of written English whether they do write closely to its syntax or not.
Jon Savage said…
Check out this one:

Let me know what you think..
Aaron said…

Very nice indeed. I definitely want to learn ASL as opposed to SEE, which is why I chose my books/class very carefully.

While I find learning signs in a dictionary format easiest, I find it far easier to watch vlogs for syntax and style. I just want to make sure I am imitating the right people =)

A professor of mine once lectured about reading various authors and the effect it has on your writing style. Basically, if you only ever read Clancy, your style will tend to be like his (not a horrible thing). Reading a broad variety of authors will give you more balance, though.
Jes said…

Good post! Well, I sign ASL and honestly I don't know if anyone can be 100% ASL signer since a few of PSL/SEE signs are acceptable to use (anyone feel free to correct me cuz I am not 100% sure on that one).

Anyways, as for captions, I always try to make it english as much as I can to make everyone to understand.

If I caption in ASL, it won't be easy to read.

Hope that helps? :-D

By the way, Jon's video about Bully ASL turned out FANTASTIC!! I loved it.

Seek said…

Last comment was by me not Jes, accidentally signed wrong account.

Aaron said…
thanks for the input SG!

so do you think ASL/SEE is just a single continuum where everyone falls somewhere? or are there two groups that clump together towards the ends?

I really appreciate the English captions. I think I am far enough along now that I could *probably* decipher ASL captions but it would be rough. hehe.

No such as PSE or SEE not a real language according to linguistic researches! No real language but rather manual English coded. ANy sign language you use still ASL beccause you still use facial expression no matter how hard you try to sign in English such as PSE or SEE. Sign language means ASL!
Aaron said…
true, but my point is that since I am learning ASL with the understanding that ASL syntax is fully unique from English, I would rather learn the proper ASL syntax, and in the process not come across as a "foreigner". e.g. I learned french for quite a few years. in french you would be understood if you said "the red car" instead of "the car red" but you would come across as someone who doesnt understand french syntax.

learning ASL is a very large challenge, and if I put forth this much effort, I want to end up knowing the language, not butchering it, because I respect it =)
JABParis said…
Many Deaf people have bad habit of signing or using "PSE or contact language" or SEE because of the audience (vlog readers -- some hearing, mostly PSE and SEE). When Deaf people have the conversation with other Deaf people, they will use natural ASl method, but with hearing people, as well as SEE signers, they will switch to PSE or SEE. Most of us were brainwashed into oralism and total communication.

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