Foreign Language | Letters | Chicago Reader

Foreign Language 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

To the editors:

Harold Henderson's ignorant comment, "What country did you say you were from?" on the welcome fact that Illinois high school students will now receive foreign language credit for learning American Sign Language (City File, October 20), is sadly, typically, indicative of the lack of linguistic sophistication--that is, sophistication about linguistics--in the general population. American Sign Language, the language used by deaf people in this country, most certainly is a foreign language; it is in no measure a gestural translation of English. It's called American Sign Language to distinguish it from, e.g., British Sign Language (to which it bears no similarity), Thai Sign Language (ditto), or French Sign Language (from which it developed under the influence of Thomas Gallaudet). You might as well say that Menomonee and Navajo are not foreign languages because they're spoken by "American" Indians!

Peter T. Daniels

N. Malden

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Peter T. Daniels

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Delicate Tears of the Waning Moon Steppenwolf Theatre, 1700 Theatre
September 19
Performing Arts
King Hedley II Court Theatre
September 12

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories