ASL University | Bookstore | Catalog | Dictionary | Lessons | Resources | Syllabi | Library | Volume 1, Issue 18, January 2005 | William G. Vicars Ed.D., Editor


Hello ASL Heroes!

All my best to you and yours for a wonderful year of learning, teaching, and fun. I came across someone's "motto" the other day and think I just might adopt it:  Live well, love much, laugh often.

Take care and enjoy this month's heaping helping of hot hints and heretofore unheard of wisdom...heh.
--Dr. Bill



In a message dated 1/13/2005 11:44:54 AM Pacific Standard Time, a student writes:
Hi Bill,

I have a dilemma;  I am now in my 2nd term of ASL and I am also taking Deaf Studies.  Two different instructors, ASL instructor not very supportive, it seems, about meeting the Deaf community.
My Deaf Studies instructor, as part of curriculum, is requiring we participate in the community.  Here in the Northwest, as well as other parts of the Nation, have a Silent/Deaf Coffee Night at various coffee houses.  My
dilemma is this:  I went to my local Starbucks and asked if they had anything like Silent Coffee Night; they said at some stores, but none in Vancouver.  I asked if it would be possible?  They said they'd look into it.
Now, being proud of what I thought was a good thing, I emailed my instructor and told him--he pretty much told me it's not my place; the Deafies will let other Deafies know where the events are.  that's a quote.

Well, yesterday afternoon, Starbucks called me and said they thought it would be a wonderful idea and for me to get back in touch with them to toss around more ideas.   Now I don't know what to do.  Because the Deaf
community IS a small world, i'm afraid if i go thru with it, that it will get back to my instructor and he will be angry.  My intent is not to step on any toes in the Deaf Community, but try to become a part of it. 

Please any advice you have will be very helpful--as a hearing person, I'm
afraid to be too aggressive, but after all this IS MY EDUCATION and what I want to do, right?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Vancouver, WA



Dear B______,

Ah...let me see if I got this right...your instructor REQUIRES (as part of his syllabus) that you to participate in the Deaf Community so you can get your grade, then, when you take the initiative to participate--he slaps your wrist.

Or at least that is how you feel, eh?

There is a “strong” cultural reason for Deaf setting up events instead of Hearing people. A Hearing person is less likely to know about all the various OTHER events going on in the Deaf community.  A Hearing person who is not connected to the Deaf community might set up a “coffee night social” that conflicts with “Deaf Bingo” or “Deaf Bowling Night.”

Does that mean you can’t get involved or do anything?

Okay...well, let's examine this a bit and I'll give you a few pointers and cautions.

First of all it is about "perceived attitude."  Not "attitude" but "perceived attitude." can be the nicest, most humble person in the community, but if people perceive you as being an arrogant upstart they will respond to you accordingly.  Hey, take me for example. I’m a really nice guy, but you’d be amazed how many people think I’m a stuck up snob.  That is so untrue.  They are intimidated by me because of my degree, my passion on certain topics, my age, my mandrake (beard), my signing speed, my opinionated nature, and a thousand other personal aspects.  Thus being the case if we are in the same room they (some people) are afraid to approach and are thinking, I wish Dr. Vicars (Bill) would come approach me and acknowledge me.  Then if I don’t go meet them, they think, “He’s a snob.”  The truth of the matter is that I’m just shy.   Some of my colleagues would laugh out loud at that statement because they think I’m an extrovert.  And they are partially right.  I am friendly and outgoing--but only when I’m on-stage, in front of a classroom, or with a close friend. If you stick me in a group of “Hearing people” (non-signers) or a new group of Deaf people I do a total reverse and become an introvert.  But people don’t PERCEIVE it like that.  They only think, “Gee that confident, outgoing fellow over there doesn’t like me because he isn’t coming over to say hello.”  See my dilemma?

You have a similar situation where you want to push for improvement in the Deaf Community, but you don’t want to be or appear pushy.

So, how do you "get involved" without "taking charge" or looking like you are taking charge?

List of ideas:

1.  Use a liaison.  Find a deaf person who is patient and kind to hearing people and work through that person to influence change in the Deaf community.  Ask him to give you feedback on your ideas.  Then ask him to be your partner/spokesperson.

2.   Use an organization.  Join a Deaf Organization and propose your ideas at its meetings.  That way it will be the XYZ Deaf Club’s “coffee social” instead of Blakey Olson’s event.

3.  Set up an ASL Club at your school and get a Deaf student to participate on the board.  Then ask him to be the contact person and put his name, email, and TTY number on any flyers.  (Make sure this person is indeed a member of the local Deaf community.  Just because a person is physically deaf doesn’t mean he is culturally Deaf.)

4.  Subscribe to your local Deaf newspapers.  Get access to Deaf Calendars or bulletin boards.  This is critical for setting up events so that your events don’t conflict with established events.

5.  Never surprise announce new ideas or events.  Always “grow them” slowly.  For example don’t go to your instructor and spring it on him that you are setting up a Deaf coffee night.  Go back and read your original sentence.  You said, “…being proud of what I thought was a good thing, I emailed my instructor and told him.”  Whoops.  You see, it is okay to take pride in doing good things, but it is cultural suicide to APPEAR proud and ANNOUCE that YOU are the doer of good things.  That aspect of the Deaf community is a major roadblock for up and coming movers and shakers.

Instead of pouncing on the idea, you could have simply mentioned that you had been looking around for a deaf coffee social and that you “wondered” if the teacher knew of any.  Then when he responded in the negative, you could have “wondered” if he would be interested in meeting you and a few students at Starbucks for coffee, and that you’d pay for his coffee.  If he said “no” you could have “wondered” if he had any ideas regarding some other deaf coffee drinker that might enjoy a cup of coffee.

Then when you met with that coffee drinker at Starbucks you could indicate you’d like to do it again (and pay for his coffee again) and would he happen to have any deaf friends who want the same deal?

Now, let me share a different thought:

*  Your Deaf Culture instructor should be providing you with a LIST of Deaf events.  If he puts it on his syllabus then he had better make it possible to accomplish.  He is getting paid to teach the class and to take care of little details like that.  It is not the student’s job to scramble for events to attend.  Also, he should provide alternatives like a research paper or watch a set of videos.  If he puts “event attendance” in the syllabus, then it is the INSTRUCTOR’S job to provide a clear and safe path for the student.

Let me throw out a scenario for you.  Suppose an instructor REQUIRES attendance at a deaf event.  Then a young female (or male) student can’t find any event other than a Deaf Night at a local bar.  She goes to the bar and gets raped in the parking lot.  I’ll tell you, if it were my daughter I’d be suing that teacher’s rear end off the next day, (and that’s if I wasn’t in jail for having committed two murders). You might think this is a “made up” story that couldn’t happen.  Think again, then think twice.



In a message dated 1/13/2005 2:22:22 PM Pacific Standard Time, A student writes writes:
Bill, thanks you so much for your insight;  it really did help a lot.  And it's 2 different instructors i'm talking about.  The guy who doesn't seem supportive is my Sign Language Teacher .  My Deaf Studies instructor is the one who supports us going out into the community, and HAS given us a list of events and organizations to visit with.  His name is _______.
I see your point with the do-gooder thing now--guess i was just trying too hard to make an impression on the Sign language teacher, _____.  Anyways, thanks again for all your thoughts and i'm sure i'll be in touch again, lol.


In a message dated 1/21/2005 9:04:03 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Dr. Vicars,

I am looking for a book about one of the founders of RID, a Texas interpreter named Lillian Beard. I think the book is called, "Miss Lillian".
Have you ever heard of this book or do you know where I could find a copy? Thank you.
Suzanne Daniluk, R.N.
Houston, Texas
The 92 page book you are seeking is indeed titled, "Miss Lillian."
It was written by Jerry Seale and Jan Humphrey in 1977 and published by Deaf Ministry Services.  The publication date according to Amazon is 1974. That is different from the 1977 date indicated by Jan's bio at the Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf website. Additionally, it is listed under Jan's former last name "Ricks" instead of Humphrey.  The book is out of print but Amazon has assigned Store Identification Number (ASIN) B0006WY6I4 to it.  You can paste that number into their search box and it will take you to a page where you can "order it used" and they will put it on their "seek" list for you.
 My suggestion would be to call Jan directly at 604-515-1582 (v/tty) and ask her for information regarding how to get a copy of the book.  Or write to her at 104-1015 Columbia Street, #971 New Westminster, BC  V3M 6V3.
Dr. Vicars


In a message dated 1/21/2005 12:36:50 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Dr. Vicars,

Thank you so much for your prompt reply and forwarding the articles on Ms. Beard. She lives in the Houston area, is over 90 years old and is much beloved. Our college library contains a video of her signing, but no book! Hopefully, we can change that.  Thanks again.

Suzanne Daniluk


In a message dated 1/21/2005 6:48:22 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Could you tell me the asl sign for "stand in awe"?  Thank you,
Michelle Holt
It depends on the circumstances affecting the meaning. 
It could be anything from:
According to, "awe" means "a mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might."
Since you are likely signing a song about God you will want to choose something respectful and reverent like "ME WONDER-(think about) INSPIRE HONOR-(toward God)."
Dr. Vicars

In a message dated 1/21/2005 12:55:34 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
I have been composing a school project for History Day.  The topic I have chosen is Sign Language and Braille, including Helen Keller's struggle.  I am hoping that you could help me in my search for sources.  If you could e-mail me any info or web sites you would suggest please do so.  Just as an FYI I am on an extremely low budget because I have to pay for everything myself.
Thank You!!
Contact your school librarian.  Ask him or her for advice and or a book about how to find research information sources.  If I do the work of finding resources for you, you still won't know how to do it for the NEXT time you need to do a research paper.
One hint though is you might look for a book about Hellen Keller and then look in the back of it for that author's  "references" list (of sources that he used to write the book).  Then check out those books and articles from the library and read them yourself. Then pick the ones you want to use and write your own report.
Dr. Vicars

Sending files via email:

A teacher writes:
I let my students submit any of their written assignments via email. Plus occasionally I'd like to send them attachments. Some of them use MS Works, but I use MS Word or some other program.  This is an ongoing problem.  Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Teacher,
Instead of saving, try "SAVE AS" and then scroll down in the "Save as type:" box.  Choose "RTF." (Rich Text File.)
Then close the file, open your email program and attach it and send it.
Most word processors can open an .rtf file.
Good luck.
Dr. Vicars

In a message dated 1/28/2005 5:07:55 PM Pacific Standard Time, JBatt145 writes:
Hi Bill,
Can you give me a list of ASL slangs ?  I misplaced my list and was wondering if you could help me out?  I'd appreciate it very much.  Example signs such as "TRAIN-TO-GO" etc. 
Jenifer McManus :-)
Hi Jenifer,
I don't have a list handy.
But hey, I'll post this in my newsletter and have people send their list to you.
Then you can send me a list eh?

In a message dated 1/5/2005 9:20:47 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
     My name is Kandace Adsitt! I am currently taking your free online course, and I love it!!! I became interested in sign language when I had a Deaf interpreter for a Christian weekend I attended. The interpreters name is Cheryl Palmer, and currently she is working at the Rome school for the Deaf! I am writing this email in regards to the research paper. I was wondering what you thought about a research paper dealing with the differences in sign language in different communities, or different countries? The other idea I had was doing a research paper on how the Deaf and Hearing Peoples reactions were to intermixing at school, camps, or other places, when there is not a lot of knowledge of sign language by the Hearing Peoples. My only problem with this last one is that I am not sure of the availability of such studies on this. I thank you for taking the time to read this!
Kandace Adsitt
Hi Kandace,
I think both of your research ideas are terrific.
You might just end up doing some of the research yourself (on your second idea).
Since you have a contact at the Deaf School, you could design and administer a survey (after securing permission from the administration).
If I were you and I was doing such a research paper, I'd go to and type "Deaf ASL sign language" into the search feature.  Try it and see what comes up.
Then you can look at the articles and see what sources the authors are using.  You could then use interlibrary loan to get access to those books and or journals to write your own paper (and of course, give proper credit where it is due).
Best wishes for your success.
Dr. Vicars  (Bill)

In your January NL, Kandace Adsitt asked about ASL research topics. It seemed to me that her first proposals were extremely ambitious and would be suitable only at the post-grad and possibly doctoral level. I reproduce my e-mail to her FYI:

Gerry Batke



My name is Gerry Batke. I live in Toronto, am hearing, but have been associated with the Deaf community for many years. I used to teach at a local college so I know what you're up against when you undertake research. I saw your name and message in Dr Vicar's ASL newsletter.

I noted that you are considering comparing sign in different communities (presumably all your communities would be signing in ASL) however I foresee a significant obstacle: Short of living in each different community and integrating with its Deaf group, it will be essentially impossible to obtain adequate data from which to draw research. Even then, you would need to be very fluent in sign and your subjects would have to agree to be filmed. The time and cost of this approach would be substantial.

On the other hand, comparing ASL to the signed languages used elsewhere around the world (and there are a great many), is a huge task since there is as much difference between ASL and (say) BSL (British Sign Language) *** as there is between, for example, English and Spanish. To do anything useful would be a major effort as well.
*** as an example, compare American and British fingerspelling  (follow this link to see BSL fingerspelling: )

There is another option however that may serve your purposes. As you know, ASL was based on the sign language in use by the National Royal Institute for the Deaf in France and today, standard ASL bears clear similarities to French. You may also know that in Québec, Deaf use a variant of ASL called LSQ (Langue Signé du Québec). I stress that LSQ is not a different sign language, it is ASL but modified to suit the cultural and linguistic needs of a French speaking environment.

Your paper could explore the differences between LSQ and ASL , both cultural and linguistic. Your field work could likely be confined to contact with only a few LSQ signers. Depending on your research requirements, you may even be able to obtain what you need from web sources.

Anyway,  good luck with your work!


If Kandace were going to be doing the actual hands-on research herself then yes, I'd say the projects would be way too costly in terms of time and money.   But I get the feeling that she simply wants to find existing research that has already been done by other people and write a paper summarizing and explaining the findings of others.  That sort of research paper is appropriate and expected for undergraduate students. 
Such studies are plentiful.  For example David McKee and Graeme Kennedy's "Lexical Comparison of Signs From American, Australian, British, and New Zealand Sign Languages" James Woodward's "Sign Languages and Sign Language Families in Thailand and Viet Nam," Edgar & Susan Shroyer's "Signs Across America" and many others.
It would be a relatively simple matter for Kandace to survey other people's research papers and write a research paper (with appropriate citations and a references list--of course).  I agree that original research, as you suggest, would indeed be better suited for the graduate student.



In a message dated 1/7/2005 2:07:54 PM Pacific Standard Time, JammerMan65 writes:
In your opinion, would I be doing myself a disservice by taking a SEE class?  There is a free one being offered locally.
...  Regards,  Eric
There are purists out there who will try to convince you that taking a course in SEE (Signing Exact English) will corrupt your ASL (American Sign Language) development or would be bad for you.
I take a somewhat more European view of language development.  I've noticed that my friends and associates who were born and raised in Europe all seem to know at least two languages quite well and a smattering of several additional languages. I can't imagine their teachers and adult role models having told them, "Uh oh...better not learn that other language, it will corrupt you!"
Rather their opinion is one of "Learn as many languages as you can...the more languages and variations you learn, the more versatile you will become."
Dr. Vicars


I am somewhat concerned about your response to Eric. My mother tongue is German, my French though rusty now, was once fluent (comes from living in an English speaking province), and I studied Latin for four years in high school and a further three at university. I'm also a member of the Klingon Language Institute (no I don't claim to speak it!).

This kind of language diversity, though rare in the US, is, as you say, common in Europe. I would emphasise however that this multilingual capacity is almost always gained in childhood. Attempting to learn another language in adulthood, though possible, is a lot of work (as I expect you know well).

Years ago, when I first hired a Deaf person, I needed to communicate with him asap and so I memorised some sign vocabulary and used SEE. I used Joy of Signing and Signing Made Simple. Only in the last couple of years have I started the study of ASL and its grammar, and thus come to recognise and understand its status as a fully developed language. Indeed just last week I paged through Signing Made Simple and at virtually every page, realised that if my Sign teacher were to see me use the material in the book, there would be reprisals (she is one of the purists to whom you refer).

My Sign instructors consistently criticise me for using SEE. I try hard to use ASL structures, but me old habits trip me up with amazing frequency. While I concur with your general response to Eric, I would have urged him to study ASL first, and then take the SEE instruction.

I agree with you that the learning of another language never "corrupts", but commrade Eric may find his ASL progress slowed by his SEE habits.

Gerry Batke

I like your point about taking ASL first--prior to taking Signed English. You also make an excellent point regarding the age of acquisition affecting the outcome of language learning.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Bill  (3/1/05)

In a message dated 1/6/2005 3:00:45 PM Pacific Standard Time, sbaum@___ writes:
hello there

i really enjoy your site and have learned a lot from it. thank you for all
the time and energy you put into it!  i read awhile back (i think it was in
your newsletter) about an immersion program coming up this summer.  is that
still happening? i think it was going to be in california somewhere.  i had
written to someone expressing my interest in the program but then never
heard about it again. just curious if its still on, because it sounded like
a great opportunity. thanks and take care!

Yes, there is indeed a two-week ASL Immersion taking place this summer at California State University, Sacramento. It is sort of like an ASL boot-camp!  Students will participate in NINE HOURS of class each day. Classes will be taught without voice by three Deaf instructors. Before coming to Sac State students will prepare by completing a set of online vocabulary development assignments.  Students who successfully complete the program will receive 8 hours of college credit (semester system).
Here are some details:
ASL Summer Immersion Program:
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American Sign Language Immersion Program: Summer 2005
A 12-day immersion, plus pre-readings.

Offered by:  California State University Sacramento, College of Continuing Education (CSUS CCE) and the CSUS College of Education's ASL Program

Program Fee:
$1695 plus course materials (approximately $180.00).
Fee includes course and residence hall fees.

Application fee: $100 application fee required (to be applied toward program fee). Application fee can be paid by check made payable to CSUS. Visa, MasterCard or Discover are accepted. To pay the application fee by credit card please call (916) 278-4433.

Please apply early. Enrollment is limited.

April 1, 2005:  50% of program fee due.  Registration Deadline This deadline was chosen so that the college can send course packets (syllabus, dorm information, and in-house created study disk) prior to the start of pre-readings.  Students should also order their textbooks immediately upon registering to allow time to receive the books before the start of the pre-readings.

 May 16, 2005 Full refund of program fees will be given if request is made in writing by this date.


July 1:  Start of Pre-readings

July 25 (Monday) -  August 5 (Friday)  On Campus ASL Immersion

Monday, July 25, 2005  Starts at 1 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005 (Can go home at 9 p.m.)
Saturday, July 30, 2005  (Students may return home or stay at the dorm)
Sunday, July 31, 2005  (Students may return home or stay at the dorm)
Monday, August 01, 2005
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005 Ends at 1 p.m.
Students who pass the immersion program will receive 8 hours of college credit and a "certificate" of completion.  This is not the same as a being "certified."  But it is a nice indicator that you are beyond novice level.
●  Signing Naturally Level 3 Student DVD and Workbook Price: $69.95 (+S&H)
●  Signing Naturally Level 2 Student DVD and WorkbookPrice: $79.95 (+S&H)
●  Level 3 Practice CD $5.00
●  Level 3 Practice CD $5.00
(plus Shipping and Handling)
Ordering Information

Frequently asked questions:
Question: Does the dorm fee include food?
Answer: No.  The dorm does serve food but since students have varying food preferences we have decided to keep food costs separate.

To Register, call:  (916) 278-4433

Immersion Instruction Schedule

Sandra Thrapp:      9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
Byron Cantrell:       1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Kristine Hall :         6:00 PM to 9:00 PM



Units and Topics:


July 25

17: Talking about the Weekend


July 25

14: Complaining, Making Suggestions and Requests


July 26

15: Exchanging Personal Information: Life Events


July 26

17: (continued from previous day)


July 26

14: (continued from previous day)


July 27

15: (continued from previous day)


July 27

16: Describing and Identifying Things


July 27

13: Locating Things Around the House


July 28

CR: Cumulative Review


July 28

16: (continued from previous day)


July 28

13: (continued from previous day)


July 29

CR: (continued from previous day)


Aug 1

18: Narrating Unforgettable Moments


Aug 1

19: Sharing Interesting Facts


Aug 1

20: Explaining Rules


Aug 2

18: (continued from previous day)


Aug 2

19: (continued from previous day)


Aug 2

20: (continued from previous day)


Aug 3

21: Telling About Accidents


Aug 3

22: Talking About Money


Aug 3

23: Making Major Decisions


Aug 4

21: (continued from previous day)


Aug 4

22: (continued from previous day)


Aug 4

23: (continued from previous day)

All 3

Aug 5

Grading and Wrap Up

Note: This page is provided as a convenience only.  While every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this information it is not official.  Information contained on this page is superseded by information at the CSUS CCE site. For current official information you should contact Jennifer (Williams) Bannister at CSUS CCE at email or call her at (916) 278-4433.


Social Security Number:
Current Mailing Address:

Telephone Number:
E-mail Address:

Program Eligibility: Students who have completed at least two semesters of ASL Instruction or who have fluency in ASL.

Please list the ASL courses you have completed and the names of the colleges or institutions where you completed them:




Please note: Students enrolled in the 12-day intensive ASL Immersion Program on the CSUS campus will be required to live in the residence halls and communicate using only ASL for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Program Fee:
$1695 plus course materials. Fee includes course and residence hall fees.

Application fee: $100 application fee required (to be applied toward program fee). Application fee can be paid by check made payable to CSUS. Visa, MasterCard or Discover are accepted. To pay the application fee by credit card please call (916) 278-4433.

Please apply early. Enrollment is limited.

50% of program fee due:
April 1, 2005
Full refund of program fees will be given if request is made in writing by
May 16, 2005.

Please return application and fees to:
Jennifer Bannister
CSUS College of Continuing Education
3000 State University Drive East
Sacramento, CA 95819-6103

Signature: ___________________________________________ Date: __________________


 Kaleeadg [1:54 PM]:  I have a question regarding sign language and I am not for sure if this is the way to ask my question.
BillVicars [1:54 PM]: 
go ahead
Kaleeadg [1:56 PM]:  Ok my name is Ashlee and I am a senior in high school. I  am currently enrolled in American Sign Language II but I still can not sign in ASL format.  Or even translate it
Kaleeadg [1:57 PM]:  So I need to know how to practice ASL format.  My teacher doesn't require it
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  To learn ASL you will need to be exposed to it.
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  You can do this via videotapes.
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  or interaction with Deaf ASL signers.
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  Some books can be helpful too.
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  Try your library.
BillVicars [1:59 PM]:  Or the City library.
BillVicars [2:00 PM]:  Or spend your money and order some ASL products.
Kaleeadg [2:00 PM]:  In my class we have a girl that is hard of hearing but she signs in SEE because I have tried to get her to help me.  I have spent some money and bought a few books but they are not ASL format.
Kaleeadg [2:02 PM]:  The high school library does not have any sign books because they are phasing it out of curriculum.  I have checked out every book in the Public library. 
BillVicars [2:02 PM]:  You might check to see if your library does inter-library loan.
BillVicars [2:02 PM]:  That way you could expand your access to ASL materials.
BillVicars [2:03 PM]:  Or try a "college library."
BillVicars [2:03 PM]:  Also...look into "early enrollment" at your local college
BillVicars [2:03 PM]:  High school seniors can go to college with their principals persmission.
Kaleeadg [2:04 PM]:  Those are wonderful ideas.  I wish my "teacher" was as helpful
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  If you do find a college teacher...offer to be his or her "aide."
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  Offer to collect papers, 
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  help grading
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  clean the chalk board
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  arrange tables or chairs
BillVicars [2:04 PM]:  etc.
BillVicars [2:05 PM]:  In reciprocation he lets you "sit in" on his class.
Kaleeadg [2:05 PM]:  I will try that at OSU-OKC they are the only college that has an interpreting program
BillVicars [2:05 PM]:  You might also consider taking out an ad in the local paper.
BillVicars [2:06 PM]:  ASL tutor wanted.  Prefer Deaf individual to help me learn ASL.  Fee negotiable.
BillVicars [2:07 PM]:  Or set up your own ASL class.
Kaleeadg [2:07 PM]:  Maybe I can put flyers up at OSU-OKC
BillVicars [2:07 PM]:  Hire a deaf person to teach it.  
BillVicars [2:07 PM]:  Pay him $15 an hour or something.
BillVicars [2:07 PM]:  Then advertise and get students.  Charge them $30 per student.
BillVicars [2:07 PM]:  Use the tuition to cover your costs and pay the instructor.
BillVicars [2:08 PM]:  Can start small, in your living room.  Or maybe can use the local library.
BillVicars [2:08 PM]:  The library doesn't want to let you "earn" call it a club....
BillVicars [2:08 PM]:  and instead of "tuition" it is simply the "club membership fee."
BillVicars [2:09 PM]:  If you really want to learn the language get creative and make it happen.
Kaleeadg [2:09 PM]:  OK thank you so much.
BillVicars [2:09 PM]:  Welcome
BillVicars [2:09 PM]:  have a nice day.
Kaleeadg [2:09 PM]:  you too

In a message dated 1/2/2005 9:33:28 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Dear Bill,
Some months ago I wrote you to order the CDs. I have since learned how to fingerspell.... pretty well and have learned "baby language" basic get me by sign.
I am HH since a small child. That was before pennicillin. Massive ear infections took my hearing. (I am 72)  As a child, I had HH experience much like yours..... not understanding unless I could  see lips.... being in a crowd and not understanding a thing. I thought I was just plain stupid. I sat in back of class and couldn't understand anything the teacher was trying to explain.
Because I know how lonely and confusing it is to not hear, I learned sign in order to communicate with a deaf couple that we see at Elders Nutrition several times a week. (Redding Rancheria Elders Nutrition) I  do pretty well. At least, I am the only person who has tried to learn sign for them. I enjoy my friends very much. We sign and lip read and if that fails, the pencil and note book come out. I keep learning new signs as we talk. (They are very patient with my efforts)
Harold is easy to communicate with as he attended deaf school and can say enough word sounds to help me understand. Ethel is harder to understand. She never attended deaf school and can not make any word sounds or form words well enough for me to "lip read". She also can not read writing and Harold has to interpret for her sometimes. Ethel can read lips and understands a smile and a hug ... and that works for us. It amazes me that none in her family has ever bothered to learn sign.... except her daughter.
I enjoy your newsletter and usually print it for Harold.
I thought you might enjoy knowing how you have made three lives  happier.
{{{{LOVE}}}}    Betty Stanfill

Thank you.  And best wishes to all of you. 

In a message dated 1/15/2005 10:25:54 AM Pacific Standard Time, daweb@ writes:

Dr. Vicars... Hi again (long time passing)
I begin teaching (my 29th semester) this Tues. and still holding on to my ABC/ASL text.  I love the layout, the manner in which the authors introduce new information, and even the glossed answers to the exercises in the back of the book. 
I bought their new one that you mention "Learning American Sign Language" by Tom Humphries & Carol Padden. and am impressed with it as well.  I just haven't taken the time to create all new tests, supplements, etc around it like I have for the older one.
Do you teach from this text chapter by chapter?  Or do you skip around?? 
The only out of sequence thing I do is show the requirements for two kinds of questions: ___Q___ and ___WHQ___.   I introduce those in the beginning so the interactive exchanges can happen.
I teach on a 16 week 4credit hr  basis.  AND I do exactly what YOU stated:
If you aren't teaching fingerspelling, numbers, non-manual markers, various adverbial inflections, ASL grammar, and so forth, you can teach about 20 signs per hour. If you ARE teaching all of the goodies, having daily quizzes, throwing in a bit of history and culture, modeling the signs, providing guided practice (at the front of the class while you watch or interact), giving them small group practice time, and letting them ask whatever questions they have, ("What's a TTY?") then you are going to get through 10 to 15 signs per hour (in a beginning level course). And that's okay! That's the way it should be! Thoroughly covering 400 to 500 signs during a course is much better than doing a slipshod job of covering 800 to 1000 signs
I cover Chapters 1-8 (ASL 1)  9-15 (ASL II) and 16-22 (ASL III) and even giving them all of the above PLUS a couple of movies or invited guests, inviting them to Deaf breakfast weekly, getting them involved in a bicultural (state wide) workshop, and going on a field trip to the state school for the deaf,  we DO cover all 8 chapters. 
I just wondered if you have a curriculum plan/guide or supplements for the text you are using?  I might just get brave enough to try and switch.  I don't want to get so complacent in my teaching that it is no longer exciting to me.
Signingly yours, Brenda Dawe (ASLTA, NAD IV)


Hi Brenda,

Just to clarify, I do not currently teach from the "Learning ASL" book by Humphries and Padden. I have it on my shelf and I consider it an excellent text, but for the past several years I've been focused on developing my own discourse-based method of teaching using Powerpoint slides and an LCD Projector with practice sheets from ASLU (
You mention "getting brave" and possibly switching to another curriculum, (grin). That is indeed quite the committment if you've devoted many years to a previous curriculum.
You are welcome to use and teach from any of the resources at


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