“Where is pure ASL?” (with an image of a treasure)
In the game show: The audience applauses. Host: (applauses) The ASL Linguistic Department is hosting this race. The prize is a decent amount of gold. Win this race by being the first to show up that has a video evidence of pure ASL without any English words on this list. None of them! It has to be on the conversation level, not from script or acting. Yeah! The audience cheers! Host: Are you ready to race?! Contestant 1: Bring it on! Contestant 2: Yeah! Contestant 3: Yes! Host: (applauses) The reason we are hosting this is because ASL teachers have been preaching to sign in pure ASL but where is the hard evidence that this exists? This is why we are doing this race. Get ready! 3, 2, 1, go! The contestants dash out. On a map titled, “in search for pure ASL” with three lines racing across the U.S. and Canada and coming back to the starting point. Contestant 2: I have gotten a video evidence from a basketball tournament at a deaf school with many people. Let’s watch it! Host: This is exciting! The audience claps. Contestant 2 presents the footage. In the video, “Contestant 1: Basketball Game” with someone sitting in a stadium: Narrator: At the intense face-off, the player made a quick jump shot and spun into a slam dunk. I find them astonishing. This is one of the reasons why I want to come and witness history in the making. (Then, the video pauses) Host: Hold! Rewind it. The video rewinds. Narrator: …astonishing. This is one of… A circle draws around the sign “of” in the video. Host: Ah. There is the spelled word “of”. Shoot! The audience finds this surprising. Contestant 2: What? No! From what I see, does ASL follow English 100%? No. Is ASL free of "English" words? No. On the scale of English influence, ASL is on the low side. ASL does include “English” words, but it has specifications of when to use them or not. That’s all! Host: Ugh sorry, next contestant. Contestant 3: He got his film at a school. You know they were academics so they usually have English words filled in their talk. So, scratch that. I have the hard video evidence of true Deaf grassroots on poker night. Watch this one! Host: Yes! The audience hoorays. Contestant 3 presents the footage. In the video, “Footage 2: Poker Night” with a player: Player: I laid my card down and we all placed our bets. Someone looked at me concerned. I discreetly told them plainly. “Be yourself as long as you have strategies.” (The video pauses) Host: Oh! Rewind it. The video rewinds. Player: …discreetly told them plainly. “Be…” A circle draws around the sign “be” in the video. Host: Ehh! There is the spelled word “be”. Shoot! The audience looks confused. Contestant 3: Please! Honestly, languages usually are influenced by others. For example, at the border between spoken English and Spanish countries, people speak a mixture of both languages as they are influenced. It’s normal. The same goes here in the U.S. and Canada. ASL has an English influence, and that’s normal. Uh? Host: Sorry, next contestant. Contestant 1: Yeah! I have a footage from vlogs by Deaf grassroots. Oh, the gold prize looks so appealing! Let’s watch the footage! Host: It's a must! Audience: Yeah! Contestant 1 presents the footage. In the video, “Footage 3: Vlog” with a vlogger: Vlogger: Screw you. Even with your bad mouthing about me spreading out and now they look down on me. At least I have been honest to you all ,but you pay no attention. So screw you! (The video pauses) Host: Ah! Rewind it. The video rewinds. Vlogger: At least I have been honest to… A circle draws around the sign “to” in the video. Host: There is the signed word “to”. Ohh! The audience looks confused again. Contestant 1: Uh no! from what I see, both English and ASL have some similarities yet differences. For example, English includes “to” more often whereas ASL includes “to” less as it has specific usages. That’s all. Uh? Host: There is still no hard evidence yet! Where is pure ASL? Do any of you know? Audience: (raises his hand) From what I see, what is considered as true ASL? Let’s look at how Deaf communities sign and that is what ASL looks like, not something that is made up. ASL actually has specifications for when to use “English” words or not. ASL does have its own standard. Host: Oh, does that mean we have to stop spreading the assumption that English words are not part of ASL? Oh I see. Audience: Also, where is pure ASL? Is it found somewhere far like searching for a treasure chest? No. It is already here in our casual talk. This is pure ASL. The language in our casual talk is considered as gold. Host: Oh, now I see. Wow!