This program provides an understanding of the nature of American Sign Language and sufficient vocabulary to permit reasonable communication with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. The program covers finger spelling, numbers, common phrases, and specialized signs. (38 minutes)
This program shows viewers how to sign each letter of the alphabet, then demonstrates the signs for introductions and greetings, family members, rooms in the house, animals, and question forms. Segments of the video are displayed first without and then with text so that viewers can test their understanding, and a story section allows for assessment of comprehension of longer conversations. Part of the series American Sign Language. (54 minutes).
Complex and highly sophisticated, sign languages have proved excellent tools for analyzing the foundation of human language capability. In this program, Dr. Jonathan Miller weaves together the history of sign languages for the Deaf with insights into the natural synergy between language, vision, and dexterity to support his conviction that there is a common mental structure underlying all languages, regardless of their outward expression. Along the way, Dr. Miller skewers a number of enduring misconceptions—for example, that sign languages are purely iconic and therefore incapable of conveying abstract ideas. (47 minutes)