Degree Type

Thesis (Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

David Gow

Abstract

American Sign Language (ASL) is a non-verbal language that is utilized primarily by the deaf and hard of hearing community. This language contains grammar, morphology and syntax just like any spoken language and is estimated to be the 3rd most commonly used language in the United States. Due to their inability to vocally communicate, those who are Deaf often find themselves at a loss attempting to communicate with those who are hearing. What is even more concerning is that many people know very little about Deaf Culture and never have the opportunity to learn ASL. Many liberal art higher education institutions require students enroll in a World Language course as a part of the curriculum and offer languages such as Spanish, French, Italian and German or even Arabic, Latin or Mandarin Chinese; however, very few universities offer American Sign Language courses. In 2011, at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), one student took on the task of creating an ASL curriculum. He noticed that many students on campus had a desire to learn ASL and were frustrated that this class was not offered at the time. He went forward to UCLA Administration and presented them with statistics and information, urging them to begin offering ASL Classes on campus that could be taken as a Foreign Language requirement. The goal of this Thesis Project is to present to the World Language and Culture Department similar information regarding students desire to learn American Sign Language as well as illustrate the inaccessibly of classes at other institutions in the hopes that the University will consider implementing American Sign Language courses in the near future.

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