Deaf Popular Culture

In our blogs we have often used the term Deaf Culture, but that takes on a little different meaning if you just add the word “Pop” in between. There are certain very recognizable celebrities in Deaf Pop Culture, such as the famous actress Marlee Matlin, who has starred in a successful film version of Children of a Lesser God (1986), originally published as a play in 1980 by Mark Medoff. Marlee has also been featured in several TV shows, including recent reality hits like The Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars. Speaking of Children of the Lesser God, actress Phyllis Frelich won a Tony Award for her role in the stage production. Do you want to know what else is incredible? Lou Ferrigno, American actor and body builder, well known for his role as the Incredible Hulk in the 1970’s and 80’s is also a Deaf individual.

Those in the Deaf community are more likely to know the name of I. King Jordan, but hearing people should learn more about this first Deaf president of Gallaudet University and the interesting history surrounding it (our next set of blogs will focus on history, so you may see more on that here too). Additionally, Heather Whitestone is worth noting for being the first Deaf woman to win the title of Miss America!  So what is stopping you from digesting that next American Sign Language (ASL) lesson? You never know when you might run into the next stage or screen star in the Deaf community.

Question From a Subscriber: Why Doesn’t ASLdeafined Work on the I-Pad?

Recently, we received an email from a subscriber asking why ASLdeafined doesn’t work with the I-pad.  With that concern, I immediately contacted Apple to find out why Adobe Flash wasn’t installed on the I-pad.  I also inquired about the possibilities of Adobe Flash being installed on future models of their Tablet.  The gentlemen informed me that because Adobe Flash uses a great amount of battery, it would not be installed at this point in time.  Then, he continued to explain to me that Apple was coming out with its own version of Adobe Flash called, “HTML 5”.

For those of you who have another brand of the Tablet, you know ASLdeafined is very compatible with it.  Our entire site is based on Adobe Flash technology.  However, we are in the process of preparing our site to be converted over to HTML 5 when that time occurs.

We sure appreciate all of your questions we have been receiving on a daily basis.  Please continue to send us your concerns.

American Sign Language: Declarative Sentences in ASL

Learners of American Sign Language seem to have a difficult time understanding the structure of ASL.  For the next couple of posts, I will be discussing each type of sentence structure known to American Sign Language.  Then, I will give you a quiz to see how well you do at the end of each posting.

First of all, not everyone using American Sign Language signs “Pure” ASL.  Usually, deaf and hearing people alike will sign some version of ASL and Pidgin Signed English (PSE), which is using American Sign Language, but in English word order.  As a note, remember, ASL does not use words like, “be”, “am”, “or”, etc.  That would be more of a Signed English version of sign language.

Now, that leads us to our first sentence structure, “Declarative Sentences”.  A declarative sentence simply tells a statement, or makes a declaration.

There are a few ways to sign words in ASL.  One of the most important things to remember when learning American Sign Language is that every person will sign differently.  Here is a simple declarative sentence used in ASL:


  1.  Subject (Who or what)?
  2.  Verb (predicate)
  3.  Object

So, now you have the simple declarative statement structure in ASL (SVO).

Example of a declarative sentence in English and in ASL:

English:  Paul bought a car.

ASL:               Subject = Paul             Verb = Bought           Object = Car

Complete ASL Declarative Sentence:  Paul bought car


English:  The cup fell on the floor.

ASL:  Subject = Cup                Verb = Fell.                Object = Floor

Complete ASL Declarative Sentence:  Cup fall floor


English:  The store closes at 9:00 p.m.

ASL:  Subject = Store                        Verb = Close     Object (Time) = 9:00 night

Complete ASL Declarative Sentence:  Store close (time) 9:00 night

Now, are you ready for your quiz?

[polldaddy poll=5245547]


On, we have ASL grammar exercises that help you understand the structure of American Sign Language.  If you have not seen these activities, please sign in and try them out for yourself.  (By the way, the answer for the quiz is:  “C”)