Deaf Prison Inmates: Time to be Heard
The majority of deaf people in the United States utilizes American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary mode of communication. ASL is a completely different language from English, that has its own grammar and syntax and is based on the use of signs representing a limited number of primarily concrete terms. Because the average deaf high school graduate reads and writes at the fourth grade level, many deaf Americans have limited knowledge of the rules of English grammar and do not use English grammar even when writing. By way of example, a person signing or writing in ASL might state “[y]our true most need tell me must,” while an English speaking person would state “[y]ou must tell me what you really need most;” a person signing or writing in ASL might ask “[t]ouch San Francisco already you?”, while an English speaking person would ask “[h]ave you been to San Francisco?”
Bonnie P. Tucker, Deaf Prison Inmates: Time to be Heard, 22 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1 (1988).
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol22/iss1/1