ASL Courses

*Elementary and Intermediate ASL Courses:

*LING 071. American Sign Language I: Introduction to ASL, Part I.

*LING 072. American Sign Language II: Introduction to ASL, Part II.

*LING 073. American Sign Language III: Intermediate ASL, Part I

*LING 074. American Sign Language IV: Intermediate ASL, Part II.

*LING 091. Intensive ASL III/IV:  A six-week intensive ASL course that, upon successful completion, will allow students to complete the language requirement.  (Offered every other year–in even-numbered years).

A separate section focusing on Medical ASL is offered in the spring semester. For description, please see below.

*LING 074 American Sign Language IV (Medical).

This course is a continuation of ASL and its fundamental structures, with a focus on medical situations and settings. It is a parallel course to the other LING 074 sections, and follows all goals of LING 074 with a concentration in reinforcing negotiation skills and vocabulary in medical settings as well as a continued awareness of deaf cultural tendencies. The course is conducted in ASL.

Advanced ASL Courses:

LING 075. American Sign Language V (offered every other fall semester, in odd years).  This course is an Advanced ASL course in which students learn and practice advanced ASL skills via direct instruction as well as content-based discussion and narrative. The second half of this course centers on American Deaf history, starting with its pre-history in 18th century France through modern day American experiences.


LING 076. Deaf Literature, Performance, Art, and Film. (offered every other fall semester, in even years; satisfies the College’s Cultural Diversity in the United States requirement).

This course is an advanced/conversational ASL course that explores several key topics related to Deaf culture and the Deaf experience s influence on literature (both written and signed), theatre, fine and visual arts, and film -both Deaf and hearing directed and acted. Using only ASL in class, students learn about various perspectives and approaches to each of the themes and topics of the course. Some questions to explore and answer in this course will be: What is Deaf Literature? The Deaf Lens: What is it? How is it different from a hearing perspective on film? How is Deafness expressed differently in each of the arts discussed in this course? Analysis and discussion will come from readings as well as viewings of various types of Deaf arts.


LING 077. Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) in ASL/Deaf Studies

For this course, students will attend a local Deaf community partner organization on a weekly basis where they well participate in and contribute to the organization via mutually developed activities and projects. Students will also have formal class on a weekly basis with discussion and activities centering on reflection of community-based experiences in the target language via linguistic as well as cultural lenses. Additionally, drawing from the required Linguistics and other ASL/Deaf Studies coursework, students will develop an inquiry question and conduct preliminary community-centered research to analyze sociolinguistic variations of ASL and Deaf cultural attitudes, behaviors, and norms.  Ongoing reflections and discussions–formal and informal–on Deaf cultural/Theoretical topics drawing from readings and community experiences will be integral to the course experience.  Concurrent or past coursework in LING 078 (Deaf Culture) and permission from the department required for this course.

Important:  This class requires students to have required state clearances for working in schools in place before the semester starts. Students should be in contact with the ASL program director during advanced registration period in order to secure a placement in the community. Placement in and registration for the course can otherwise not be guaranteed.


LING 078.  Deaf Culture (An Academically Based Community Service course; satisfies the College’s Cultural Diversity in the United States requirement)

This course is an advanced/conversational ASL course that explores several key topics related to Deaf Culture.  Using only ASL in class, students will read and discuss books, articles, and films related to the following topics:  Deaf History, Deaf Identity, Deafness as Asset, Communication Issues and Pathological Perspectives on Deafness, Deafness and Education, Deaf/Hearing Family Dynamics.  Language growth will stem from direct instruction as well as through the course of class conversation. Students will collaborate with the instructor and our Deaf community liaison to develop and host an event that is accessible to Deaf and hearing people alike.

*At least one section of Elementary and Intermediate ASL (LING 071-074) are offered each semester.  Satisfactory completion of the four-course sequence satisfies the College language requirement.

Special course–not offered regularly:

LING 079, Penn Global Seminar: Disability Rights and Oppression: Experiences within Global Deaf Communities

This course explores the linguistic and social statuses of global Deaf communities with respect to language rights and efforts toward parity with spoken language communities. We will begin by providing some background and context for understanding Deaf communities and people as both linguistic and cultural minorities as well as members of a disability group.  We then explore various examples of oppression experienced by Deaf people throughout history and today, with the Milan Conference of 1880 as a focus point for highlighting how this oppression is institutionalized and reverberates throughout societies. We explore the lasting effects of linguistic and cultural marginalization of deaf people in global terms, using the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a basis for comparative measurement.  Language policy and planning in selected countries around the world and the impact on their respective deaf communities will also be explored. Social constructions of disability and intersectionality theories play heavily into the foundations of this class. Do note that this course will include a module on Italian Sign Language (LIS) and will give opportunities to learn and use LIS in and amongst Italian Deaf community members during travel to Italy.

Offered Spring 2019