My interest during my MFA degree has been on language and evolution of language. During my research, I came across a written form for American Sign Language (ASL). Reading about written sign language made me think that these symbols are used to make more than just an alphabet, they are used to create a community and bring people together.
I read how the deaf community did not really have books written specifically for them. To me, this was a disconnect from their daily lives, where they use their hands and body language to communicate. Others must have thought the same and created the written sign language which uses symbols that represent the body, hand movements of signed languages. After reading the following quote from the sign writing website
, I was inspired me to work with the existing written symbols;
“SignWriting makes it possible to have books, newspapers, magazines, dictionaries, and literature written in signs. It can be used to teach signs and signed language grammar to beginning signers...”
English literature has vast expressiveness embedded in it and there are endless possibilities to have non-linear narrative formats which seems to be missing in the written ASL. My question regarding the written sign language was on its the expressiveness. I used one of the provocations provided to us during the process (Drake) and applied that to create rapper signs which can be used in social media of text messaging. In my opinion, trying to insert pop/rap culture into new additions to the existing ASL will help deaf teens to be more confident and have their very own communication systems.