Detail View: RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive: Representations

Filename: 
ds_0049_stokoerepresentations_cap_01.mp4
Identifier: 
ds_0049_stokoerepresentations_cap_01.mp4
Title: 
Representations
Creator: 
Stokoe, William C
Subject: 
American Sign Language
Subject: 
Sign language
Subject: 
Historical linguistics
Summary: 
Dr. William Stokoe, a researcher who proved that ASL is a language with his 1960 groundbreaking research, shares his theory of the evolution of human language. He asserts that sign languages evolved into spoken languages.
Publisher: 
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Digital Publisher: 
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - RIT Archive Collections
Date of Original: 
1996
Date of Digitization: 
2018
Broad Type: 
moving image
Digital File Format: 
mp4
Physical Format: 
VHS
Dimensions of Original: 
61 minutes
Language: 
American Sign Language
Language: 
English
Original Item Location: 
RITDSA.0049
Library Collection: 
Sculptures in the Air: An Accessible Online Video Repository of the American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry and Literature Collections
Library Collection: 
ASL Lecture Series DVDs
Digital Project: 
2018-2019 CLIR Grant-ASL Poetry and Literature
Catalog Record: 
https://albert.rit.edu/record=b3955838
Catalog Record: 
https://twcarchivesspace.rit.edu/repositories/2/resources/837
Place: 
New York - Rochester
RIT Spaces and Places: 
Henrietta Campus
Rights: 
RIT Libraries makes materials from its collections available for educational and research purposes pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.
Rights: 
CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Transcript: 
I'M BARBARA RAY HOLCOMB, AND I'M ONE OF THE COORDINATORS OF THE ASL LECTURES SERIES. REALLY OUR COMMITTEE IS PLEASED AND HONORED TO HAVE DR. STOKOE HERE. EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT ADVERTISED AS PART OF OUR REGULAR SERIES, WE'VE PROVIDED TODAY'S PROGRAM AS A SPECIAL HONOR. DR. STOKOE HAS DONE A LOT OF ASL RESEARCH, AND WE'VE REALLY BEEN INSPIRED BY HIS INITIAL WORK IN ESTABLISHING THE RECOGNITION OF AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AS A LANGUAGE. DR. STOKOE IS HERE WITH OUR CENTER FOR TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND LEARNING AS A VISITING SCHOLAR. HE'LL BE WORKING HERE FOR ONE MONTH, AND WE REALLY APPRECIATE THE HONOR OF HAVING HIM HERE. HE'S ALSO A PROFESSOR EMERITUS AT GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY AND IS INVOLVED WITH THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT THERE AS HE HAS BEEN FOR MANY YEARS. HE'S WRITTEN A NUMBER OF ARTICLES, MADE NUMEROUS PRESENTATIONS, AND PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING DR. STOKOE. [APPLAUSE] STOKOE: THANK YOU, BARBARA. HA HA HA! THANK YOU VERY MUCH, BARBARA. UH... I WISH I COULD GIVE YOU THE PRESENTATION IN SIGNING THAT YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND AND ENJOY, BUT I'M GOING TO LEAVE IT TO THE PROS. HEH HEH. FIRST OF ALL, I'M IMMENSELY HAPPY TO BE HERE. I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS, BUT I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WOULD MEET SO MANY NEW AND INTERESTING PEOPLE. I KNEW I HAD OLD FRIENDS HERE, BUT I'VE JUST BEEN HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE FOR THE LAST FEW DAYS, MEETING ENTHUSIASTIC MEMBERS OF YOUR COMMUNITY, STAFF, FACULTY, STUDENTS, AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AND ALL, AND IT'S JUST A REAL THRILL TO AN OLD HACK OF 13 YEARS-- 13 YEARS RETIRED NOW TO COME BACK INTO THE MIDST OF AN OPERATION THAT'S GOING LIKE THIS ONE IS. JUST CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU FROM NTID AND RIT ON WHAT A FINE INSTITUTION YOU'RE IN. I'M GONNA TAKE THAT WORD BACK TO WASHINGTON WITH ME, TOO. HEH. I'M NOT SURE WHAT YOU EXPECTED FROM ME THIS MORNING. I'M NOT SURE I CAN GET USED TO THE ECHO EITHER. HEH HEH! UH, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT METHODS OF COMMUNICATING. I UNDERSTAND THERE'S A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DISCUSSION OF THAT GOING ON UP HERE. [LAUGHTER] I WILL SAY THAT I THINK WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO IN THE EDUCATIONAL WORLD IS USE WHATEVER WORKS BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS, AND I THINK WE STILL NEED A LOT MORE INVESTIGATION OF WHAT IT IS THAT WORKS BEST, WHERE--AT HOME OR IN SCHOOL-- FOR WHOM-- FOR DEAF CHILDREN, CHILDREN WITH HEARING LOSS OR MORE, CHILDREN WHO DIFFER BECAUSE THEIR DEAFNESS OCCURRED AT DIFFERENT AGES-- AND AT WHAT AGE. WHAT'S APPROPRIATE FOR TEENAGERS IN HIGH SCHOOL OR YOUNG ADULTS IN COLLEGE MAY NOT BE AT ALL APPROPRIATE IN THE NURSERY SCHOOL OR IN KINDERGARTEN. SO WE'LL LEAVE THAT ASIDE AT LEAST UNTIL NEXT WEEK WHEN I UNDERSTAND THERE'S A RESUMPTION OF WORLD WAR III. [LAUGHTER] WHAT I DO WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS REPRESENTATION. THAT IS THE WAY THINGS INSIDE OUR HEADS GET OUT WHERE PEOPLE CAN SEE THEM OR HEAR THEM. NORMALLY, WE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED THAT WHAT WE'RE THINKING CAN BE REPRESENTED BY SPEAKING OR BY SIGNING OR BY WRITING, AND THAT WILL SHOW WHAT WE WERE THINKING, AND IF THAT DOESN'T WORK, THERE'S THE POSSIBILITY OF DRAWING OR PAINTING OR DANCING OR MAKING MUSIC, BUT IF WE WANT TO FIND OUT HOW WE HAPPEN TO HAVE THIS POWER OF REPRESENTING THINGS, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE WAY THINGS GET REPRESENTED ANYWHERE, ANYTIME BY ANY LIVING ORGANISM. I MEAN, THIS IS-- REPRESENTATION IS NOT SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL AND UNIQUE. LANGUAGE IS SUPPOSED TO BE UNIQUE TO THE HUMAN SPECIES, AND PROBABLY IT IS. WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY OTHER ANIMALS YET THAT CAN GO QUITE AS FAR AS WE CAN, BUT I THINK, TOO, THAT THIS POWER OF REPRESENTATION, POWER OF THOUGHT MUST BE A NATURAL THING. IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT CAME IN ON A--ON--YEAH-- UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT. IT'S NOT ALIEN. IT'S NOT AN INVASION FROM A DIFFERENT WORLD THAN OURS. IT MUST BE NATURAL. SO I'M TAKING THE POSITION THAT THINKING COMES FROM REPRESENTATION. IT'S NOT THAT WE HAVE THE THOUGHTS FIRST AND THEN WE REPRESENT THEM, BUT MAYBE IT WAS REPRESENTATION THAT GAVE US THE THOUGHTS IN THE FIRST PLACE. THAT, AGAIN, IS THE WAY OUR LANGUAGE WORKS. I CAN SAY IT THAT WAY, BUT WHAT I REALLY MEAN IS THAT THE REPRESENTATION HELPS OUR THINKING. [AUDIO DISTORTED] THE ASL SIGN FOR BUILDING IS JUST A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT. ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER, AND THEN OTHER COMES ON TOP AND SO ON UP. WE ASSUME THAT THE THOUGHTS THAT WE HAVE HERE IN OUR HEADS ARE THERE AND ALWAYS WERE THERE, AND WE ASSUME, ALSO, I THINK, THAT LANGUAGE EXISTS SO THAT WE CAN REPRESENT THESE THOUGHTS. WE ALSO ASSUME THAT THERE'S A STRICT ORDER IN THIS. FIRST, WE HAVE A THOUGHT, AND THEN WE GIVE IT REPRESENTATION. WELL, THAT MAY BE HOW IT IS NOW, BUT I'M GOING TO ARGUE THAT REPRESENTING THINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE IS WHAT GAVE US THE ABILITY TO HAVE THOUGHTS, TO THINK. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THAT WILL CUT DOWN THE ECHO. I BELIEVE THAT THINKING AND REPRESENTATION MUST HAVE HAPPENED TOGETHER, DEVELOPED TOGETHER, EACH ONE HELPING THE OTHER, AND SINCE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NATURAL DEVELOPMENTS, ALL THIS BEGAN A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF LIFE ON THIS PLANET, THE BEGINNING OF LIFE ON EARTH. THAT'S A LONG-- WE'RE ONLY GONNA HAVE TIME HERE TO EXAMINE CLOSELY THE FIRST 20 MILLION OR 30 MILLION YEARS. [LAUGHTER] THE STORY BEGINS WITH ORGANISMS THAT CERTAINLY DO NOT THINK. IF YOU ADD SUGAR TO WATER CONTAINING BACTERIA, THE BACTERIA WILL MOVE TOWARD THE PLACE IN THE SOLUTION WHERE THE SUGAR IS STRONGEST. IF YOU TOUCH A SNAIL, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THE TOUCH. IT JUST DRAWS BACK INTO ITS SHELL. A DOG SNIFFING A TREE MAY NOT BE THINKING, BUT SOMEHOW, THE DOG'S NOSE KNOWS THAT ANOTHER DOG HAS BEEN THERE. NOW ALL LIFE IS MADE OUT OF THE SAME KIND OF MATERIAL. ALL LIFE IS GOVERNED BY THE GENERAL LAWS OF NATURE, THE LAWS OF PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, AND LIFE IS ALSO SHAPED BY THE INTERIOR CODE OF DNA. I WON'T SAY THE WHOLE THING OUT. TAKES TOO LONG TO FINGERSPELL THAT. DNA IS BETTER. HEH. THE DOG'S KNOWLEDGE AND OUR THINKING BOTH HAD TO EVOLVE FROM SIMPLER THINGS SUCH AS THE REACTION OF THE BACTERIA AND THE SNAIL. FOR THE SNAIL--I'M SORRY. FOR THE BACTERIA, ELECTROCHEMICAL CHARGES, THE SUGAR IONS IN THE WATER, REACH THE BACTERIUM'S SINGLE CELL DIRECTLY. IT DOESN'T NEED A NERVOUS SYSTEM. BUT IN THE SNAIL, NERVES ON THE SURFACE SEND ELECTROCHEMICAL SIGNALS TO OTHER NERVES, WHICH MAKE THE MUSCLE CONTRACT. HUMAN BODIES HAVE BILLIONS OF MORE NERVES-- BILLIONS MORE NERVES THAN A SNAIL HAS, BUT THEY HAVE SOMETHING ELSE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, AND THAT IS NERVES IN OUR BODIES ARE VERY HIGHLY ORGANIZED, AND THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE ORGANIZATION IS IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. SO FOR US, MESSAGES DO NOT TRAVEL ALONG THE NERVES FROM SKIN TO MUSCLE DIRECTLY. THE MESSAGES FROM OUR SENSORY SYSTEMS ARE ROUTED TO OUR BRAINS, WHERE THEY'RE MONITORED AND THEY'RE ALTERED AND OTHERWISE PROCESSED, AND MESSAGES GO FROM THE BRAIN TO THE MUSCLES, WHICH CAUSE THE MOVEMENT. NOW WE'RE GETTING TOWARD REPRESENTATION NOW, SIGNS AND TOKENS. THINGS LIKE SUGAR AND DNA AND THE SCENT OF DOGS MAY APPEAR TO REPRESENT SOMETHING TO SOME CREATURE, BUT THE ANIMAL DOES NOT NECESSARILY MAKE THEM AS REPRESENTATIONS. INSTEAD, THEY ARE PRESENTATIONS. THEY'RE PRESENTATIONS OF THE ENVIRONMENT TO THE INDIVIDUAL. WE MAY SEE IN NATURE SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE REPRESENTATION. I EXPECT YOU'VE ALL SEEN STICK INSECTS. THESE ARE INSECTS THAT LOOK LIKE A TWIG. WELL, OF COURSE BECAUSE THEY LOOK LIKE A TWIG, THEY DON'T GET EATEN BY A BIRD, AND WE MIGHT SAY THAT THE SHAPE OF THE INSECT IS REPRESENTING SOMETHING THAT'S NOT ITSELF, BUT THAT'S NOT REPRESENTATION THAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. THAT JUST HAPPENS. THAT'S IN DNA. THAT'S THE WAY THE INSECT IS MADE. HOWEVER, WHEN WE COME TO THE DOG, THE DOG HAS A CHOICE. THE DOG SNIFFING THE TREE MAY OR MAY NOT DECIDE TO LEAVE A SCENT TOKEN OF ITS OWN. IF IT DOES, THE URINE SPRAYED ON THE TREE TRULY REPRESENTS THE DOG TO OTHER DOGS, AND IT ALSO REPRESENTS THE DOG TO HIMSELF IF HE HAPPENS TO COME BY THAT TREE THE NEXT MORNING. NEVERTHELESS, INTELLIGENT AS DOGS ARE, THEY HAVE NEVER MADE A LANGUAGE OUT OF THESE CHEMICAL SIGNS. UH... NOW TAKE CROWS. THE BIRD SPECIES I ADMIRE MOST, I THINK. CROWS DO SEEM TO HAVE A KIND OF RUDIMENTARY LANGUAGE OF CALLS. THEY CERTAINLY CAN COUNT. A CONTEMPORARY OF MINE IN GRADUATE SCHOOL ACTUALLY DID A DISSERTATION ABOUT THE COUNTING ABILITY OF CROWS, AND THAT'S CORNELL, 1946, IF YOU NEED TO LOOK IT UP. WELL, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF STUDY OF BIRD SONGS AND ANIMAL CALLS AND OTHER SOUNDS ANIMALS MAKE AS LOOKING FOR THE BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF LANGUAGE, BUT LET'S FACE IT. HOW MANY THINGS CAN SOUNDS REPRESENT NATURALLY? UH... NEVERTHELESS, THERE IS A LOT OF FASCINATION WITH WHAT ANIMALS CAN DO WITH LANGUAGE. I HAVE MET AND SEEN THE FILMS OR VIDEOS OF IRENE PEPPERBERG, WHO HAS DONE WORK WITH GRAY PARROTS THAT'S PRETTY WELL PUBLISHED IN "SCIENCE" AND IN MORE POPULAR MAGAZINES. THE BEST OF THEIR PARROTS IN THAT LAB CAN NOT ONLY IMITATE DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN THE LAB, BUT WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THE RECORDING, YOU CAN TELL WHICH PERSON IT IS THE BIRD IS IMITATING. THEY DON'T GET JUST THE WORDS. THEY GET THE WHOLE SOUND OF THE PERSON'S VOICE AND MANNER OF SPEAKING, AND YET TO GET TO WHERE WE WANT TO GO, I THINK SOUNDS ARE A DEAD-END STREET. I BELIEVE THAT THE FIRST CREATURES TO REPRESENT SOMETHING THEY KNEW AND THAT THEY COULD READ BACK AGAIN WERE THE ANCESTORS WE SHARE WITH CHIMPANZEES. WE KNOW HUMANS HAVE THIS ABILITY, AND BOTH IN EXPERIMENTAL SETTINGS AND IN THE WILD, CHIMPANZEES DEMONSTRATE JUST A LITTLE BIT OF THIS ABILITY. THEY HAVE TWO GESTURES THAT ARE WIDELY KNOWN AND SEEN. THEY HAVE ONE GESTURE THAT MEANS "GIVE ME FOOD" AND ANOTHER ONE THAT MEANS "GROOM ME HERE," AND THEY TOUCH THE PART OF THE BODY THEY WANT THE OTHER ONE TO GROOM. ALSO, GERALD EDELMAN IN HIS BOOK "THE REMEMBERED PRESENT"-- AND THE SUBTITLE OF THAT BOOK IS "A BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS." EDELMAN, A NOBEL-PRIZE WINNER, IN THAT BOOK AND TWO OTHERS WRITTEN NEARLY THE SAME TIME PRESENTS EVIDENCE THAT CHIMPANZEES CAN FORM CONCEPTS. THAT'S ABOUT AS FAR AS THEY GO, BUT THEY DO SORT THE WORLD INTO DIFFERENT KINDS OF CATEGORIES. A CHIMPANZEE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE-- KNOWS THAT IT'S LOOKING AT A DOG, WHETHER IT'S A GREAT DANE OR A LITTLE BITTY ONE. IT EVEN KNOWS THAT IT'S A DOG IT'S LOOKING AT WHEN YOU SHOW IT A PHOTOGRAPH, BUT THAT'S A LONG WAY FROM LANGUAGE. EDELMAN KNOWS THAT OF COURSE, AND HE ARGUES THAT WHAT THE CHIMPANZEES ARE SHOWING IS PRIMARY CONSCIOUSNESS, THIS ABILITY TO OPERATE IN THE WORLD AND TO CLASSIFY THINGS INTO GROUPS, TO FORM CONCEPTS, TO GET A KIND OF A SINGLE IDEA IN THE HEAD OR MIND-- IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT-- WHICH REPRESENTS ANY AND ALL OF THOSE CREATURES. NOW THEN ON THE COGNITIVE SIDE, MERLIN DONALD IN HIS BOOK "THE EMERGENCE OF THE MODERN MIND" CONNECTS THIS PRIMARY CONSCIOUSNESS STAGE OF... EVOLUTION TO REPRESENTATIONS. HIS THESIS IS THAT CONSCIOUSNESS COULD HAVE NOT HAVE BEGUN AND COULD NOT HAVE DEVELOPED WITHOUT WHAT WAS IN THE BRAIN BEING SOMEHOW REPRESENTED OUTSIDE IT. SO I AGREE WITH BOTH THESE EXPERTS IN THIS FIELD. I THINK THAT COGNITION AND REPRESENTATION WORK TOGETHER TO BRING ABOUT HIGHER ORDER CONSCIOUSNESS AND LANGUAGE. CONCEPTS ARE FLEETING, NEBULOUS THINGS LIKE THE RANDOM ELECTRICAL CHARGES THAT MAKE THE AURORA BOREALIS. THEY JUST FADE TO NOTHING UNLESS THEY'RE REPRESENTED BY SOMETHING, SOME SIGN OUTSIDE THE ORGANISM. I WOULD GUESS-- I DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT IT BECAUSE I'M NOT INSIDE IT, BUT I WOULD GUESS THAT IN THE CHIMPANZEE'S HEAD THE CONCEPT DOG IS FORMED WHEN THE CHIMPANZEE IS LOOKING AT A DOG OR PERHAPS HEARING A DOG BARKING OR LOOKING AT A PICTURE, BUT TAKE AWAY THE SOUND, THE PICTURE, AND THE DOG, AND THE CHIMPANZEE'S NOT THINKING ABOUT DOGS ANYMORE. AT LEAST, IT SEEMS LIKELY. SO CONCEPTS COME AND GO. THEY NEED SOMETHING OUTSIDE THE CONCEPTUALIZING NERVOUS SYSTEM THAT REPRESENTS THEM. BUT ONCE CONCEPTS GET REPRESENTED, THEY DON'T STAY STATIC, THEY CAN COMBINE AND RECOMBINE. FOR EXAMPLE, IF I POINT WITH ONE HAND TO A PERSON OVER THERE, THAT POINTING CAN REPRESENT THE PERSON, OR IT CAN REPRESENT THE PLACE WHERE THAT PERSON IS, AND THEN IF I POINT WITH THE OTHER HAND TO A PERSON OR A PLACE OVER THERE, THAT'S BOTH, BUT IF I DO THIS, PERHAPS I'M REPRESENTING THE EXPERIENCE OF SEEING THOSE TWO PERSONS MOVE TOGETHER. I'M REPRESENTING A MEMORY THAT PERSON "A" AND PERSON "B" CAME TOGETHER. COULD BE THAT, OR IF I DID THAT AND THAT AND THAT, MAYBE I'M EXPRESSING INSTEAD A WISH THAT THE TWO PERSONS WOULD COME TOGETHER. ONCE IT GETS OUTSIDE THE HEAD, YOU CAN DO THINGS WITH THE REPRESENTATION. WELL, REPRESENTATIONS NEED SOMETHING TO REPRESENT OF COURSE, BUT JUST AS IMPORTANT, THEY NEED SOMETHING ELSE, SOME WAY OF CONNECTING THEM TO WHAT THEY DO REPRESENT. I THINK THAT'S THE CRUCIAL THING. WE ARE SO FAMILIAR WITH LANGUAGE THAT WE HAVEN'T GIVEN A THOUGHT TO WHAT IT IS THAT CONNECTS WORDS OR SIGNS TO MEANINGS. EVER SINCE EARLY CHILDHOOD IF WE ASKED WHY A SIGN OR A WORD MEANS WHAT IT MEANS, WE GET AN ANSWER SOMETHING LIKE, "THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS. THAT'S THE WAY IT IS." A WORD MEANS WHAT IT MEANS BECAUSE ALMOST EVERYONE WHO USES THE LANGUAGE LEARNED THE WORD AND WHAT IT MEANS AT THE SAME TIME ALTOGETHER AS IF ONE WAS PART OF THE OTHER, BUT THERE'S NOTHING NATURAL IN THIS. I MEAN, IT'S NATURAL BECAUSE IT HAPPENS, YES. THERE'S NO NATURAL-- BUT THERE'S NO NATURAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE WORD AND THE MEANING. THAT COMES BY ARBITRARY CONVENTION. A REPRESENTATION AND WHAT IT REPRESENTS CAN BE CONNECTED NATURALLY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE TWO THINGS MAY BE SIMILAR IN SHAPE OR IN SOME OTHER WAY. SUCH SIMILARITY IS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE KIND OF REPRESENTATION MADE BY A SIGN CALLED AN ICON AND ASL SIGNS LIKE "BALL" AND "BIRD" AND "BOOK" AND "TREE" ARE EXAMPLES OF THAT, WHERE THERE'S SOMETHING SIMILAR, SOMETHING WE RECOGNIZE AS RESEMBLING-- ONE RESEMBLING THE OTHER. SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY THESE THINGS LOOK, BIRDS AND BALLS, BOOKS, TREES LOOK, IS SIMILAR TO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SIGN OF ASL. ANOTHER KIND OF NATURAL CONNECTION OCCURS WHEN THE THING BEING REPRESENTED DIRECTLY AFFECTS THE WAY IT IS REPRESENTED. THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES AMONG ASL VERBS. SIGN LANGUAGE VERBS GENERALLY WILL BE... ANOTHER KIND OF SIGN THAT SEMIOTICIANS CALL THE INDEX. THE INDEX IS A SIGN THAT HAS THE FORM IT HAS BECAUSE IT'S SOMEHOW CONNECTED DIRECTLY NATURALLY TO WHAT IT REPRESENTS. TAKE SIGNS-- ASL SIGNS LIKE "FALL" AND "CLIMB" AND "WALK" AND "CARRY." IN FACT, ANY NON-ABSTRACT VERB, I THINK, IN THE LANGUAGE IS GOING TO BE PRETTY CLOSE TO WHAT WE CONCEIVE OF AS BEING THE WAY THAT ACTION LOOKS. THESE ICONS AND INDEXES, THE NOUN-LIKE THINGS, THE THINGS THAT RESEMBLE SOMEHOW THE SIGN-- OR THE SIGN RESEMBLES THE THING, AND THE ACTION--THE WORD-- THE ACTION WORDS, THE VERBS IN WHICH THE MOVEMENT OF THE SIGN REPRODUCES IN SOME WAY THE MOVEMENT OF THE ACTION IT REPRESENTS. THESE ARE NATURAL, SIGNS WITH A NATURAL CONNECTION TO WHAT THEY MEAN, BUT THEY'RE ALSO SYMBOLS. THEY'RE ALSO LANGUAGE SIGNS. THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE USED THAT WAY. I'M SURE MANY OF YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO WHERE OTHER SIGN LANGUAGES ARE USED. YOU KNOW WHAT IN EUROPEAN SIGN LANGUAGE IS THE SIGN FOR TREE? SOME... YOU CAN SEE THE SIMILARITY THERE. THIS IS LIKE A MAPLE TREE, BUT OTHERS DO TREE, THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT A TREE TRUNK, I GUESS, SOME KIND OF VERTICAL THING, BUT ALL 3 OF THOSE SIGNS, THE ASL SIGN, THE NORTHERN EUROPEAN, THE SOUTHERN EUROPEAN SIGN FOR TREE, THEY ALL DO RESEMBLE, BUT THE PEOPLE WHO USE ANY ONE OF THOSE LANGUAGES HAVE A PARTICULAR SIGN THAT THEY SAY MEANS TREE, AND SO IT DOES TO THEM. SO A SIGN CAN BE NATURALLY CONNECTED AS AN ICON OR AN INDEX TO WHAT IT REPRESENTS, BUT IT ALSO CAN BE SYMBOLIC IN THE SENSE THAT THE PEOPLE WHO USE IT HAVE DECIDED THIS IS THE ONE AND NO OTHER IS GOING TO BE THE THING A LANGUAGE SIGNS. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THAT IS IN THE SIGN LANGUAGE OF NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS. FAMOUS AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST GARRICK MALLERY, LIEUTENANT COLONEL GARRICK MALLERY, PUBLISHED A BOOK "THE SIGN LANGUAGE OF NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS," AND THE FRONT PART OF THE BOOK, HE IS EXTOLLING THE UNIVERSALITY OF SIGN LANGUAGE AND GESTURE AND SO FORTH. PEOPLE UNDERSTAND IT. I THINK YOU CAN UNDERSTAND-- IN THE CONTEXT OF WHAT I'M SAYING THIS MORNING, WE CAN UNDERSTAND THAT. WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT IS THAT SO MANY OF THESE MANUAL SIGNS HAVE SOMETHING ABOUT THEM THAT SORT OF NATURALLY SUGGESTS TO THE PEOPLE WHO SEE THEM WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO MEAN, BUT EVEN THE INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE WAS FAR FROM BEING UNIVERSAL. IN THE BACK PART OF MALLERY'S BOOK, HE'S GOT THIS LONG DICTIONARY LISTED BY TRIBES, AND I DON'T REMEMBER WHICH TRIBES ARE WHICH EXCEPT THAT IN THE SOUTHWEST OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE SOUTHWEST PART OF THE CONTINENT THE TRIBES LIVING THERE HAVE A SIGN FOR HORSE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE ASL SIGN. LET ME DO SOME OF IT. THAT'S THEIR SIGN FOR HORSE. YOU GET IT? THESE PEOPLE ARE USED TO SEEING WILD HORSES OUT THERE IN THE PLAINS OF ARIZONA OR NEW MEXICO, AND THE HORSES ARE GOING BY LIKE THAT. THEY'RE KIND OF RECTANGULAR SHAPES OR SILHOUETTES AGAINST THE SKY. UP IN THE MIDDLE WEST MORE OR WESTERN PLAINS, THERE WAS ANOTHER SIGN FOR HORSE. ANOTHER TRIBE DIDN'T REFER TO HORSE THAT WAY. HAD A DIFFERENT SIGN. ANYONE? THAT'S BECAUSE THE HORSES WERE USED TO PULL SOMETHING WAS CALLED A FRENCH WORD, A TRAVOIS, T-R-A-V-O-I-S. SOME TRIBES USED DOGS FOR THAT. WHAT THEY DID WAS PUT A ROPE OR A STRAP AROUND THE MIDDLE OF THE BEAST, HOOK TWO POLES TO THAT. THE POLES DRAGGED ON THE GROUND BEHIND, AND THEN THEY COULD TIE THEIR BUNDLES, THE TEEPEES ROLLED UP OR WHATEVER, AND THE HORSE WOULD PULL IT ALONG. SO THAT WAS HORSE TO THAT TRIBE, AND THEN THERE WERE THE INDIANS WHO LIVED FURTHER EAST. IN THEIR SIGN LANGUAGE, THEY HAD A DIFFERENT SIGN FOR HORSE. YOU CAN PROBABLY GUESS WHAT IT IS. OH. OH, THAT'S GOOD. YEAH! OH, THAT'S DRIVING CARRIAGE HORSES, BUT THE INDIANS IN THE NEAR MIDWEST WERE FAMILIAR SEEING AMERICAN CAVALRY, SO WHEN THEY SAW A HORSE, THEY SAW A RIDER ASTRIDE IT. I DON'T KNOW WHO IT WAS OR WHY IT WAS THAT THE ASL SIGN FOR HORSE IS MADE UP ON THE HEAD WITH A THUMB AND FINGERS. I JUST WONDER IF-- JUST IDLE CURIOSITY-- DO YOU SUPPOSE IT'S BECAUSE THAT LOOKS LIKE THE FINGERSPELLING "H," AND SO YOU DO THE HORSE'S EAR AND THE "H" UP ON THE HEAD UP ALSO WHERE YOU MAKE A SIGN FOR DEER AND COW, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN. WELL, TO SUM UP WHAT I HAVEN'T QUITE SAID YET... [LAUGHTER] I'VE BEEN TRYING TO PERSUADE YOU THAT MANUAL REPRESENTATIONS ARE THE ONLY FIRST WAY OF PUTTING CONCEPTS OUT WHERE THEIR MAKERS CAN SEE THEM. CHIMPANZEES AND HOMINIDS SURELY DID THAT MUCH, BUT HOMINIDS WENT MUCH FARTHER. WHEN THEY SAW WHAT WAS IN THEIR HEADS REPRESENTED OUT THERE IN THEIR OWN AND OTHERS' MOVEMENTS, THEY COULD BEGIN TO CONNECT THINGS UP. REMEMBER MY EXAMPLE OF THE TWO POINTING FINGERS COMING TOGETHER. SUCH CONNECTED CONCEPTS NOW REALLY DESERVE TO BE CALLED IDEAS. WHEN TWO PEOPLE GET TOGETHER, THAT'S MORE THAN JUST ONE PERSON AND ANOTHER PERSON AND MOVING. IT'S TWO PEOPLE GOT TOGETHER. IT'S A COMPLETE IDEA. SO DOING GESTURES OF THAT KIND, MEANING THAT WAY WITH THE MEANING FAIRLY CLEAR FROM WHAT YOU WERE POINTING AT AND WHAT YOU DID WITH THE MOVEMENT, IT WAS POSSIBLE FOR SOMEONE, SOME CREATURES THERE, TO SEE THAT THE MOVING HAND REPRESENTED A PERSON OR A CREATURE, THAT THE MOVEMENT ITSELF REPRESENTED WHAT THAT CREATURE DID AND EVEN COULD REPRESENT WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THAT ACTION. SUPPOSE SOMEONE IS SAYING, "I WANTED TO SEE SO AND SO, "BUT HE WAS JUST GETTING INTO HIS CAR. "I RAN ACROSS THE PARKING LOT, AND I CAUGHT HIM." YOU CAN SEE HOW THE HAND MOVING IS LIKE THE PERSON TELLING THE STORY. THE RUNNING ACROSS AND GRABBING IS THE ACTION PERFORMED, AND THE FINGER THAT'S GRABBED REPRESENTS THE OBJECT OF THAT. WELL, THAT'S AN INTERESTING AND A VERY SIMPLE GESTURE, BUT IT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE WHAT GRAMMARIANS CALL A TRANSITIVE SENTENCE, AND WHEN YOU'VE REPRESENTED SOMETHING OUT IN FRONT THAT WAY THAT HAS THAT STRUCTURE-- I MEAN, I JUST TOOK IT APART FOR YOU. THE MOVING HAND IS THE SUBJECT, THE MOVEMENT IS THE VERB, AND THE STATIONARY HAND IS THE OBJECT. WHEN THAT HAPPENS, YOU HAVE A SENTENCE, AND ALONG WITH A SENTENCE, YOU HAVE SYNTAX, WHICH IS ONE OF THE NECESSARY PARTS OF LANGUAGE. THERE ARE CONSIDERABLE ARGUMENTS GOING ON--OR THERE WERE AS TO WHETHER CHIMPANZEES TAUGHT TO USE COMPUTER KEYS OR PLASTIC TOKENS OR GESTURAL SIGNS, WHETHER THEY WERE CAPABLE OF SYNTAX. I'LL LEAVE YOU TO THE LITERATURE ON THAT BECAUSE IT'S BEING ARGUED BOTH WAYS, BUT SIGNS LIKE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE IN THE VERY FIRST SIGNED SYSTEM THAT YOU COULD CALL A LANGUAGE. IT'S COMPLETELY VISIBLE, IT'S COMPLETELY PERFORMABLE, AND BECAUSE OF THE RESEMBLANCE AND THE CONNECTION, IT SHOWS NATURALLY JUST WHAT IT MEANS, AND THE THING IS SOUNDS CANNOT POSSIBLY DO THAT. WHAT YOU CAN TELL FROM A SOUND IS PROBABLY ITS LOCATION IF IT LASTS LONG ENOUGH. YOU CAN TURN YOUR HEAD UNTIL THE SOUND'S COMING IN BOTH EARS IF YOU CAN HEAR, BUT EVEN IF YOU DO THAT, ALL YOU KNOW IS THE SOUND IS A SOUND IS A SOUND. IF YOU HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF SEEING THE ANIMAL MAKING THE SOUND, YOU SAY, "OH, THAT SOUND IS A LION ROARING," OR, "THAT'S A DOG BARKING," BUT THE SOUND ITSELF DOESN'T REPRESENT ANYTHING EXCEPT WHAT IT IS. HOWEVER, IF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE MAKING THOSE GESTURAL SENTENCES GOT TO BE IN THE HABIT OF MAKING NOISES WHILE THEY WERE REPRESENTING GESTURALLY, IT COULD BE THAT AFTER A WHILE MAKING THE NOISES THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT COULD REPLACE THE VISIBLE SIGN AND THE MEANING. I MEAN, ORIGINALLY, THEY WOULD HAVE OCCURRED ALONG WITH BOTH THE VISIBLE SIGN AND WHAT IT STOOD FOR, AND THEN LATER, THE SOUND ALONE WOULD STILL BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE MEANING, AND THE VISIBLE SIGN COULD DROP OUT. WELL, IT NEVER DROPPED OUT ENTIRELY, DID IT? ON THE ONE HAND, WE HAVE ALL THESE MARVELOUS SIGN LANGUAGES, SIGN LANGUAGES OF DEAF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD AND EVEN SECONDARY SIGN LANGUAGES SUCH AS THE AMERICAN INDIANS AND AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL PEOPLE USED, BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE GESTURING THAT HEARING, SPEAKING PEOPLE USE WHEN THEY'RE CONVERSING, SO THE SYSTEM OF REPRESENTATION IS IN THERE. I THINK UNDERNEATH LANGUAGE IT'S STILL VERY MUCH A PART OF IT. SO WITH THAT SORT OF THING, THE SPOKEN LANGUAGES COULD HAVE ARISEN AFTER SIGN LANGUAGES HAD BEEN WELL ESTABLISHED BECAUSE UNTIL YOU COULD REPRESENT COMPLETE THOUGHTS VISIBLY IN SIGNS, WHICH SHOWED WHAT THEY MEANT, THERE WAS NO WAY THAT A SPOKEN SOUND, A WORD, COULD HAVE ANY MEANING. PEOPLE HAD TO PUT SOME MEANING INTO IT. WHERE DID THAT MEANING COME FROM? WELL, IT CAME FROM THE VERY SENSIBLE THOUGHTS AND SENTENCES OF SIGN-LANGUAGE-USING PEOPLE. IF THESE IDEAS OF MINE EVER--HEH--GET TO BE WIDELY ACCEPTED, I THINK ONE EFFECT OF THEM MIGHT BE THAT DEAF PEOPLE AND THEIR LANGUAGES WOULD GET MORE RESPECT THAN THEY HAVE NOW. THEY WOULD GET THE RESPECT DUE. PEOPLE WOULD REALIZE-- AND THE WHOLE OUTLOOK ON LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT WOULD GET BACK TO SOME VERY BASIC THINGS. THE FACT THAT WE CAN THINK AND SPEAK AND WRITE AND READ AND FIGURE AND INVENT AND ALL THAT HAS AS MUCH TO DO WITH OUR VISION AND OUR UPPER BODY MOVEMENT AS IT HAS TO DO WITH OUR SPOKEN LANGUAGE. SO I THINK. HEH. NOW SINCE I HAVEN'T TAKEN THE WHOLE HOUR, IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR, I'D BE GLAD TO DO MY BEST. I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU. YOU TALK ABOUT HEARING PEOPLE USING GESTURES AND EUROPEAN PEOPLES AND TALKING ABOUT EUROPE. I THINK THAT HEARING PEOPLE MAY USE GESTURAL LANGUAGES, AND DEAF PEOPLE CERTAINLY HAVE THEIR SIGNED LANGUAGE, AND HERE IN AMERICA, WE TALK ABOUT PEOPLE WITH SIMCOM, SIGNING AND TALKING AT THE SAME TIME AND THE IMPACT ON LITERACY. HERE IN AMERICA NOW WITH SIMCOM, SIGNING AND SPEAKING AT THE SAME TIME, OR METHODS OF EDUCATION, YOU KNOW, TEACHING WRITING OR SPEECHREADING OR LITERACY, DO YOU SEE A RELATIONSHIP? STOKOE: I'M NOT SURE. MAN: LET ME MAKE SURE I INTERPRETED THAT CORRECTLY. I'M NOT SURE I INTERPRETED YOU RIGHT, ISAIAS. OK. LET ME BACK UP AND REPEAT THIS AGAIN. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMERICA AND EUROPE WITH HEARING PEOPLE, SPOKEN LANGUAGE, AND GESTURE, AND THEN AS THAT SPREAD THROUGH DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, HOW WOULD PEOPLE COMMUNICATE THROUGH GESTURES WITH ONE ANOTHER? OH. PEOPLE IN AMERICA ARE NOT AS COMFORTABLE WITH GESTURES, NATURAL GESTURES, AS PEOPLE IN EUROPE ARE. EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, PEOPLE ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH NATURAL GESTURING, BUT THEY'RE MORE RESERVED HERE IN AMERICA. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT DEVELOPED? WELL, I THINK-- [COUGHS] EVERY GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE A WAY OF LIFE THAT THEY SHARE PRETTY MUCH, A SET OF VALUES AND BEHAVIORS AND DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT'S RIGHT AND WRONG-- IN OTHER WORDS, A CULTURE-- PEOPLE WITHIN A PARTICULAR CULTURE HAVE THEIR WAY OF DOING THINGS, AND THOSE IN ANOTHER HAVE A DIFFERENT ONE, BUT IF... IF PEOPLE FROM ONE CULTURE GO TO ANOTHER ONE. AND TRY TO COMMUNICATE, AS I THINK YOU WERE SAYING, THEY'LL HAVE DIFFICULTY. THIS DID HAPPEN, YOU KNOW, BACK IN THE 18th AND 19th CENTURY WHEN EUROPEAN PEOPLE WENT INTO THE PACIFIC, AND I THINK PARTICULARLY CAPTAIN COOK'S VOYAGE, BUT THAT'S JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF MANY. CAPTAIN COOK GOING UP THE WEST COAST OF WHAT'S NOW CANADA, RUNNING INTO THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE, NATIVE AMERICANS, INDIANS, HE NEEDED WATER AND FOOD FOR HIS CREW, AND THE ONLY WAY HE COULD COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE PEOPLE WAS BY GESTURE, AND HE DID WRITE-- HE AND SOME OTHER EXPLORERS WROTE UP WHAT THEY DID. I REMEMBER ONE EXAMPLE. THE MOST IMPORTANT FIRST EXAMPLE IN THAT WAS COMMUNICATION WOULD TAKE PLACE BY GESTURE BUT ONLY IF THE EXPLORERS, THE TRAVELERS, LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS, YOU KNOW. THE FIRST THING IS "DON'T BRING THOSE GUNS IN HERE. "PUT THEM DOWN. NOW WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?" WELL, BY GESTURE, COOK AND HIS PARTY WERE ABLE TO PERSUADE THE PEOPLE THAT THEY NEEDED SOME WATER AND THEY NEEDED SOME FOOD, A CERTAIN KIND OF FOOD, I THINK, IT WAS, AND THE INDIANS TRIED TO TELL THEM WHAT... WHAT THEY WANTED TO KNOW. WELL, WHAT HE FINALLY DID, HE LAID DOWN LIKE THIS ON THE FLOOR, ON THE GROUND 3 TIMES, AND SURE ENOUGH, 3 DAYS LATER, SOMEBODY THEY SENT OUT CAME BACK WITH THE FOOD THAT THEY WANTED. THERE WAS NO LANGUAGE THEY COULD USE BETWEEN THEM, SO THEY HAD TO RESORT TO THAT KIND OF PANTOMIME AND GESTURE INVENTED ON THE SPOT AND SO FORTH, AND THIS WORKS-- THIS DOES WORK-- IT'S ALWAYS WORKED, AND IT WORKS BETTER FOR DEAF PEOPLE THAN FOR HEARING PEOPLE. THERE'S SOME REAL EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON THAT, THAT WHEN DEAF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT NATIONS WHO HAVE DIFFERENT SIGN LANGUAGES GET TOGETHER THEY DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER'S SIGN LANGUAGE, BUT THEY'RE MUCH-- MUCH QUICKER AT UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER WITH THAT INVENTED GESTURE AND PANTOMIME BECAUSE THEY'RE USED TO USING THEIR EYES TO GET LANGUAGE INFORMATION. I THINK YOUR QUESTION, TOO, HAD SOMETHING-- SAID SOMETHING ABOUT LITERACY, AND THAT'S A WHOLE NOTHER SUBJECT. I MEAN, UH, THE-- WE CAN'T REALLY TALK ABOUT LITERACY EXCEPT THE WRITTEN FORM OF SPOKEN LANGUAGES. SOME PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO-- HEH--I DID IT MYSELF IN MY YOUNGER DAYS-- TRYING TO INVENT A NOTATIONAL SYSTEM FOR AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE. OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PICKED IT UP AND CHANGED IT OR MADE DIFFERENT ONES, AND THERE'S PEOPLE IN DANCE, BALLET AND STUFF, HAVE A SIGN SYSTEM FOR IT. THEY CAN TELL YOU WHAT EVERY PART OF THE BODY IS DOING AT A GIVEN MOMENT, BUT IT TAKES A WHOLE PAGE TO TRANSCRIBE JUST A LITTLE BIT OF SIGNING, SO I'M NOT SURE WHERE THE-- UH, THE TIE BETWEEN THE GESTURE AND THE LITERACY COMES IN, BUT I DO REMEMBER WATCHING MY COLLEAGUES TEACHING ENGLISH AT GALLAUDET, AND SOMETIMES, A STUDENT WOULDN'T KNOW AN ENGLISH WORD, BUT OF COURSE AS SOON AS IT WAS PUT INTO THE ASL TRANSLATION, THE STUDENT GOT IT, AND THEN THERE WE WERE. THERE WAS A QUESTION BACK THERE. MY QUESTION RELATES TO DEVELOPING LANGUAGE. YOU KNOW THAT THERE'S SOME RESEARCH THAT TALKS ABOUT-- WHO, ME? OH, HI. SORRY. HELLO. THERE'S SOME RESEARCH THAT TALKS ABOUT--OOPS, I SPACED FOR A SECOND-- VOCAL DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNAL-- I THINK IT WAS LIEBERMAN, LIEBERMAN, MAYBE VOCAL DEVELOPMENT AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT AND LANGUAGE. IS THAT TRUE THAT LANGUAGE AND VOICE DEVELOPS IN THE BRAIN AT THE SAME TIME SIMULTANEOUSLY AND COGNITION AND... I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT. I DOUBT THAT IT WOULD BE TRUE FOR THIS REASON, THAT PRETTY GOOD EVIDENCE FROM ARCHEOLOGY SHOWS THAT PEOPLE ON EARTH WERE ACTING IN A PRETTY HUMAN WAY FOR A LONG, LONG TIME BEFORE THEY COULD SPEAK. THAT IS, THE KIND OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE THROAT THAT'S REQUIRED FOR SPOKEN LANGUAGE. PHILIP LIEBERMAN AT BROWN UNIVERSITY, CRELIN, KLATT, OTHERS HAVE DONE RESEARCH ON THE SHAPE OF THE VOCAL TRACT IN HUMAN BEINGS-- ADULT HUMAN BEINGS, NEWBORN HUMAN INFANTS-- AND THEN VARIOUS PRIMATES-- APES, ORANGUTANS, CHIMPS, AND SO ON-- AND THEY SAY THAT IT WAS PRETTY LATE IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT HUMAN PHYSICAL STRUCTURE THAT WE CAME TO HAVE THE KIND OF THROAT THAT MADE SPEECH POSSIBLE, YOU KNOW, LIKE, 50,000 YEARS AGO, BUT I BELIEVE THAT LANGUAGE WAS ON EARTH, A VISUAL LANGUAGE, A SIGN LANGUAGE, FOR, YOU KNOW, HALF A MILLION YEARS BEFORE THAT. IT'S CERTAINLY TRUE THAT THE HUMAN HAND, THE STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN HAND-- WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM A CHIMPANZEE HAND BY QUITE A BIT. THE THUMB IS DIFFERENTLY PLACED AND THE LENGTH OF THE FINGERS AND SO ON. THE HUMAN HAND HAS BEEN AROUND FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS OR A COUPLE MILLION YEARS, BUT HUMAN VOICES, HUMAN THROATS ABLE TO HANDLE A MODERN SPOKEN LANGUAGE DIDN'T DEVELOP UNTIL 50,000, 60,000 YEARS AGO. IS IT BETTER IF I COME UP FRONT TO SIGN OR SIGN FROM HERE? CAN EVERYONE SEE ME OK? I'D LIKE YOU TO EXPLAIN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MONKEYS OR CHIMPANZEES AND, YOU KNOW, GESTURING, TRYING TO TEACH CHIMPANZEES SIGN LANGUAGE, BUT, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S BOTHERING ME IS MY OWN EXPERIENCE, MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE GROWING UP AT A DIFFERENT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, WHERE THERE WAS A WALL LITERALLY AROUND THE SCHOOL, AND, LIKE, YOU'D HAVE A-- THERE WAS A RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, AND RIGHT NEXT TO IT ACROSS THE WALL WAS A ZOO. SO WHEN I'D BE WALKING OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL, YOU KNOW, WE'D BE TEASED. PEOPLE WOULD ACCUSE US OF ACTING LIKE MONKEYS, OR I THINK PEOPLE MADE COMPARISONS WITH A FORMAL SIGNED LANGUAGE AND HOW MONKEYS GESTURE, AND THAT'S ALWAYS BOTHERED ME. DO YOU SEE PARALLELS? I MEAN, YOU KNOW, THE LEVEL OF LANGUAGE ATTAINMENT IN MONKEYS CERTAINLY ISN'T LIKE THE LEVEL OF LANGUAGE ATTAINMENT WITH DEAF PEOPLE, SO HOW DO YOU EDUCATE LAY PEOPLE, WHO ARE NAIVE, THAT THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FULLY DEVELOPED LANGUAGE AND THE TYPE OF GESTURES OR RUDIMENTARY LANGUAGE THAT CHIMPS ARE CAPABLE OF? THAT'S REALLY BOTHERING ME, AND WHEN I MOVED HERE TO AMERICA, I WAS REALLY SURPRISED THAT THAT WASN'T A CONCEPT HERE IN AMERICA, COMPARING DEAF PEOPLE WITH PRIMATES, WHERE IT WAS IN MY HOME COUNTRY. SO I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD JUST RESPOND TO THAT. THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION AND A DEEP QUESTION, AND I CAN JUST GIVE IT A TRY. THE PEOPLE WHO THINK OF DEAF PEOPLE AND ANIMALS IN THAT WAY ARE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME PEOPLE WHO THINK OF SOMEBODY OF A DIFFERENT COLOR SKIN AS INFERIOR, WHO THINK OF PEOPLE WITH A DIFFERENT RELIGION AS SOMEBODY TO BE SHOT AT IN THE STREETS OF BELFAST INSTEAD OF TO BE WELCOMED INTO THEIR HOMES. I MEAN, THIS IS HUMAN PREJUDICE. IT COMES FROM IGNORANCE, VERY MUCH FROM IGNORANCE, AND IT'S LEARNED BEHAVIOR. SOMEBODY--WHOEVER SAID THAT ABOUT COMPARING THE DEAF CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL WITH THE MONKEYS IN THE ZOO DIDN'T COME UP WITH THE IDEA ON THEIR OWN. IT'S NOT A NATURAL IDEA. THEY LEARNED IT FROM SOMEBODY ELSE, SOMEBODY, AS MY COUSIN--ONE OF MY COUSINS LIKED TO SAY-- SOMEBODY WHO WAS BORN WITH A BAD FEELING. [LAUGHTER] BUT I THINK THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN APPROACH THAT IS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE. PEOPLE IGNORANT OF SIGN LANGUAGE--GEE! WHEN I WENT TO GALLAUDET 42 YEARS AGO, PEOPLE TOLD ME THAT THE DEAF STUDENTS THERE COULDN'T THINK IN THE ABSTRACT, THEY COULDN'T REALLY MASTER LANGUAGE, THAT BECAUSE THEY WERE DEAF THEY HAD A MENTAL DEFICIENCY. THAT'S ALL BALDERDASH, TO PUT A NICE WORD ON IT. IT'S--IT'S COMPLETELY WRONG. IT'S FALSE INFORMATION, IT'S IGNORANCE, SO THE ONLY THING I CAN DO, I THINK, IS TRY TO GET SOME BETTER INFORMATION OUT THERE. IT CERTAINLY SEEMS IN THE LAST 42 YEARS THAT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AND OTHER SIGN LANGUAGES HAS CHANGED PEOPLE'S MINDS ENOUGH. I MEAN, I'VE SEEN THE-- WELL, I'VE SEEN THE DAY WHEN GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY GOT A DEAF PERSON AS PRESIDENT. I'VE SEEN A LOT OF THE PEOPLE I KNOW, PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES MY AGE WHO USED TO HAVE TO WORK--BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T GET AN UPPER LEVEL TEACHING POSITION AT GALLAUDET, THEY HAD TO WORK NIGHTS IN A NEWSPAPER OFFICE WORKING A LINOTYPE MACHINE. I'VE SEEN THAT CHANGE. I'VE SEEN FORMER STUDENTS OF MINE BECOME SUPERINTENDENTS OF STATE SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF, GET Ph.Ds., WRITE OUTSTANDING RESEARCH DISCOVERIES, AND THIS, I THINK, HAS HAPPENED BECAUSE THERE'S A LITTLE BIT MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SIGN LANGUAGE GOING AROUND THAN THERE USED TO BE. I HOPE I HAVEN'T OFFENDED YOU BY ALL THE TALK I GAVE ABOUT PRIMATES AND SO FORTH. I MEAN, I HAVE DONE A GOOD DEAL OF STUDY OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, AND I DO KNOW THAT IT'S PRETTY WELL AUTHENTICATED THAT THE ANCESTOR OF CHIMPANZEES AND HUMAN BEINGS WAS ONE SPECIES. THAT SEPARATED A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, BUT THAT ANCESTOR MUST HAVE HAD A LITTLE BIT MORE MENTAL POWER THAN ANY OF THE OTHER IN THE PRIMATE LINE, MONKEYS AND APES, AND MODERN MOLECULAR BIOLOGISTS WILL TELL YOU THAT ABOUT 99%-- I THINK IT'S 99% OR 97%-- OF OUR CELLS-- THE CELLS IN OUR BODIES ARE ALMOST 97% IDENTICAL WITH THE CELLS IN CHIMPANZEES' BODIES. A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, A VERY WISE MAN WHO'S DONE A HUGE BOOK, A MONUMENTAL BOOK ON THE SIGN LANGUAGES OF ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIA, SAYS IN AN ARTICLE IN "MAN," THE BRITISH ANTHROPOLOGICAL JOURNAL, SAID, "IT SEEMS AS IF CHIMPANZEES WERE "ON THE VERGE OF DEVELOPING LANGUAGE, BUT THEY NEVER DID." AND HIS TAKE ON THAT IS THEY NEVER DID BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T NEED TO. THEY LIVED IN AN ENVIRONMENT, A CLIMATE THAT WAS PERFECTLY OK. THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. APPARENTLY, THEIR COUSINS THAT DEVELOPED INTO TO THE HOMINID LINE THAT DEVELOPED INTO THE HUMAN LINE DID HAVE TO KEEP CHANGING THEIR WAYS. THEY DID HAVE TO FIND NEW WAYS OF COPING, AND ONE OF THE WAYS THEY FOUND WAS TO GO FROM THE KIND OF COMMUNICATION CHIMPS AND OTHER ANIMALS HAVE TO SOMETHING MORE AND MORE LIKE LANGUAGE. BOB. FIRST, I READ YOUR BOOK, AND WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT TODAY SEEMS TO BOIL DOWN TO ONE INTERESTING STATEMENT YOU MADE IN YOUR BOOK, SAYING LANGUAGE BEGINS IN THE HEAD, WHETHER IT COMES OUT AS ENGLISH OR SIGN. YOU SAID THAT IN THE BOOK. IS THAT RELATED TO WHAT HANS FURTH WROTE IN HIS BOOK "THINKING WITHOUT LANGUAGE"? HEH. NO. I DON'T THINK I AGREE AT ALL WITH WHAT FURTH SAID, AND I'M A LITTLE ASHAMED THAT YOU REMINDED ME OF THAT BOOK LONG AGO BECAUSE WHAT I'M SAYING THIS MORNING IS THINKING DOES NOT BEGIN IN THE HEAD. THINKING BEGINS WHEN THE HEAD AND THE HAND AND THE EYES GET TOGETHER, THAT WHAT'S IN THE HEAD GETS EXPRESSED WITH MOTION THAT CAN BE SEEN, AND THEN THE MOTION THAT CAN BE SEEN GETS PICKED UP AND BACK IN THE HEAD, AND LANGUAGE IS A CIRCUIT OF GOING AROUND. IF I SAID--I ACCEPT WHAT YOU SAY, THAT I SAID IN THE BOOK-- THAT'S THE 1960 BOOK? [LAUGHTER] THAT WHAT-- IN THE CONTEXT, AS I REMEMBER, A LOT OF PEOPLE, EVEN FROM SAMUEL HEINICKE IN GERMANY, THAT GREAT ANTAGONIST OF THE ABBÉ DE L'ÉPÉE-- HEINICKE SAYING THAT LANGUAGE IS SPEECH, IT'S VOICE, IT'S GOT TO BE PUT INTO SOUND, OR IT'S NOT LANGUAGE, AND THAT LONG HISTORY IS STILL GOING ON OF THE FIGHT BETWEEN ORALISM AND MANUALISM, MOUTH LANGUAGE AND HAND LANGUAGE, AND WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY WHEN I SAID THAT, WHICH YOU QUOTED, WAS THAT LANGUAGE IS NOT FROM THE HANDS, IT'S NOT FROM THE MOUTH. IT'S FROM THE BRAIN. WHAT I REALLY MEANT TO SAY IS OF COURSE IT INVOLVES THE BRAIN AND THE HANDS AND THE MOUTH AND ALTOGETHER. YEAH. THANK YOU. HEH. THAT'S GREAT. SINCE YOU'RE CALLED THE FATHER OF ASL... IN FRANCE... WE HEAR THAT ASL IS AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE, AND THEY COME OVER HERE, AND THE FOLKS FROM FRANCE MET DEAF PEOPLE, AND WHAT WAS USED HERE WAS LABELED AS ASL. I'D ASK YOU WHAT'S THE DEFINITION OF AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE? HA! [LAUGHTER] [LAUGHTER] IF I REALLY WANTED TO WIN THIS AUDIENCE, I WOULD SAY, "WHAT'S YOUR DEFINITION OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE?" [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] MAN: TOUCHÉ. HA! AND YOU SAID I'M CALLED THE FATHER OF ASL, AND I'VE HEARD THAT, AND I ALWAYS DISCLAIM IT. I MIGHT BE ONE OF THE UNCLES WHO FOUND THE POOR-- WHO FOUND THE POOR BABY OUT IN THE WOODS, WHERE THE ORALISTS HAD KICKED IT... [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] BUT--BUT--I MEAN, THINKING BACK, WAS LAURENT CLERC THE FATHER OF ASL? HE, YOU KNOW-- LAURENT CLERC BROUGHT BACK FROM--BROUGHT TO AMERICA BY T.H. GALLAUDET, CLERC HELPED GALLAUDET FOUND THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN HARTFORD, THE FIRST PERMANENT SCHOOL IN THE U.S. CLERC ALSO HELPED FOUND MANY, MANY OTHER STATE SCHOOLS. PEOPLE CAME TO HIM, OR HE WENT TO THE PLACE AND SHOWED THEM THE SIGNING SYSTEM THEY USED AND SO ON, AND SO THERE WAS A BIG INFLUX OF FRENCH SIGNING INTO THE SIGN LANGUAGE USED HERE, BUT IF YOU CAN BELIEVE WHAT'S WRITTEN, ON MARTHA'S VINEYARD LONG BEFORE CLERC CAME OVER FROM FRANCE, PEOPLE WERE SIGNING, HAD A SIGN LANGUAGE. YOU KNOW WHO THE FATHER OF SIGN LANGUAGE WOULD BE? IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, IT'S THE GUY THAT LIVED IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN WITH A WOMAN CALLED EVE. [LAUGHTER] GIVE YOU A FOLLOW-UP-- I'LL GIVE YOU A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION. YEAH. HEH HEH HEH. OK. SO I'LL SIGN SLOW FOR THE INTERPRETER, OK? I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS. THE FIRST, I'D LIKE TO ASK YOU... ASL IS A VISUAL, GESTURAL LANGUAGE, AND RECEPTIVE SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT AND SIGNING. ARE YOU REALLY SKILLED AT ASL YOURSELF RECEPTIVELY AND EXPRESSIVELY? STOKOE: NO. MAN: NO? OK. THEN... THEN HOW DID YOU FIND THAT ASL IS A FULL-BLOWN LANGUAGE? IT SEEMS SOMEWHAT CONTRADICTORY THAT YOU'RE NOT HIGHLY SKILLED AT ASL, YOU'RE NOT A SKILLED SIGNER, AND YET AS YOU STARTED TO STUDY ASL, YOU FELT, "BOY, THIS IS GREAT! "THIS IS A LANGUAGE! IT'S A FULL-BLOW, FULLY DEVELOPED LANGUAGE," AND YOU'RE RECOGNIZED AS THE PERSON WHO DID THAT, BUT YOU'RE NOT YET FLUENT IN THE LANGUAGE, NOT SKILLED IN THE LANGUAGE. SO IT SEEMS CONTRADICTORY TO ME. COULD YOU RESPOND TO THAT? [LAUGHTER] YES. THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT IS THIS, THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SKILLED IN THE LANGUAGE DON'T HAVE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT IT. IT'S LIKE DUCK SOUP TO THEM. I MEAN, IT'S THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, AND YOU DON'T ASK A LOT OF PERTINENT QUESTIONS ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL. DO YOU KNOW THE STORY ABOUT THE KID THAT NEVER SPOKE UNTIL HE WAS ABOUT 5 YEARS OLD? HE WASN'T DEAF OR ANYTHING, BUT HE JUST SAT THERE IN THE KITCHEN AND ATE HIS MEALS AND WENT TO BED AND AROUND THE HOUSE. ONE NIGHT... ONE NIGHT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF SUPPER, HE SAID, "HMM. THIS FOOD WONDER-- THIS FOOD IS TERRIBLE." AND HIS PARENTS SAID, "WHAT? YOU CAN TALK! YOU CAN TALK!" HE SAID, "SURE I CAN TALK." "WELL, WHY DIDN'T YOU TALK BEFORE?" SAID, "THE FOOD WAS ALWAYS FINE BEFORE." [LAUGHTER] I MEAN, ANOTHER WAY OF ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION-- I AM VERY CONSCIOUS MYSELF THAT BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH CONTACT WITH IT ANYMORE SOME OF MY SKILLS THAT I DID HAVE IN SIGNING AND IN RECEIVING SIGNS ARE DECLINING BECAUSE I'M NOT WITH DEAF PEOPLE AS MUCH AS I SHOULD BE, BUT IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT LOOKING INTO A SYSTEM, IT'S SOMETIMES BETTER TO BE OUTSIDE IT. I MEAN, AFTER ALL... THE, UH--AS THE-- AS THE PERSON SAID WHO WAS CRITICIZING-- WAS CRITICIZED FOR CRITICIZING POETRY OR SOMETHING-- THEY SAID, "WELL, YOU'RE NOT A POET. HOW CAN YOU CRITICIZE THAT?" HE SAYS, "I'M NOT A HEN EITHER, "BUT I CAN TELL WHETHER AN EGG IS A GOOD ONE OR A BAD ONE." [LAUGHTER] UH... I GUESS ANOTHER ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS THAT LANGUAGE IS LANGUAGE, AND WHEN I SAY LANGUAGE IS LANGUAGE, I MEAN SIGN LANGUAGE IS LANGUAGE JUST AS SPOKEN LANGUAGES ARE LANGUAGE, AND YOU FIND THAT OUT BY FINDING OUT WHAT MAKES LANGUAGES TICK, WHAT--HOW THEY'RE PUT TOGETHER. I'VE BEEN WORKING AT THAT FOR THE LAST 50, 60 YEARS, AND YOU HEARD THIS MORNING ABOUT AS FAR AS I'VE GOT. IF IT'S NOT FAR ENOUGH, TAKE OVER AND CARRY THIS IDEA FURTHER, ALL OF YOU. [APPLAUSE] THANK YOU. OUR TIME IS UP. I WANT TO THANK YOU AND THANK YOU IN THE AUDIENCE. OUR NEXT PRESENTATION WILL BE NEXT FRIDAY. DR. CHRISTINE MONIKOWSKI WILL PRESENT ON ASSESSING ASL WITH A CLOSURE TEST. I HOPE YOU'LL BE ABLE TO COME NEXT FRIDAY AT NOON HERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE] STOKOE: THANK YOU.
Notes: 
"This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."
Other Title: 
Bird of a different feather