De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies
"Understanding the Difference in Structures of the FSL and Written English"
A Multimedia Thesis Project
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirement of BAPCGGD Course
Dan Lester C. Perez
November 14, 2012
Second Trimester, school year 2012-2013
During the 16th-17th century, when the Philippines was still under the control of Spain, the Jesuit Historian, Father Pedro Chirino, wrote in 1604 about the baptism of two deaf Filipino in Dulac, Leyte by Father Francisco De Otaco. Father Ramon De Prado, the vice-provincial priest taught these two deaf Filipinos and they were the first deaf Filipino who learned to use the Filipino Sign Language. The older Deaf, Raymundo shared his knowledge to five to ten deaf men during a mission.
300 years later, the first influence of American Sign Language came here in the Philippines thru Delight Rice, the hearing American teacher who established the School for the Deaf in 1907 in Manila (PDRC and PFD. 2004.) The school still exists today as the Philippines School for the Deaf (PSD) (HV 2474 F55 2005 Pt.1 from DLS-CSB).
"Filipino Sign Language is certainly natural and a unique visual language of the Deaf Filipinos. The grammar, structure and syntax or arrangements of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) are equal or the same as in the spoken language. FSL has its Filipino Deaf culture and identity. However, Filipino Sign Language is not a written system." (Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Inc., Macky Calbay and Raphael Domingo)
Sign languages communicate ideas through hands like spoken languages. However, sign languages do not need sounds and voice. It needs hands, face and other parts of the body to communicate in visual ways. The visual signs, helps the deaf to understand the message it conveys through the eyes. Signs must be clear in order to be understood in the eyes of the deaf, which the brain process, interprets and meanings comprehended. The basic parts of signs are hand shapes, location, movement, palm orientation and non-manual signals.
Many people think of sign languages as a language of the hands but the research in linguistics revealed that sign language includes not only one or both hands, but also the different parts of the trunk, arms, neck, head and face. Hand shape, movement and number of hands used may be grouped together.
A sign language follows many groups of rules. The parts of signs and their meanings, whole, signs, and the grammar of sentences are separate rules. Several words are put together to form a sentence, and the exchange of these sentence forms a dialogue. Examples of dialogue are conversations, stories, humor and poetry. When a sign is produced by itself, it may look different from when it is actually used in a conference. The important part of the sign language is the connection between two or more conversing people.
Social factors are important in studying signs during the conference. It is because the sign language is not only for relaying messages but also for social interaction. The sign used for a word is influenced by one’s emotions. For example, the word “sorry” is signed in just one way, but when added with emotions, it could have different meanings.
The signs are shown to the complexity of their grammatical function. In spoken languages, words act certainly according to their grammatical class. In sign languages, signs may function differently depending on the sentence structure, and context of the conference. So, it is common for a single sign to shift functions as a noun, verb, or adjective in different sentences, conversations or contexts. Since sign languages are not written systems, the use of words came from a written language and the grammatical function of the sign must carefully avoid being perplexed. For example, a word for a sign that...
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