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ASL Timeline

Linguistics and Dialects of American Sign Language

Home | Introduction | Vocabulary | Evidence of Misdiagnosis | Identifying a Disorder in Student's from a Linguistically Diverse Background | Deaf Culture | History of ASL | ASL Timeline | Variations/Dialects in ASL | ASL:standardization? | Standardization | Bibliography

American Sign Language (ASL) Timeline

Note: This timeline only highlights the timeline of Research and acceptance of ASL.  Information was obtained by reading, Sign Language and the Deaf community: Essays in Honor of William Stokoe by Charlotte Baker and Robbin Battison.

1957 - The American Council of Learned Societies awarded Stokoe a research grant to begin the process of analyzing American Sign Language as a language.

1959 - The National Science Foundation continued the funding for his study.

1960 - The first linguistic study of American Sign Language by William Stokoe was published.

1965 - William Stokoe coauthored the publication of, A Dictionary of American Sign Language (1965), with Carl Croneberg, which was influential because of the number of signs as well the first workable transcription system.

1970 - The Laboratory for Language and Cognitive studies at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies was established in San Diego with Ursula Bellugi as director.

1971 - Gallaudet University established a Linguistics Research Lab with Stokoe as its director.  William Stokoe started publication of a newsletter, Signs of Our Times, in that same year. 

             The first presentation on information about American Sign Language took place at a conference held by James Woodward, at the Linguistics Society of America.

1972 - The first publication of Sign Language Studies and remains in publication. 

            The first text on teaching American Sign Language was published by Fant (1972).

             It was during this time that some American colleges and universities began to accept ASL as a language.

1973 - The first linguistic PhD dissertation on ASL was written by Woodward (1972) at Georgetown University.

             Gilbert Eastman wrote and produced the first play to focus on the attitudes toward ASL titled "Sign Me Alice".

             The Linguistics Society of America also created a section for Sing Languages to be included in their conferences.

1975 - The World Federation of the Deaf met in Washington, D.C. to discuss the different attitudes toward sign languages and cultural conflicts that existed in the Deaf communities.

             The Communicative Skills Program of NAD established the first organization for Sign Language Teachers, called the Sign Instructors Guidance Network (SIGN).

1976 - SIGN began to certify Sign Language Teachers at the NAD convention.

1979 - Gallaudet's undergraduate faculty officially recognized ASL as a viable means of communication to be utilized in classes.  Gallaudet faculty and staff were offered the first course on the Structure of ASL.

1980 - Fifteen years after William Stokoe's first publication, he was finally honored for his research.

Date Created: May 15, 2006 Time: 10:52 pm
Date Modified: June 8, 2006