The Thoughts of SES Blog

Some Idiots in the World

Posted in Thoughts on ASL and Modified Sign Systems, Thoughts on Idiocy by ses31 on April 10, 2010

So there is this jerkwad idiot on YouTube who insists that anyone who uses modified sign language systems – often called Manually Coded English – that conceptually are just as accurate as ASL in terms of the signs only using exact English word order instead of inverted grammar are somehow inferior to everyone else.

This is simply not true.

According to every class I have ever taken on sign language and manual communication, it is just as acceptable for a hearing person, hard-of-hearing person, or even Deaf person to use a modified sign system. Matter of fact, most people whose first language is English do!

I use a modified sign system with my Deaf dog. I use a modified sign system with songs. According to any interpreter and Deaf person I’ve ever met, this is perfectly acceptable. They understand just as easily and often switch to the modified sign system when they know someone is just a beginner in their language.

Heck, just the fact the person is making the effort to communicate with them alone is often appreciated.

But I have seen Deaf people with their interpreters in public and they use modified sign systems more often than straight ASL.

Honestly, I believe the only place anyone would see straight ASL being used is in the Deaf community in a place where very few hearing people would be found.

Are people who use modified sign systems somehow inferior to those who use straight ASL? Heck no! People who use modified sign systems are no more inferior to those using straight ASL than blind people are to sighted people. And blind people are not inferior to sighted people.

Yes, I use a modified sign system in my own personal life and in my worship. And I will continue to do so when I lose the last of my hearing. There is nothing wrong with it. It is perfectly acceptable. And it is because sign language is my fourth language, not my first language.

For more information about Manually Coded English and its comparison to ASL, check out this article:

It may be more than you care to know, but it may answer some questions.

By the way, I had to write this in defense of the fact that yes, my poster with the sign language alphabet has on its backside The Pledge of Allegiance and yes, it’s in exact English word order, but it is the same signs conceptually as ASL. So, my point is who cares whether a person uses straight ASL or some other modified sign system, they are all just as accurate and correct, just like a Southerner and a Northerner who each have different dialects are just as accurate and correct.