My granddaughter is 16 and has been deaf since birth. Her primary language is ASL (Amer. Sign Lang.) and her English skills are very poor, due to various environmental issues. She is very bright (high IQ), though and is capable of learning.

I thought of using diagramming sentences as a teaching tool, since I learned so much from the exercise.

Any insights out there, or suggestions of resources?



GW, As a deaf person using sign language, English is not her mother tongue/native language. Sign language is a real language entirely separate from spoken languages with its own grammar, sintax and so on. It is not a visual form of English. Presumably the environmental factor is that her household speaks in ASL.

To her, reading and writing in English is the same as a hearing American reading and writing in, say, French or Italian. Add the extra difficulty that written language relies heavily on matching sounds to letters, it is very hard for deaf people to learn to read and write. To them the letters are all abstract shapes not related to sounds -almost in in the same way as Chinese has characters. So if we know that S is pronounced ssss and that the words sit, stay and stop start with s, we have a reasonable chance of guessing that the word snow will also start with s, even if we've never seen it before. However, a deaf person cannot make that connection. IQ has an effect but it is simplistic to wonder why she can't read or write well. How fluent would you become in written-only Chinese?

Of course, most do learn, and I'm sure that she will do well with support from her family.
American sign language may not use commas and punctuation, but can't she read?
I assume if she has a High IQ, then she knows how to read.

English skills are poor due to environmental issues? What environmental issues?
Give her grammar books. Have her read books. Have her analyze how grammar is implemented in those books.

A good way to learn how to write is by reading. Another good way to learn how to write is reading books on writing.

My suggestion is to get her reading philosophy books. I like these books because of their ivory tower pretentiousness: they implement grammar, vocabulary, and painting thoughts with words.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
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Then I must have missed something when I was learning ASL.
Yes, could you elaborate on what you mean there?
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