Publication Date

Fall 2018


College of Arts and Sciences


American Sign Language and Interpreting


American Sign Language


This honors thesis is going to discuss the hearing community’s perception of American Sign Language and by association the hearing community’s perception of the Deaf community. For most of the hearing community their only interaction with American Sign Language is through watching an interpreter perform at their job. They personally have no physical interactions with the language. Even though they have never personally used the language or attempted to interact with the Deaf community they will draw their own conclusions about sign language and the Deaf community. The conclusions that are assumed tend to be incorrect. Early on in the field of interpreting these misunderstandings are encountered. The small nature of the Deaf community makes it hard for these false perceptions to be dismantled because the Deaf community and the hearing population with the misconceptions rarely intersect. This thesis will delve into the extent of these misconceptions and just how much of the hearing world’s perspective they influence. To first understand the potential hazard of the interpreter language model it is important to understand a brief history of American Sign Language and Deaf culture. The paper when then apply these principles to the Deaf community, the interpreter, and the hearing community. The end of the paper will then dispel many of the false perceptions that the hearing community has of Deaf culture. This section is included to show that the misconceptions exist.