American Sign Language Lexicon

Post and Lesson Plan Here


II. While Reading Tasks

•  Vocabulary

Word Inference

  1. organism |ˈôrgəˌnizəm|-noun-an individual animal, plant, or single-celled life form.
  2. photosynthesis |ˌfōtōˈsinTHəsis|-noun-the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.
  3. improvise |ˈimprəˌvīz|-verb [ with obj. ]-create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation: the ability to improvise operatic arias in any given style.
  4. coalesce |ˌkōəˈles|-verb [ no obj. ]-come together and form one mass or whole: the puddles had coalesced into shallow streams | the separate details coalesce to form a single body of scientific thought. • [ with obj. ] combine (elements) in a mass or whole: to help coalesce the community, they established an office.
  5. solicit |səˈlisit|-verb ( solicits, soliciting , solicited ) [ with obj. ]ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone: he called a meeting to solicit their views.
  6. standardize |ˈstandərˌdīz|-verb [ with obj. ]-cause (something) to conform to a standard: the editors failed to standardize the spelling of geographic names.
  7. intensify |inˈtensəˌfī|-verb ( intensifies, intensifying, intensified )become or make more intense: [ no obj. ] : the dispute began to intensify | [ with obj. ] : they had intensified their military campaign.
  8. jargon 1 |ˈjärgən|-noun-special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand: legal jargon.
  9. aspiration |ˌaspəˈrāSHən|-noun-(usu. aspirations) a hope or ambition of achieving something: he had nothing tangible to back up his literary aspirations.
  10. personification |pərˌsänəfiˈkāSHən|-noun-the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

Source: New Oxford American Dictionary

  • Reading Comprehension

True / False

  1. F- Now thanks to the Internet— resources for deaf students seeking science-related signs are easier to find and share.
  2. F- Crowd sourcing projects in both American Sign Language and British Sign Language are under way at several universities.
  3. T- The Scottish Sensory Centre’s British Sign Language Glossary Project, added 116 new signs for physics and engineering terms.
  4. F- The researchers spent more than a year soliciting ideas from deaf science workers.
  5. T- The standardization of signs will make it easier for deaf students to keep pace with their hearing classmates during lectures.
  6. T- According to Mr. Schwerin of the F.D.A.,  looking at one thing at a time often meant choosing between the interpreter, the blackboard/screen/material, or taking notes. It was like, pick one, and lose out on the others.”
  7. F-The problem doesn’t end at graduation. In fact, it only intensifies as new discoveries add unfamiliar terms to the scientific lexicon.
  8. F-Since at least the 1970s, deaf scientists have tried to address the lack of uniformity by gathering common signs for scientific terms in printed manuals and on videotapes.
  9. T-Making sciences more accessible to the deaf is a priority not just to those with hearing problems, but also to science educators in general.
  10. T-Surprisingly, some deaf students say that relying on sign language gives them an advantage over hearing students.

•  Grammar Focus

Structure and Usage

I.-1-Imagine trying to learn biology without ever using the word organism.

II. – 2-Matthew Schwerin is a physicist with the FDA who is deaf.

III. – 3-The signs were developed by a team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

IV. -1-Whether the Scottish Sensory Centre’s signs will take hold  remains to be seen.


III. Post Reading Tasks

Discussion /Writing Tasks

Suggested answers for question #5: Some additional challenges: Seating which allows a clear view of the instructor, the interpreter and the blackboard; An unobstructed view of the speaker’s face and mouth; Providing handouts in advance so the student can watch the interpreter rather than read or copy new material at the same time; Repeating questions and comments from other students; Use of e-mail, fax, or word processor for discussions with the instructor.

Source: John Hopkins University Student Disability Services


 IV. Listening Activity  

Video Clip: American Sign Language Goes Mobile By Inside Science

Pre-listening Task

Listening for New Vocabulary or New Terms

  1. Bit – The smallest unit of information in a smartphone, computer or other electronic digital device.
  2. Bit rate – The number of bits transmitted in a second.
  3. asynchronous |āˈsiNGkrənəs|-adjective-not going at the same rate and exactly together with something else, in particular.
  4. Bandwidth – In wireless communications, the maximum amount of bits per second that can be transmitted over a network.
  5. encode |enˈkōd|-verb [ with obj. ]-• Computing convert (information or an instruction) into a particular form: the amount of time required to encode a WAV file to MP3 format.

Sources: Inside Science and New Oxford American Dictionary.

• While Listening Tasks

True  /False statements

According to the video:

  1. F- Researchers at the University of Washington’s College of Engineering have developed breakthrough software.
  2. T- Cell phones  can  now send and receive low-bit-rate video with high-quality images.
  3. T- The software allows individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to use American Sign Language for the first time over cellphone networks.
  4. F-According to Dr.  Riskin, “ It can be really difficult to have a two-way conversation with texting because it’s asynchronous.”
  5. F-In 2009, Apple introduced Facetime, which enables mobile video chats, but the bit rate is extremely high, and most cellphone networks can’t support it.
  6. T- Dr.  Riskin notes that their mobile unit quickly detects where the hands and face are and we have our encoder give more information to the hands and face so that they look better.
  7. F- Dr. Riskin also nots that they don’t really care so much about the background images.
  8. T- The result is that Engineering and science is  making mobile communication accessible to all students.