The Port of Baltimore was founded in 1729. This is a tale of three men who will never meet: Enoch Pratt, James Lombard and Tom Armstrong. This is Between Pratt and Lombard.

nedjelja, travnja 23

Back during the Vietnam war

Eyes of a teacher...




...I'd never attend a private university

I was saddened to read that the Modern Languages and Linguistics (MLL) department unapologetically canceled future American Sign Language (ASL) course offerings. As a classically trained linguist, I was filled with indignation after learning why the decision was made and about the widespread misconceptions held at UMBC about ASL.

ASL is a full-fledged natural language spoken primarily in the United States of America, Canada, and Guatemala. Estimates vary, but between 500,000 and 2,000,000 people identify ASL as their primary language. ASL is neither Signed English nor fingerspelling (both visual representations of English words). ASL evolved from French Sign Language and is linguistically independent from English. The University System of Maryland (USM) recognizes ASL as a foreign language. That said, continuing to offer ASL courses is entirely within the scope of the MLL department’s resolution to “teach languages other than English and teach about cultures other than U.S. culture.”

The campus response should be to find ways to maintain and expand foreign language offerings. The MLL department is underfunded and has to make tough decisions regarding course offerings. However, hiring a part-time instructor for two to three courses each semester is at most a minimal financial burden (roughly $2,000 to $3,000 per course). Demand, enrollment, and dedication for ASL courses remains high -- if not higher than other language course offerings. A recent letter to the editor’s contrasting continuing to offer Wolof courses given its under enrollment versus ASL’s full enrollment is warranted, but the Editor’s Note expanding on Ms. Dominque’s assessment needs more mention: Wolof is spoken by over three million people on two continents and is the official language of Senegal.

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