Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Rory A. DePaolis


ASL is increasingly gaining acknowledgment as a foreign language in the university setting. At James Madison University, sign language classes have traditionally been housed within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. This research makes a case for considering ASL as an equivalent to courses in the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and argues that ASL meets the university standards for the study of a foreign language with regard to fulfilling Bachelor of Arts requirements.

Considering the linguistic history of ASL and the language’s accompanying culture, we will demonstrate the standards for teaching ASL are identical to the established educational standards for other languages.

One of the foreign languages offered at JMU is Spanish. Using that as a comparison, we will demonstrate that the cultural and linguistic elements of ASL are equivalent to those currently offered for other languages offered at JMU. This research explores these parallels as well as reinforces the elements of ASL that qualify it as a legitimate language.



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