American Sign Language can be used to fulfill the language requirement for undergraduates in Harvard College. In addition, as of 2019 students may also earn a language citation in ASL by taking Ling 73c, Ling 73d, Ling 90a, and Ling 90b. (Language courses at or above this level of ASL taken out of residence for Harvard degree credit may be substituted for these courses only after assessment via consultation with the ASL Language Coordinator.)
LING 73A: Beginning American Sign Language I (offered fall terms)
This course is an introduction to the language and linguistic structure of American Sign Language and to Deaf culture for students with no prior experience. Focus will be on gaining a foundation for later fluency and understanding the role of ASL in Deaf history, current culture, education, bilingualism, and research.
LING 73B: Beginning American Sign Language II (offered spring terms)
This course is the second part of the beginning sequence of American Sign Language, an introduction to the language and linguistic structure of American Sign Language and to Deaf culture for students with no prior experience. Focus will be on gaining a foundation for later fluency and understanding the role of ASL in Deaf history, current culture, education, bilingualism, and research.
LING 73C: Beginning American Sign Language III (offered fall terms)
ASL III is designed for students who have completed ASL levels I and II. Students come to ASL III with an understanding of the fundamentals of ASL comprehension and production. These foundational courses (ASL I and II) introduce students to the language using a natural acquisition approach without explicit focus on grammatical rules. ASL III has an increased focus on the appropriate ways to converse with members the Deaf community. In this class, students will learn how to tell stories that adhere to the pragmatic and linguistic standards of the Deaf community with a focus on stylistically appropriate production. In this class, students will learn how to engage with members of the Deaf community in respectful and culturally appropriate ways. In addition to fostering language development, we will discuss the history and culture of the Deaf community.
LING 73D: Beginning American Sign Language IV (offered spring terms)
ASL IV course will build on the foundation set in the first three levels of ASL and will focus on expressive language at a more advanced level. Students will have an opportunity to play with the language and explore different literary genres including: classifier stories, narratives of personal experience, visual vernacular and ASL poetry. Given that language learning doesn’t happen in isolation, we will continue our exploration of Deaf culture and norms in order to develop a deeper understanding of the Deaf community. Growing out of this discussion, students will learn what it means to work as an ally to the Deaf community and avoid oppressive behavior. Other issues to be discussed include recognizing audism in oneself and others and how to appropriately respond.
LING 90A: Advanced ASL Tutorial I (offered fall terms)
Small group instruction on Advanced ASL, Level V with focus on expanded vocabulary and linguistics traits and structure.
LING 90B: Advanced ASL Tutorial II (offered spring terms)
ASL VI is a small group instruction that applies knowledge of advanced American Sign Language (ASL) grammar and vocabulary that focuses on the use of ASL discourse in formal as well as informal settings. This course additionally develops complex constructs and an understanding and production of lengthier narratives. Current cultural topics and attitudes regarding the Deaf community will also be explored.