DrVicars: What is a "pidgin?"
Monica: "A combination of two languages."
DrVicars: Okay, so what does PSE stand for, anybody know?
Pidgin Sign English
DrVicars: Is it a language?
Sandy: yes but no rules
Contact signing varies a lot but it does have some
"standard characteristics of usage" which could loosely be considered
KC: (like Ebonics)
DrVicars: GA Sandy [GA means "Go Ahead"]
Sandy: If there are so many forms of PSE, how do people communicate who try to use it?
Good question. First, let's clarify that PSE or contact signing is not a
language. It can be
considered a "communication system." Some might even call it a "Creole,"
(A Creole is a more complex form of a Pidgin). But most linguists will tell you
that contact signing is not a language in the sense
that ASL and English are. Thus it is common for people to think of
contact signing as a "pidgin" even though it may not fit the regular
definition of a pidgin.
DrVicars: PSE is a mix of ASL signs
and English grammar. It is used to bridge the gap between Hearies and Deafies when they are
together. I hope that my use of the term Hearies and Deafies is not offensive to any of you.
Tigie: doesn't offend me
DrVicars: Anyway, a pidgn is helpful for those times when two different language
speakers make contact like Hearing and Deaf, ASL and English. You end up with a "contact"
communication system that the people use when they are together but that neither tends to use at home.
PSE the language interpreters use?
DrVicars: Interpreters use a wide variety of
signing systems including SEE (Signing Exact English), contact
signing (PSE), ASL, and other communication modes as needed (mime, gesture,
fingerspelling). It depends on the client and the situation.
DrVicars: It also varies from region to region. In the Northern Utah
area (where I lived when I was younger) there was a significant amount
of Signed English mixed into the ASL (as a result of the influence of
the Utah School for the Deaf having used quite a bit of Signed English
in the classroom).
Which brings up an interesting point:
You might ask a Deaf person what he signs, he will tend to
respond, "ASL." He may actually be signing PSE or in a very
"English-like" manner but not realize it because he has never taken a
formal ASL course or perhaps has not yet interacted much with native
Deaf ASL signers since he had Hearing parents and grew up signing SEE or PSE
in whatever school program he was in.
When such a Deaf person gets out in the world his signs tend to become more
ASL-like as he interacts with the Deaf Community in general.
Don't get me wrong here. Most members of the "Adult Deaf
Community" throughout the U.S.) do use American Sign
Language. It is also true that most of us Deaf people are bilingual
(know two languages) to the extent that we also know English. (I
didn't say we are English Majors in college though). And since we
are bilingual we will often switch over and sign PSE to you instead of
ASL since we know you are Hearing.
Sandy: So, would people well "versed" in ASL be pretty understanding as we
learn and bridge the gap?
DrVicars: Oh yes! We are generally very nice about it. Wouldn't you be if
you were Deaf?
Monica: Like going to a foreign country and having to find the ladies room...You get
the message across :)
DrVicars: Yes that is correct.