American Sign Language (ASL)

Until just a few years ago, Yale students could study ASL only through the DILS (Directed Independent Language Study) program; they could not get credit for such study nor use it to fulfill the language requirement. In Spring 2017, after students expressed strong interest in having ASL courses offered as part of the Yale College curriculum and faculty enthusiastically endorsed the idea, the administration granted permission and allocated resources to start a three-semester pilot program (January 2018—June 2019).

Given the high demand for ASL during the pilot program, Yale decided to continue the teaching of ASL in the academic year 2019-20 and beyond. If there is sustained demand and interest, as we expect, ASL will become a permanent part of the Yale College curriculum and the number of courses offered will increase to meet demand.

ASL Lectors

  • Julia Silvestri's picture
    Julia Silvestri
    Lector

    julia.silvestri@yale.edu

    Dr. Julia Silvestri, Ph.D., Ed.S, is a lector in American Sign Language and coordinator of the ASL program. She earned her Ph.D. in Physical Disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she worked as a professor of ASL and Deaf Studies. From George Washington University, she earned an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, and from Smith College, an M.E.D. in Deaf Education. In addition to a background as a K-12 educator and administrator in a range of schools for the deaf and public school programs in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts; she participates in ASL poetry, film, and performance arts organizations as a producer and performer. Her research interests include Deaf Music, Deaf Studies, ASL Phonology, Bilingualism and Literacy, Adult Reading Strategies, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). 

  • Frances Conlin's picture
    Frances Conlin
    Lector

    Frances Conlin joined the Department of Linguistics as a Lector in summer 2021. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Boston University in 2015. Her research has been devoted to the morphosyntactic structure of American Sign Language, the nature of its acquisition, and its assessment. She has worked extensively in programs serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing children to facilitate a solid foundation in ASL, while fostering the development of robust literacy skills.  Much of Frances’ work has also extended towards families, teachers and caregivers.  She has helped them become familiar with ASL and understand the critical role it represents in the linguistic development of children who are Deaf and Hard of HearingHer research continues to be focused on issues concerning this language acquisition process and its implications for Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. 
  • Andrew Fisher's picture
    Andrew Fisher
    Lector

ASL Courses

Term: Fall 2021

ASL 110.01 American Sign Language I

An introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), with emphasis on vocabulary, ASL grammar, Deaf Culture and Conversational skills. Use of visual material (DVD), communicative activities, grammar drills, classifiers and Deaf Culture study. ASL 120 is not required to earn credit for ASL 110 

Professor: Julia Silvestri
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Friday; 9:25 to 10:15 am

ASL 110.02 American Sign Language I

An introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), with emphasis on vocabulary, ASL grammar, Deaf Culture and Conversational skills. Use of visual material (DVD), communicative activities, grammar drills, classifiers and Deaf Culture study. ASL 120 is not required to earn credit for ASL 110

Professor: Frances Conlin
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Friday; 10:30 am to 11:20 am

ASL 110.03 American Sign Language I

An introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), with emphasis on vocabulary, ASL grammar, Deaf Culture and Conversational skills. Use of visual material (DVD), communicative activities, grammar drills, classifiers and Deaf Culture study. ASL 120 is not required to earn credit for ASL 110

Professor: Julia Silvestri
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Friday; 10:30 am to 11:20 am

ASL 110.04 American Sign Language I

An introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), with emphasis on vocabulary, ASL grammar, Deaf Culture and Conversational skills. Use of visual material (DVD), communicative activities, grammar drills, classifiers and Deaf Culture study. ASL 120 is not required to earn credit for ASL 110

Professor: Frances Conlin
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Fridaya; 2:30 to 3:20 pm

ASL 130.01 American Sign Language III

This course is designed to advance students’ sign language skills towards conversational proficiency.  Students will continue to develop expressive and receptive American Sign Language (ASL) skills towards an advanced level, participating in larger group conversations of varying topics.  Students will increase their knowledge of ASL grammatical principles and Deaf culture.  Students in this course shift from “learning to sign” to “signing to learn” by participating in larger group conversations of varying topics of personal and professional interest.

Prerequisites: ASL 120 or a placement evaluation by professor. 

Professor: Frances Conlin
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday -- Friday; 9:25 to 10:15 am

ASL 130.02 American Sign Language III

This course is designed to advance students’ sign language skills towards conversational proficiency.  Students will continue to develop expressive and receptive American Sign Language (ASL) skills towards an advanced level, participating in larger group conversations of varying topics.  Students will increase their knowledge of ASL grammatical principles and Deaf culture.  Students in this course shift from “learning to sign” to “signing to learn” by participating in larger group conversations of varying topics of personal and professional interest.

Prerequisites: ASL 120 or a placement evaluation by professor. 

Professor: Julia Silvestri
Course Type: ASL
Term: Fall 2021
Day/Time: Monday - Friday; 2:30 to 3:20 pm

ASL FAQ

Who will teach the ASL courses this coming year (2021-2022)?

Julia Silvestri and Frances Conlin.

Are enrollments capped?

Enrollment in ASL 110 will be capped at 18 and Enrollment in ASL 130 will be capped at 18

How will students be chosen for ASL 110 and 130?

Students should check off “request instructor permission” on their YCS worksheet.

Do ASL courses count toward fulfillment of the Foreign Language Requirement (FLR)?

Yes, they do. Please consult the academic regulations for information about the foreign language distributional requirement.