300 West Hopkins St. Calkins rm. 112 Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 firstname.lastname@example.org November 2 , 2009 Mrs. Sue Chrouch Murphy, M.A. Instructor, English Department 030 B Anspach Central Michigan University Mt. Pleasant, Mi 48859 Dear Professor Sue : The topic I wish to address for my research paper is American Sign Language (ASL), what it is, whom it affects, and possibly some of its culture and history . The point I am looking to argue, which is also my tentative thesis statement is : American Sign Language should be viewed as a viable choice for a second language . My interest in the Deaf community comes from a life-long interest in the language itself, but also from taking a college ASL course last semester . I t is because of my experience in this course that I firmly believe that ASL should be considered as an alternative language . Central Michigan University (CMU) does not classify it as such, so my intended audience will be the faculty, staff, and students of CMU . When looking for information to convince my audience of the truth of my argument, I will be looking for ASL logistics and how the language itself is structured. I also need to resea rch the size of the Deaf community and whom else ASL can or does affect. Therefore, the question that I will co nstantly be trying to answer is: Why should ASL be considered as a foreign language? One argument that I may have to counteract is that Ameri can Sign Language is not a language, but a formation of random gestures. I will then explain that the hand gestures are only a portion of the language, and that ASL, like many other languages, has its own grammatical rules. As of right now I am unclear on what the general hearing public realize and understand about ASL and those who use it. I do believe, however, that the majority of the hearing community do es not realize how large the Deaf community is. I expect that many of the s ources that support my position will be written by either communication or linguistic professors, or by Deaf individuals . One journal source I found, from the Christian Monitor , stated how ASL is considered to be a foreign language in many different schools, and how course enrollment with these classes have gone up. Another source I found, A Basic Course in American Sign Language , gives more of a general view into the culture and history of ASL itself. Sincerely yours, Janelle Hesselink
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