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Monday, June 12, 2017

Hundreds Attend First ASL Poetry and Folklore Event

 ASL Club members
About 350 people attended the first American Sign Language Poetry and Folklore Event, a night celebrating deaf culture and the beauty of the language.

Six deaf performers entertained the audience during the free event, presented by the College of Education’s Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (DLE)/American Sign Language and the San Diego State University ASL Club.

“The purpose of the event was to educate and entertain about deaf culture, jokes, poetry, and stories to hearing students who are taking ASL classes from SDSU and other colleges in San Diego County, a member of ASL community, family and friends,” said Janette Dorricott, DLE lecturer. “Our goal is to provide more variety of entertainment every spring.”

For nearly two hours, Dorricott and five other performers staged a night full story-telling and skits in American Sign Language. They were: ASL lecturers Adam Frost and Svenna Pedersen; two of Dorricott’s colleagues, Maureen Mazza and David Gomez; and SDSU student, Isaiah Moore. SDSU alumnus Isidore Niyongabo served as the master of ceremonies.

Together, they delighted the crowd with three ASL poems (Dandelion, One Harbor, and I'm Sorry), 10 important facts about ASL and nine folklore stories (Lost Dog, A Drunk Guy, White Horse, Three Men on the Train, Hitchhiker, The Wiz of the Handland, Two Hunters, At the Pub, and The Motel).

It is estimated that between 250,000 to 500,000 people in the United States use American Sign Language, including a number of children of deaf adults.

The ASL Club was established on campus “to promote awareness of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture at SDSU and around the community, preserve ASL and deaf studies, provide a friendly productive learning environment for ASL, deaf studies, for all SDSU students through social and educational events on and off campus.”