Joey: Past and Present

In this vlog, Joey discusses about (and shows!) how his ASL skills have evolved over 19 years. It is becoming more evident and important for us to evaluate our ASL skills, just like we do all the time with our English.


  • daveynin 17 years ago

    That what I call video log archives, or vlog archives.

  • Sandra Germinaro 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,

    I guess you could say, DPN 1988 Personal “VLOG” Documentary. I see it as a documentary since it’s histroical.

    Whatcha think?

    MAT ASL-English Bilingual Deaf Education-Gallaudet

  • David Kerr 17 years ago

    I would call that video archives. You can make it a video document or video clip if you put that in your vlog.

    In 1988, I think yours was 75 percent ASL and 25 percent PSL. I have not seen any Signed English or SEE…

    Of course, today yours is far more ASL than ever before!


  • michele 17 years ago

    wow! that is a real long time ago! I wouldn’t have recognized you if I saw this videotape at all.

    However, you are still a very eloguent (sp) signer — I can see the difference between your signings from past and now but you are very easy on the eyes for many of us to understand you. After DPN, ASL became more widely recognized and more people started to take notice of it so I agree with you that we have come in a long way using ASL. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • michele 17 years ago

    Also one more thing, I noticed in the early 1980’s, deaf people who signed in purely ASL were not considered intelligent so if we wanted to appear more intelligent, we would use signs that are more Englishy to prove our point. Now, I have seen this evolve and more people are using ASL, facial expressions and foregoing the Englishy signs.

  • Penny 17 years ago

    Joey- I do not agree with you. I watched your video carefully and you did not finger spelled that much. You seemed to finger spelled persons’ names and few adjective words. I do not agree with you that you signed too English. I can see that your signing style has changed over time due to maturity and you are being yourself today. You know during youth days, we tried to impress ourselves to audience…worried often what audience or friends think of us. As we get older, we become more confident with ourselves. I recalled when you were a young boy…you bounced on chair while you were talking but now as you are older…you tend to be more laid back and sign so cool…Wow! Smile. I am telling you the truth. Cross my heart! Anyway, linguistic may disagree with me. I am anxious to hear their perspective on this. 🙂

  • Ella Lentz 17 years ago

    wow! I feel as if I got to know you a bit more. You looked so different, I dont think I would recognize you back then, ha. I wonder what you looked like and how you signed as a high schooler?!
    As for your signing, I appreciate this vlog discussing changes of an individual signing style as one becomes more conscious of their ASL delivery. Very true about this importance of “academic ASL” and metalinguistic consciousness. As I told some people, I always try to videotape my presentations in order to keep on improving my delivery in ASL. Wonderful to see similiar thinking in a fellow Deaf person! Thanks!

  • Suzy 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,

    I love your crisp, clean cut signing style! I see you’ve evolved somewhat but most of your signing has been the same. I can’t really explain it except to echo what Penny and Ella have said. I’m not native to ASL and ASL is my 2nd language but I’m Deaf!

    I do agree with you that learning any language is a lifetime practice. I keep learning ASL and I wish there were more opportunities to express myself. I tend to go to theatre and sign language learning workshops. Sometimes I’m frustrated that when they give workshops for interpreters–I would like to go because I believe I could benefit. But I’m denied because I’m not an interpreting and/or not an interpreting student.

    Can I give you a little feedback? Please more specific in your summary under the vlog. You can tell us that you compared your present signing style by using your narration of the historic 1988 DPN movement.

    I always seem to enjoy your vlogs and being updated by you because you are so clear on the uprisings or issues that are on the forefront of Deaf Society. Funny thing, sometimes I do echo people signing on vlogs to practice their ‘delivery’ as if it were mine! How’s that for a secret to ASL learning!?

    Thank you for your priceless approach on all matters of our lives! Thank you for everything!

  • Don Grushkin 17 years ago

    Wow! There’s a face I haven’t seen for a long time! Anyway, I would call this a vlog precursor — it is not a vlog because you are not giving any real opinion or discussing a specific issue, you are just narrating the historical events. Someone called it a video archive — I would agree with that label.

    Also, as for your ASL, I would say your style has changed, not towards more fingerspelling, but maybe more of you have learned how to utilize formal ASL for your Vlog compared to back then when you might not have been aware of registers and how to incorporate them. Your style in 1988 appears more “informal”, probably similar to the way you talked everyday than for an audience. BTW, Veditz’s speech is oratory (and a great example of formal ASL), and MIGHT be considered a Vlog precursor as well, since he was definitely expressing an opinion about the current events of his day.

    At any rate, thanks for that blast from the past, Joey!

  • deafk 17 years ago


    Yeah! You looked so inspired by DPN!! We are thankful for the DPN events experience. Smile.

    Your signing skills still eloquently!! It is who you are!! Oh, only that guy in 1988 would have overlooked by me if the video was presented alone in a strange place, lol…


  • Robert 17 years ago

    Really cool! I noticed you started in sluggish PSE mode as if you’re acutely following a script. When you gained momentum in your signing you went on a roll towards using more of ASL. That’s what I noticed as very commonplace in extended talks!

  • John 17 years ago

    David Herr, PSL? People Sign Language?

  • Diane 17 years ago

    Your ASL (mostly 90 percent or more) signing is pretty much the same but your hair! I do remember you clearly because we are member of class ’89. I would call V-archives. Smile

  • mishkazena 17 years ago

    Interesting, Joey. We went to Gally at the same time and even participated in DPN.. but I don’t recognize your face. : /

    That week was definitely very memorable! 🙂

  • David Kerr 17 years ago

    Hi John

    PSL is Pidgin Sign Language, not People Sign Language. PSL is a mixture of ASL and English language.

  • Cousin Vinny 17 years ago

    You’ve definitely mellowed! 🙂 Your 1988 video was ‘fast and furious’, and your vlogs today are ‘accessible and calculated’. Ok, you try to come up with a catchy title for your ASL video entries!

    I wish I’ve videotaped myself during my Gallaudet days. This way, I could see for myself how much I’ve changed in using ASL.

  • Nick Vera 17 years ago


    Absolutely, I agreed with David Kerr’s perspective on your signing which is your most style in ASL. Indeed! You are more Deafy to me from my own view that glow my happiness as the beautiful ASL.
    I personally believe everyone in our community have evolved in the range ages from baby to the late adulthood with sign language approaches. There are various levels that most of us have with the background experience among ourselves.
    Accordingly to your recent remarks in the term of “vlog”, It can borrow from present to past as you archieved your own personal videotapes in order to preserve deaf culture and language. You could be the second George Veditz that everyone admire your courage to expose your new vlogs since 2006.
    I truly enjoy watching your vlog and educate my thoughts and increment of my mind like everyone else. Do continue on vlogging more often.
    Take care,


  • to David Kerr 17 years ago

    David Kerr, pidgin signs are NOT a language. They are a mix between two languages (and frequently a difficult to decipher one, in my opinion). The point is that pidgin does NOT follow linguistic rules and SHOULD NEVER BE CALLED A LANGUAGE.

    Also, the term pidgin is out of date. The current term is “contact signs.” Note the marked absence of the word “language.”

  • Julie Rems-Smario 17 years ago

    I love this! Recently I found some pictures of you from ’88 during Gallaudet Homecoming with Julie. So it is such a hoot to see this video of you!

    I have also watched my friends’ videos as well as mine from the 80s– Its fascinating to watch how the signing evolved over 20 years.

    Vlogs didnt exist during 80s and 90s so I think its best to be true to our history by calling old videos our historical video archives during pre-internet days.

    Veditz had the old fashioned camera for filming, Then came the bulky camcorders for beta and VHS and the size of camcorders reduced throughout the years. Now the super information highway changed the way we communicated. Vlogs reflects our current 2000s era. Vlogs are also far more interactive then the old videos. It is such an exciting time bringing the Deaf community closer together.

  • Judge 17 years ago

    Ah, your sign style hasn’t changed a bit!

    Thank you for sharing. I was in Israel when it happened and got the news thru Israel newspaper.

  • Jean Boutcher 17 years ago

    WoW, Joey! Had you not told me, I would not have recognised you! I must agree that the style of your signing has changed a great deal. Maybe you have become much more aware of the difference of linguistics between Signed English and ASL after you have become an educator.

    I would call it a documentary film rather than a vlog because you had recorded what happened during the 1988 DPN.

  • David Kerr 17 years ago

    Hello there

    Of course PSL is not a language. I never said it is a language. It is a mixture of two languages, ASL and English therefore it is not a language. I do not support PSL myself because it has caused language challenge for Deaf people who are not taught properly.

    I am glad that we are learning ASL and stay away from PSL and Signed English.


  • David Kerr 17 years ago

    I am very sorry. I realized I made a mistake. It should be PSE, not PSL. It is called Pigdin Signed English, PSE.

    Thank you for correcting my mistake.

  • Lantana 17 years ago

    Let’s not monkey around with HISTORY. Do not compare. Please!

    I have to tell you the truth that many of the new changes to ASL do not appeal to us older folks. We feel as tho we are losing our language.

    Yes, YOUR signs are “clean and crisp”, but not all of us have made a hobby out of ASL. We were far too busy earning a living and striving to figure out what the folks on t.v. were saying! I prefer that you do your thing and we do ours. ‘Without any whining, complaining or restrictions.

    AND I firmly believe that in a social setting, you people of an entirely different generation, have no right to criticize our ASL. I have seen too much of this lately and it is a huge turnoff. If you want to speak with me, then accept my “dialect” and stop and consider who you are speaking with.

    Respectfully, Lantana
    Lantana’s Latitude

  • J.J. Puorro 17 years ago

    Yeah, your signing is more clear and slow today…but I can see a similar style…with some evolution…

    Cool old video…

  • Jon Savage 17 years ago

    Good one!

    I was going to transfer from Videotape to digital video and save in file in the computer. I like your excellent idea to show old video to see how much improving ASL skills through history on vlog!

    Thank for shared!

  • SnoopyFreak 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,

    You looks so different, wow!!! I would say.. the video archives… The comment of #4.. you can make it videoclip in your vlog, but it depends on how long did your video make? for an example: 3 min, 5 min or more? because videoclip in your vlog that you can up to 10 min. I could be wrong.
    Hope you will make your video into your vlog to show us soon… it would be nice to have some history!!!

  • Jac 17 years ago

    If I would meet you before earlier, I would not recognize you since you look different today then before PLUS at first I saw you on VLOG this — I thought you were older than me, but I realized that you are close around my age while my husband was in Gally during DPN times in 1988. Anyway..
    I would say I call this “video archives” .
    For your sign language skills to compare with past and present. Your past was too beautiful perfect to make it very clear — you could be news reporter, anyway… I viewed this — I can say 50 percent of ASL/ 50 percent of PSL, but I did not notice you use that much of fingerspelling. Today is your skills is more ASL then PSL.

  • Jessica Phillips 17 years ago

    Back then we did not have the internet at our fingertips where we can share our pictures, videos, words with others. Back then we didn’t have blogging. I think vlogging is a different format of blogging where instead of writing our thoughts, we made videos of our signing or talking instead. Some prefer to blog more than to vlog while others vice versa.

    If George Veditz had all that available to him, do you think he would have put his video on the internet for us to see? I would think so. I think he would have wanted to reach out more to a larger audience with what he wanted to say to us. That would have been considered a vlog if it was done today. he just did what was available to him at the time and so did you. You had similar purpose as him where you wanted to document history. Would you have shared on the internet if all this was available back then?

    Got me thinking more about what “vlog” means. To me, it has more to do with the purpose of the video. Like writing letters, blogging, and writing in personal journal have their own different purposes. I think it is the same as making vlogs and making videos or movies. if I wanted to share my thoughts or comments on my blog but chose to do a video rather than write about it, then that would be a vlog. Considering the different times, the purpose would have been the same but with different technologies available.

    I was thinking about Shakespeare, if he had a word processor available, he may have used it to write his plays. Francis Bacon would have been thrilled to see how the internet was used to share scientific research information with each other.

  • Jana 17 years ago

    Hi Joey, I did not realize it was you. I am a class of 88 member and did see you around. I never realized it was you… you looked pretty much same excpet your hair. My hair grew more gray now. Neat watching you sign and I dont think you fingerspell a lot. One thing I noticed you signed “DEMAND” with letter “D” but now we sign IX finger with B “DEMAND”. Thanks for shaing your talent and show us your past and present video!

  • Penny 17 years ago


    I got to know Joey better when we greet at Deaf events. Joey is not the kind of person to put down on others or making fun of other people. He interact all different groups of people which many educated people normally don’t do. I watched his vlog last night and he was not comparing himself with older people like you. He was talking about how HIS signs have changed over years and wanted to share with us. He asked for our feedback. He was trying to say that as we get older, our language improved so ASL too. We all know that older generation has different style and yes you should be proud of it. I love their style. Many of them signed slow and graceful which we don’t have this quality today. Many of us sign fast and less fingerspelling too. My spelling is not great since I got a computer and now I have to rely on spelling check often. 🙂

  • Harmon Menkis 17 years ago

    Hearing people have a thing called “oral history”
    whereby history as they experienced it is recorded on audiotape, videotape, film, etc … I am not sure what to call what we have been doing lately except I am not too certain if Vlog (Blog) is the right term to use for our “oral” history unless we want to call it Signed History … I am open to suggestions here .. what the majority wishes will be my wish I guess.

  • RLM 17 years ago

    Whoa! What a robust young guy you were once! I couldn’t recall that you wore mustache during your Gally years. You still are a grand communicator.

    You came from the exposure of Total Communication at the Maryland School for the Deaf under Dr. David Dente’s educational leadership which contributed to your signing style.

    Constant use of fingerspellings usually were heavy among many old-time deaf people or pre-ASL linguistic awareness without taking formal classes in ASL linguistic structures, etc.

    I still consider fingerspellings of particular things or title or name of person to be part of ASL very much.

    You just signed “d” for the sign of “demand” out of the whole video footage on DPN to be part of the Total Communication method. You did sign weakly with “d” for demand.

    Otherwise, you and other deaf people highly tend to be Englishly when come to the presence of video/television camera. Other commentators said right about the influx of societal attitudes toward ASL signings as “unintelligent” back in the 80s before the DPN revolution.

    All of us get mature within our language usage. Our signing styles are much like hearing people’s voice development. We kinda master our language usage thru different stage of language development.

    Many thanks for sharing your video archives with us!

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  • h... 17 years ago

    we need to find out what term vlog really means. is vlog for internet only? if it is not just for internet, therefore anything we recorded on video can be called vlog. you brought the interesting topic.

  • Rose 17 years ago


    I must admit I was shocked to see so much difference in looks in your younger days!! I barely recognized you.

    I observed that you show more expressions now than before and tend to emphasize in getting points across. That time, you were focused on only getting the message across. Plus, you were much faster, perhaps due to the time limit of videoing ang that you had to be somewhere else at that point.

    Very interesting, Joey! After watching the video, I thought of myself signing 20 years ago. I do see so much changes! It has more to do with self-esteem, maturity, etc, not only due to the “evolution” of signing skills.

    Thank you for showing! 🙂 (I bet your kids “yelled”, ‘That’s Daddy?!'”

  • Jean Boutcher 17 years ago

    To Harman in #38:

    Blog was launched in the early 2000 by those who
    wanted to express their opinions or to criticise newspaper editors and columnists. They were inspired by Arianna Huffington and Bill Maher who politically corrected newspaper folks and the Bush administration on their nightly TV talks.

    What Joey did in 1988 was like a hearing
    reporter, recording the 1988 DPN — or a hearing narrator.. Recording the happenings is a documentary film.
    The first letter Blog is dropped and “V” is added when a person uses video.

  • Teri 17 years ago


    First of all, welcome back! It is so good to see you again.

    I hate to say this … I do not see any big difference between two videos; DPN & vLog except for ….

    You look more … mellow and handsome — even with white locks.

    What a distinguished one! 🙂

  • Elizabeth 17 years ago

    Joey looked same with his sign language as he is today…but his face changed….. Joey is a nice good looking now…..wink!!!

  • Darla 17 years ago

    Joey, you look young! But you are still crispy since then! Only thing I notice few signs that probably different today than then such as “demand” and few similarities. Maybe over years you had polished your style well by omiting those that weren’t feeling right. Like you did with “system”, you want to change it from “s” to “y”.

    However, I feel its smart to keep those old videos and remember how it was like once a time… and compare them to today. Its great way for the future Deaf people to see how we were.

    Cool one.
    Hope you can bring up more issues soon.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Sandra Goldstein 17 years ago

    One missing feature of yours is your mustache.

    Your signing style is the same. In 1988 you signed stiff but the same style as you sign currently.

    For the titile of your 1988 videotape, I would suggest the ASL History Video or Video Journal in place of History Book.

    I just thought of the word CANCER. Thousands of years ago millions of people died of cancer. Many doctors did not name cancer. Now the name of cancer brought up. We could say my great, great grandparents died of cancer. In their times they did not mention that they died of cancer. Nowadays we could say they died of cancer. Same principle..we could call VBlog no matter how long it was.

    Sandra ( mind-blogger)

  • Chriz 17 years ago

    Hi Joey-

    Wow, what a great vlog! This will give some ideas to many of us to record our signings so can compare over the years.

    What I saw on your DPN “archive” was not so much as a difference in signing (I am no ASL expert anyways!) as compared to now, but a maturation in signing that was influened in maturation in your personality. And, perhaps more awareness in communication skills in how to present to others… ie. your expression is lighter and you have more pauses or transitional phrases.

    Thanks for sharing! : )

  • Donnie Craig 17 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the video along with this great website. This 1988 video clip is definately not what I would label as a vlog. A vlog is more of a commentary format expressing your feelings, questions, and thoughts. You appeared more of a “newsreporter” covering the historical event of the protest although I could detect your exitement. A professional reporter would not convey its own opinion to the issue. I guess your clip would be a documentary type with a ting of vlogism. 🙂


  • Todd 17 years ago

    No, your ASL is pretty much the same in both.

    One of the other comments seemed to say that fingerspelling isn’t ASL, no, fingerspelling IS part of ASL. Hearing nonsigners and hearing speakers of English don’t use fingerspelling.

    You might get more relaxed as you continue your thought, but that doesn’t mean more or less ASL, just that you look less stiff after the first minute or so, that’s true of everybody.

    Vlogs/blogs are anything that’s posted on the web in the form of a personal diary that can also be open to the public or only to some invited friends or open only to yourself.

    Your video from DPN – I was there as a graduate student and participated myself in DPN but didn’t know you and saw you around campus from a distance – that’s more like a personal video documentary. You can’t call it a vlog even now because it wasn’t in the form of a personal diary posted on the Internet. Now you can call it a video clip that’s now posted on the web, but by itself it’s still not a vlog, sorry.

    Even Veditz’s talk isn’t a personal diary posted on the web, it’s a film of a public speech from back then. It wasn’t filmed as part of a film documentary so it’s not that either, though it was filmed to document the use of ASL back then, not the same thing! But that film clip can be used as part of a film documentary later.

    Someone used the analogy of cancer, although back then people didn’t use that word, we can call today what they had back then cancer. But that’s a false analogy. A vlog or blog is still a personal diary that is posted on the web and can be either public or private, there was no web or web posting back then, period, but we did have cancer back then. That person who said that about cancer as an analogy is actually comparing apples with oranges, not apples with apples or oranges with oranges.

    Interesting to see how everybody defines vlog differently in all the comments! I agree with some of the other definitions of a vlog I see here, and disagree with other definitions of what a vlog is that I also see here.

  • Sandra Goldstein 17 years ago

    To Todd,

    I really disagree with you regarding the comparison of appleas and oranges. We cannot compare apples with oranges because they are different.

    For example, I taught at several different schools. I could not compaire one school with another school because the administrators are different as well quality of students is different. We cannot compare apples with oranges because they both are different.


  • Peggy Prosser 17 years ago

    Yes, I notice that your ASL has evolved. Isn’t that something! And your video about DPN , I ‘d agree that its a Vlog.

  • Jeff Jones 17 years ago

    To my surprise, your current personality is much different than who you were while you were a student of Gallaudet via your ASL skills! I thought you were still the same person as before. However, after watching the show above, I realized you are much more maturer than when you were during your Gallaudet days! Interesting!

  • Tara (MO) 17 years ago

    Wow, big change! Ha! Your looks, ASL style and all are so different than now and of course that is because of the maurtity and knowledge has grown more and more since then. 🙂

  • Darnell B. Woods 17 years ago

    I think this is a video archive piece. It’s evidence of what ASL has evolved from your own personal growth. I was a Gallaudet freshman during the spring of 1988. At that time I had yet captured the true meaning of the Deaf culture. My signing skills we’re not yet anywhere they are now. Today I believe I am an advocate for ASL-Bilingual education. ASL skills evolve as well as the language itself. I can attest to this piece and be proud to say this is who I am too.

  • Cynthia K 17 years ago

    (re: Lantana)
    While I was taking Interpreting classes, my professor and boss (himself a CODA) taught us that there are accents in ASL as there are in any other language and should all be respected. (just a comment)

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    Amidst all the praises heaped on how our ASL evolves over the years, we can tell how we have become more proficient in ASL by becoming more active in the Deaf Community or through video visibility and exposure; it is the self-examination and the DeafHoodism that elevates ASL to a new level. There is more awareness, more evidence, more spirit, and more focus on ASL. That is one of the reasons why I embrace DeafHood, Deaf Culture, and everything else DEAF because it causes us to dive and swim in ASL. ASL is promoted. And we are particularly mesmerized by how the fluidity of ASL evolves into a more mature, cool demeanor style of signing over the years with Joey Baer as a good
    example. It is how we deliver it and how we stay poised while retaining the repertoire of expressions and body language without rocking too much. That brings that many more hits to a v-log! Agree? Because, the message is opened and closed, thus making a delivery successful. That’s ASL!

  • Thinker in Austin.. 17 years ago

    I’d say your video would be currently, a DPN 1988 “VLOG” Documentary. If you document it back in 1988, it could be called a VLOG. Make a copy of it and donate it to Gallaudet Library Archive.

    As for your sign language, maybe I would call it “academic” sign language. Yeah, i would call it “academic” sign language. I ain’t going any further, cuz I know if I did, then the discussion/argument would go NOWHERE or FOREVER.

    Peacefully Yours.

  • ROSIE 17 years ago

    wow, you were very inspiring back then. What I see is still ASL. English? Hardly. Yes you are different now, but some things have remained the same. You seemed very energentic back then, now more relaxed. Of course answers you probably already know. Nice ending there!


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