Bigger Picture: Follow up

Greetings – Thanks to those who commented under my recent vlog, “Let’s Look at the Bigger Picture”. I would like to respond to some commenters especially the use of handshape “y” for system.


  • Johanna 17 years ago

    I agree with you Joey. That good point for “Y” system something new to them. Why not use ASL “Y” system. Keep up ASL forever!

    God Bless with you and your family.

  • Mike Gough 17 years ago

    The only concern I am having is that how do we handle with our attidutes toward to these “low function” people if we ever receive our ASL back.

  • JJ 17 years ago

    Interesting to see a new “Y” system sign. It makes a sense bec (2h)”Y” sign can use for same old thing or same way over again and again. The concept for system sign and over again sign seems relating each other. Hearies focus on audio system (audists) in same over again. We want to stop them and make our own system in ASL same over again and be strong!
    I like your new trend “Y”. 😀

  • Edward Nugent 17 years ago

    If we are happy with our language ASL, they should respect us.

  • todos la vie 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,
    I was looking forward to watching your vLog, but I have to admit I’m not an admirer of those inserted captions in between your messages which disrupts the flow of your ASL. I could withstand one or two vLogs (DE’s), but I can’t and don’t wish to work too hard in trying to read people’s messages, especially when there’s merit. I’m already overwhelmed in my own life to deal with these nuances. And especially when the messages are nothing more/ less than reiterations of other people’s ideas.

  • Rene Visco 17 years ago

    Sorry. I dislike the handshape, “Y”. It doesn’t make sense because it will create confusion.

    Why bother reinventing the wheel?

    How do we define the stubborn system, unwilling to change, such as the educational system treating hearing impaired students?

  • DeafWoman 17 years ago

    Hi…I find it interesting about the signing word, system in “Y” and “S”, as I’ve always used the “S” but now I’m going to start using “Y”…I first noticed Aidan using it…thought it was Californian’s sign (me duh!), but apparently it’s not, smiles! I love watching vlogs n reading blogs…I’m SO glad that you kind of started vlogging, and now it’s widespread, I will, eventually, make my vlog some day soon. I agree with Barb DiGi, as I feel my heart burning with desire to get our beautiful ASL to be more acceptable for ALL ages, not just the babies/toddlers. ASL is TRULY PHENOMONAL and BEAUTIFUL!!

  • jon 17 years ago

    Hello Joey!!

    Same new sign for HOW in “Y” handshaped. Kudos to ALL of your vlogs!

    Jon Savage

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago


    Thanks for your comments.

    Todos la vie – thanks for your valuable input – I will look into that.

    Rene – How do we define the stubborn system? That’s something we need to discuss and form strategies how to change the system. It takes time but it is very possible. That’s what the bigger picture is!

    Deaf Farmer described the use of handshape “Y” best than anyone else (my opinion). You can see it at:

  • Penny 17 years ago

    I am unable to watch DE and your vlog as I am dog sitting (four dancing french bull dogs) at my sister’s place and their computer does not have the Quicktime version. I think I figured out what you were discussing by reading comments and other vlogs. I don’t like the sign “Y” for system because it looks like we are trying to sugarcoat the system which has abused Deaf community for centuries. I want to sign “S” to emphasize that the system “up there” are still abusing us even today. If we use “Y” it is like we are meek and submissive to the system. This is how I view this.

  • IamMine 17 years ago

    It sure has been interesting the past few days, eh?


    I admit I am not one of the “y” club – I even was willing to change it…but ah, if the majority goes for it…

    …I’ll go with the flow. 🙂

    I don’t want to turn into one of those old-fashioned people going, “That’s the way it always has been!” 😉

  • Judy B 17 years ago

    Thank you for emphasize us with system sign “Y”, and our precious ASL.

    I usually uses bent “B” for system (similiar as “house” but in a different flow of signing) since “S” is not ASL, it is SEE.
    We need more exposure on ASL instead of speaking and signing Deaf on television. There are so many D/deaf actors/actresses starting to use some ASL then switch to speaking. They have big influence on the hearing community to consider oral approach or total communication and ignore the importance of our real language, ASL.

    Many of us are concerned about young babies and children having CI, but what about adult who were born deaf/Deaf or become D/deaf when they were young decided to get CI? They encourage hearing parents to consider CI for thier D/deaf babies and young children. This is something we need to think about how not to have babies and small children getting CI.

    We need to focus on the system itself because the government is running the show and they are getting larger fundings from hidden contribution — from people who supported hearing and speech and neglected the Deaf community who supported in Deaf culture and ASL. We need to work with the government by promoting ASL, and of course, from any Deaf organizations and businesess donating monies and developing or updating policy.

    Judy B

  • Lantana 17 years ago

    I think I would have been better off with the “Dancing Bulldogs”. Thanks, but no thanks. Let’s preserve our original language, just like the Indians are trying to do . God bless them!

    I am not against positive improvement, but changing a LANGUAGE takes alot of nerve and possibly might involve a teeny bit of ego .


  • George 17 years ago

    signing system, I use S letter with both hands together and I spread my both hands out with Y then come down with M both hands. I hope I make myself clear. I respect all signs.

  • Christina 17 years ago

    Actually, I think changing the signs that we re all used to in deaf community means that we cannot even work together, is no wonder why ASL has still not be recognized as a language because it keeps on changing, and it is kind of unfair to us all when we are struggling to be one as a big community as there are already big diversity among us in catorigies(hard of hearing, SEE,Oral, and many more),yet we make demands for being equal , how can we be equal if the signs of ASL keep on changing, and we re all trying to keep up with the power of language where we thought it should be just one unique language where we all will finally agree on and become our universe language. I don’t see that happening because our ASL standards keep on changing so much is why we will never accomplish our goal as a deaf community for our own language to be recognized. We make so much demands on hearing world to learn ASL, yet in our own world, it is even more complicated for us( our own deaf community in varieties of deafness loss) to keep up with what is right and what is wrong to use the ASL language. Speaking of trying to have an good leader, I would imagine one will be able to have ASL language that will work and make sense for everyone without making it so complicated and so strangely while we haven’t even got our own language recognized wide world. SO Im saying, Slow Down and don’t change our signs, even if there are regional and state signs but we all know and can figure it out and yet be able to sign ASL but to invent new signs that no one seems to part with, I don’t agree since We are still struggling with our own language to begin with and have not been accepted in every area in higher places. Give ASL like it has been for a long time a chance without changing it so much and let us all evolve with time and patience without confusing and conflicting. U speak of system within leadership, which is exactly the problem, We forgot that We are not all smart people and there are a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people with low levels that are still part of our community, and We re basically forcing so much new things when we are still trying to get our ASL language to be our first language, I feel bad and I think that is the big problem we have in our community, we expect so much and yet cannot work together to make ONE big GOAL of all of us to be SUCCESS is GETTING our ASL language RECOGNIZED!! We find so much petty things among us and no wonder we re no better than other stereotypes of groups which has been labeled by the Government. Hearing People here in America share same spoken languages(ENGLISH) but with different accents, so Why cannot WE have the same privilege of that only that We do have accents from our regional and states in SIGNS? Without changing our ASL in general?

  • Oscar the Observer 17 years ago

    Ouch! Christina made an interesting point. I tend to agree that we need to be SURE that we standardize our language. However there is a danger that we try to match our signs to English words. That was what I essentially argued against in my response. Yes, we need a neutral sign that translate into ‘system’ but we can not and WILL NOT expect our signs to conform to English expectations. That is all I can say for now.

  • J.J. Puorro 17 years ago

    Thanks for explaining why you use the “Y” hand shape for ‘system’.

    Personally, I think I’ll stay with “S”….just because I like “S” better….


    P.S.-Post #3, I am the original “J.J.” find a new name…heh heh

  • Ted Henry 17 years ago

    Joey, I am surprise at you. 🙂
    I thought you would agree changing the signs is no-no. Oh well. I like “s” better.


  • Nehemiah brock 17 years ago

    Hey, so far deaf community discuss about system funcational work. We need to get the ANSWER to solve the problem. Therefore We need get ourselves in action to get there.
    Why not NAD do else abt it. Since America reconize us through NAD organize.

    So We need to establish ASL organize to delopement material research information and observe.

  • Nehemiah brock 17 years ago

    I forgot to add one more comment.

    I think We all National Deaf make march thru cities same day to show Deaf Communites Asl and Let them reconize us Deaf people One Goal Unity Peace of Languages.



  • Katherine 17 years ago

    I hope to have time to participate in the blogosphere more as well starting my vlog soon. Vlog will be the hardest part as I’m never fond of being in the center of attention. Joey, I do appreciate people like you, Barb DiGi and a few others and will look to that as an inspiration to
    get started.

    Rene, here is a food of thought I want to share about your disagreement with handshape from “S” to “Y.” I do not want to dwell on this specific sign but to talk generally in relation to this issue.

    All those years, hearing people make up signs that’s not natural and influence deaf children.
    Now, I see some certain deaf people adopting the attitude from hearing people that it’s ok to make up signs. It makes me cringe and it shows they have no respect for culture (Deaf) and language (ASL) of our community. We need to take back our language and be the ones who control the progression of the natural language.
    For example, car, truck and bus sign with inital are slowly going into extinction.

    Joey made a very good point about how easy it is for hearing babies and people to learn ASL and the language even if they don’t master at it.
    It seems it is because that’s where money is made. For deaf children to get exposure in ASL doesn’t make them money. This has to be stopped because it is no longer tolerable that deaf children continue to be illiterate at its worst rate since the post-Milan Conference.

  • Paul 17 years ago

    The “Y” sign for system makes sense because it is expected of a system to be same every time you need it and it works that way otherwise it will be confused.

    Besides, using the “S” would be moot because it would defeat the purpose of ASL using the English mode, the first letter of the word therefore it is time to reclaim our language and teach ourselves that asl mode and show the world it’s here to stay!!!!

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    Hi again and heres my responses to some commenters above:

    I need to clarify that it is not my intention to tell you to change how we sign ‘system’. As you can see from my vlog, I simply explained why I liked using handshape “Y” instead of “S”. If you prefer to use “S”, so be it. Like Seek Go said, what’s big deal about the argument. Don’t you realize that there are some words we sign are in different ways anyway?

    #12 – A Deaf Pundit – I agree with you that we should work on some kind of unified Public Relations strategy. Your suggestions are excellent and maybe that will be one area we should focus and strategize. (1/2 of time like you said.)

    #20 – Christina – You thought that if we change our signs, that means we can’t work together. I humbly disagree with your assessment. Language and System are two entirely different things. Language do evolve over the time and like Oscar (#21) said, we need to STANDARDIZE our language! Speaking of the system, that’s other thing and I am very postitive that we can work together. Who did thought that we are working closer than ever in last 12 months? We are getting there – to the BIGGER picture!

    #26 – Nehemiah Brock: I like your idea and suggestion – Let’s MARCH! Like ‘A Deaf Pundit’ mentioned on her blog, we should deafinitely keep this in mind.

    Upward we go!

  • DT 17 years ago

    To the few commenters who have suggested the “S” handshape is derived from SEE, I disagree. It just happens that this particular “S” sign has been around for a long time in ASL, perhaps longer than SEE has been around. Like my good friend, Stan, says, by way of example, what about the ASL sign for “water”? Is it SEE? I don’t think so but hey, the “Y” is alright but I shall keep the “S” until the majority reigns….it’s not a big deal to me….

  • Deaf Farmer 17 years ago

    Yes, I agree with DT’s comment. MY point is that it is up to Deaf Community if they accept the handshape of “Y” or not. We do not need an arguement or debate for only one word in the Vlogs. It’s that simple. Some of us prefer the handshape of “S” and some of us (like Joey and I) prefer the handshape of “Y”. It is fine for all of us because it is not a big deal.

    I agree with Joey’s comment (#31 in the first paragraph).

  • yodelgirl5 17 years ago

    I’d rather to use “five” instead of Y or S, because Y is letter of Y and same with letter of S, both are English sign to me. So “five” is more like ASL to me. What do you think, folks?!

  • yodelgirl5 17 years ago

    I mean \”five\” downward and make it like half moon downward . Well??

  • Jessica 17 years ago

    I went over to see Deaf Farmer’s vlog as you suggested and since I can’t leave a comment there because I don’t have a Google account. But wanted to say I agree with you that what he said was really well expressed! A good linguistic analysis of the word. As I mentioned somewhere else, it seems so far that Y-system and S-system have been accepted into the mainstream ASL vocabulary so how about T-system? It doesn’t feel or look right so my guess is that it is not gonna make it. I agree with him that it is the community who picks up the signs as there are several signs that are signed differently but are accepted. So interesting discussion so far.

    Anyway, looking forward to how the bigger picture can become into more concrete action.

  • Sandra Goldstein 17 years ago

    ASL sign for system… s or y

    Why cannot we preserve our old signs??
    If some people want to use Y sign for the word system, we cannot tell them not to use Y sign.

    I am disappointed to see some changes in signs. We must use same signs forever. If we change our signs, our old signs will be gone forever.

    The quote is No sign is right and No sign is wrong. So be it!

    Look at the dictionary… we do not change the letters in a word…same principle with our sign.

  • Deaf Farmer 17 years ago

    Hi Sandra,

    I understand that you prefer to use same signs for forever. Unfortunately, some of ASL have been changed since 1800’s and some of them WILL change in the future. Honestly, I prefer to use same signs but I have to accept the fact (not just about ‘Y’ system but other signs). I will sign in my Vlog this week.

  • Lee 17 years ago

    this may sound a bit dorkish on my part, but when i first “saw” (heard) of you using ‘Y,’ the first thing I thought of was YITBOS? -grin-

  • CK 17 years ago

    Joey, Thank you for this. I try to keep up on my ASL the best I can (I’m hearing). I was an interpreter for 8 years and have taught ASL (high school level and now to my jr high students). I’ve recently “discovered” the vLOG site and would like to view it more than I have time for…anyway. I like to see anything that I can use to help my students learn culturally accepted languages and practices. Thank you!

  • Orkid : ) 17 years ago

    I agree with comment #41 with Becks.

    Any spoken or sign languages do change often with times, location, cultures, educational, communities, etc etc.

    For an example of sign vocabs. Remember the previous deaf generation still had the habit of using different signs for ASIAN countries? Sign J on the eye, K on the eye, C on the eye, etc. Many ASIAN people find that very insulting and don’t find it very respectful.

    Should we respect older deaf generation to keep that signs for themselves??? Or should we change to more politically corrected signs?

    I am leaving that questions in your thought.

    – O.

  • Rolling eyes 17 years ago

    The “Y” sign for SYSTEM is NOT new. Joey did not invent it. The ‘Y’ sign is about one decade old. Got it, people?

    Discussing how the sign was used was somewhat shallow. In other word, should we talk about how many of you were incapable of looking at the bigger picture?

    We need to seize the opportunity to participate in Joey’s thought-provoking dialogue about looking at the bigger picture.

  • Mick 17 years ago

    Hi Joey,

    Do you have any info for the deafhood workshop that will be given workshops all over states and dates this year? Because I’d like to know if they have deafhood workshop in Missouri in the near future?


  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    Mick –

    I will forward your questions to the Deafhood presenters. I will work with them in setting up a website showing their presentation dates at different places all over in the country. In this way, you can see and know what’s what with Deafhood workshops.

    Thank you very much for your interest!


  • Josh 17 years ago

    “Y” sign in system could be used but sometimes I am afraid it can be considered as architecture. I do see it often among some people who are involved in computer careers where I am right now. There are too many signs that can be misunderstood among the peers as if you plan to use “Y” in system.

    Been pondering about developing new signs for any technology terms as we are moving forward into Information Age.. and developing those new signs are necessary because we will use them frequently but how will we reach to agreement if there is no “ASL” group to determine the signs. I know there are several groups but dont see them or be able to learn from them.

    As you can see English has developed into a standardized language and ASL hasnt gotten there yet.. We need to work together but HOW?

    Just a thought I would like to share.

  • Ginger Leon 17 years ago

    Hello, I just happened to browse the deaf blogs and vlogs..There are two things I would like to bring up: bilingual education and the “y” handshape for SYSTEM. I agree that bilingual education is the best method for deaf students so that way students can be taught through ASL and learn to read and write in English through ASL. I continue to support that kind of path. Secondly, I still don’t get enough information from you about why you use “y” handshape for SYSTEM. I am currently in Minnesota and I like their sign for system. It is “bent open B” handshape and the movement is same as “y” and “s”. I have been using “S” for a long time until I moved to Minnesota.
    Just thought that I should give my input. There is nothing wrong with different kinds of signs. That makes ASL more interesting (smile).


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