Manually Coded English is a generic descriptive term for a variety of visual communication methods expressed through the hands. Unlike American Sign Language, MCE does not have its own grammar or syntax; instead it generally follows the word order of spoken English. Because of this, forms of MCE can successfully be used with Simultaneous Communication - this is not possible with ASL because it involves speaking two languages at the same time. It is common for a native ASL speaker to code-switch into a form of MCE when conversing with someone whose first language is not ASL. Manually Coded English is frequently found in educational settings, where it is used to promote literacy in written English.

Types of Manually Coded English

Seeing Essential English (SEE1)

Developed in 1966 by a deaf teacher named David Anthony, SEE1 was intended to teach proper grammatical construction by using gestures borrowed from ASL but ''not'' in a linguistically logical manner. In SEE1, all compound words are formed as separate signs - instead of using the ASL sign for butterfly, SEE1 places the signs for butter and fly in sequential order. SEE1 also uses the same sign for all homonyms - the same sign is used to sign blue and blew. Many gestures from ASL are initialized in SEE1 - the ASL sign for have is signed with the H handshape in SEE1. Grammatical markers also have signs of their own, including the -ing ending and articles such as the, which are not typically included in ASL. The verb "to be" is unique in SEE1 - is, am, and are are signed in the same way, again using initialization. SEE1 is occasionally referred to as Morphological Sign System (MSS), and it has also been adapted in Poland into Seeing Essential Polish.

Signing Exact English (SEE2)

SEE2 was developed by Gerilee Gustason in 1972. As an offshoot of SEE1, many features of SEE2 are identical to that code system. Initializations and grammatical markers are also used in SEE2, but compound words with an equivalent ASL sign are used as the ASL sign, as with butterfly. SEE2 is also used in Singapore.

Linguistics of Visual English (LOVE)

Developed by Dennis Wampler, LOVE is also quite similar to SEE1 in construction. While most forms of ASL and MCE are transcribed using English glosses, LOVE is written using the notation system developed by William Stokoe.

Signed English

A much more simple system than SEE1, SEE2, or LOVE, Signed English (occasionally referred to as Siglish) uses ASL signs in English word order, but only 14 grammatical markers. The most common method of Signed English is that created by Harry Bornstein, who worked on the Gallaudet Signed English Project to develop children's books written in both illustrated signs and written English.

Conceptually Accurate Signed English (CASE)

CASE, one of the more recently developed forms of MCE, combines the grammatical structure used in Signed English with the use of concepts rather than words, as is done in ASL. It is becoming one of the more common forms of MCE, and has been used in both interpreter training programs and mainstreamed deaf education.

Pidgin Sign English (PSE)

The only form of MCE that incorporates ASL linguistic features, PSE is a contact language and is sometimes referred to as Contact Sign. PSE drops the initalizations and grammatical markers used in other forms of MCE, but retains basic English word order. ASL features often seen in PSE include the listing of grouped items and the repetition of some pronouns and verbs. Because of PSE's standing as a bridge between two distinct languages, it is often used differently by each individual based on their knowledge of spoken English and of ASL.

Rochester Method

Perhaps the closest type of MCE to written English, the Rochester method involves fingerspelling every word. It was originated by Zenas Westervelt in 1878, shortly after he opened the Western New York Institute for Deaf-Mutes (presently known as the Rochester School for the Deaf). Use of the Rochester method continued until approximately the 1940s, and there are still deaf adults from the Rochester area who were taught with the Rochester method. It has fallen out of favor because it is a tedious and time-consuming process to spell everything manually.

Cued Speech

Cued Speech is unique among forms of MCE in that it does not use gestures that are equivalent to English words. Instead, Cued Speech uses eight handshapes - none of which are derived from ASL handshapes - to represent consonants, and four hand placements around the face to represent vowel sounds. R. Orin Cornett, who developed Cued Speech in 1966 at Gallaudet University, sought to combat poor reading skills among deaf college students by providing deaf children with a solid linguistic background. Cued Speech must be combined with mouthing of words, as it is an aid to differentiating sounds that look identical on the lips. Just as speechreading is a difficult process, Cues are not readily understood without mouthing because they may represent as many as ten sounds. Cued Speech handshapes, combined with speechreading, have made it easier for many deaf children to learn English. Cued Language has been adapted for use in several countries around the world.

External References

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