Spring 2017

Document Type

Master's Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


American Sign Language (ASL) is offered as a foreign language at many universities across the United States. Most research on ASL acquisition focuses on Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) children and first language (L1) acquisition. In this quantitative experimental study, a sample of undergraduate hearing students in intermediate ASL classes were given ASL grammar lessons that accompanied traditional language lessons. It was hypothesized that ASL students exposed to explicit written grammar lessons would show an increase in fluency. Participants were given a pre-test and post-test consisting of 20 English sentences and were asked to translate them into written ASL gloss. The treatment group was given one explicit ASL grammar lesson a week for a period of five weeks. Independent t-tests were run on the post-test results and no statistical differences occurred between the treatment and control groups. However, the treatment group improved at twice the rate of the control group which leads to a partial acceptance of the hypothesis. These results reinforce the need for further research on hearing ASL students given explicit ASL grammar instruction in language-only programs. These data will serve as a preliminary foundation for further research in the field of ASL acquisition in hearing students.