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Before the early eighteenth century, forms of communication among the

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 268, Date : 14-Aug-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Before the early eighteenth century, forms of communication among the deaf were often not regarded as authentic language. Accepted wisdom held either that the deaf were making simple gestures to communicate basic needs and ideas, or, in a more generous view, that sign language was a physical method of expressing the words and syntax of spoken language. Once it was recognized, however, that forms of signing constituted valid, though non-oral, systems of language, sign systems were standardized and disseminated in educational programs for the deaf.

American Sign Language was one of the first standardized sets of signs to develop in response to this new understanding of communication among the deaf. ASL had its beginnings in 1817 when Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, an American minister, recruited Frenchman Laurent Clerc to co-found what is now the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Clerc had been an instructor at the premiere educational institution for the deaf in France, where a standardized system of signs had been in use in for nearly a century. The language Clerc developed for the school was based heavily on the French Sign Language with which he, being deaf, routinely communicated. At the school, French Sign Language mingled with various and idiosyncratic “home signs” brought into the classroom by students from Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts where there were an unusually large number of deaf children. Within only a few years, the mixture of French Sign Language with Home Sign had reached equilibrium and was taught in other institutions for the deaf as American Sign Language. Today, though it continues to be spontaneously adjusted to suit local needs, ASL is the third most common language in the United States, the dominant sign language of North America, and a popular form of inter-dialect communication in parts of Africa.


1. The author likely relates the history of American Sign Language in order to

A) Entertain the reader with historical facts.
B) Advocate greater flexibility in the development of sign languages.
C) Compare two perspectives on types of communication used by the deaf.
D) Provide a historical example of a sign language that was first standardized then disseminated.
E) Explore cooperation among nations in the development of languages for the deaf.



2. In the bolded lines the author most likely says that the second traditional understanding of sign language as a physical method of expressing the words and syntax of spoken language was a more generous view because

A) It considers deaf people incapable of using words and syntax in ways that imitate spoken language.
B) It was the more commonly held view among people who gave the most money to the deaf.
C) This position, though not indisputable, is a paraphrase of the point the author is making in the rest of the passage.
D) This perspective, though not completely accurate, was nearer the understanding that sign language is a valid system of language.
E) This viewpoint is the same as that eventually espoused by Gallaudet and Clerc.



3. Based on information in the passage, the author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following?

A) Gallaudet would have been unable to found a school for the deaf without Clerc’s assistance.
B) French Sign Language and Home Sign were equally important contributions to the development of American Sign Language.
C) American Sign Language eventually surpassed the usefulness and flexibility of French Sign Language.
D) Centuries of misunderstood methods of communication among the deaf made the development of standardized sign languages inevitable.
E) The deaf living on Martha’s Vineyard would not have formed their own standardized system of signs if they had not been introduced to French Sign Language.



4. It can be inferred from the passage that American Sign Language borrowed liberally from French Sign Language for which of the following reasons?

A) Many students at the school could read and write French, making the transition to French Sign Language simple.
B) French Sign Language was held by educators of the deaf in France to be almost flawless.
C) French Sign Language was a standardized system of signs already familiar to one of the founders of the school.
D) French Sign Language was equally as expressive as the “home sign” languages that students from Martha’s Vineyard brought to the school.
E) The founders of the school believed French Sign Language to be superior to British Sign Language.


Originally posted by Rock750 on 23 Apr 2013, 02:35.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 14 Aug 2019, 08:26, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (143).
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New post 07 May 2014, 23:55
I disagree with #3 answer.
Here is why: "Within only a few years, the mixture of French Sign Language with Home Sign had reached equilibrium and was taught in other institutions for the deaf as American Sign Language." Reaching equilibrium doesn't constitute that it was equally important. For instance, French SL could have influenced it 90% and Home sign influenced it 10%, an equilibrium would still be reach - though both are not equally important.

Please comment.
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New post 08 May 2014, 22:21
junwlee wrote:
I disagree with #3 answer.
Here is why: "Within only a few years, the mixture of French Sign Language with Home Sign had reached equilibrium and was taught in other institutions for the deaf as American Sign Language." Reaching equilibrium doesn't constitute that it was equally important. For instance, French SL could have influenced it 90% and Home sign influenced it 10%, an equilibrium would still be reach - though both are not equally important.

Please comment.


Answer 3 is not concise but is most appropriate among the answer choices
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New post 27 May 2014, 22:58
For #3, we're looking for something the author would "most likely agree with"--it doesn't haven't to be 100% provable. Reaching equilibrium implies that both languages were an equal part of the mix. While it's certainly possible that they weren't equal in importance, just usage, the answer choice is certainly supported.

Note that A & E make unsupported claims about "alternative history"--X would not have happened without Y. These are very hard to prove! Similarly, (D) uses the extreme word "inevitable." Again, it's hard to prove that something couldn't not have happened. (C) might seem to make sense, but we don't know that ASL was an improvement over French Sign Language--it was just an American version. I'm guessing French folks would still prefer their version!
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New post 27 May 2014, 23:06
#2:

The bolded statement starts by describing a rather dismissive interpretation of sign language (the deaf were just making simple gestures), followed by a "more generous view," meaning a view that gives deaf users of sign language more credit. In this view, sign language is seen as a way of expressing spoken language with gestures. This is still a step below the eventual view that sign language is a language of its own.

A) This is the opposite.
B) This is totally out of scope. The word "generous" here has nothing to do with giving money.
C) This is not the author's view. It is one step below.
D) There we go. This view is a step toward the "correct" view in the following sentence, making it more "generous" than the interpretation in the first half of the sentence.
E) There's no support for this, and it doesn't explain the use of the word "generous."
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New post 11 Oct 2018, 22:28
in Q2 : the answer choice has phrase " though not accurate" { D) This perspective, though not completely accurate, was nearer the understanding that sign language is a valid system of language.}

please can anyone explain as to how did we infer that it wasnt accurate ! DmitryFarber Bunuel
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New post 12 Oct 2018, 02:03
AdityaHongunti wrote:
in Q2 : the answer choice has phrase " though not accurate" { D) This perspective, though not completely accurate, was nearer the understanding that sign language is a valid system of language.}

please can anyone explain as to how did we infer that it wasnt accurate !


The first sentence says: "Before the early eighteenth century, forms of communication among the deaf were often not regarded as authentic language." It then lists two interpretations in the bolded sentence, including the one referred to in Q2. And then it says: "Once it was recognized, however, that forms of signing constituted valid, though non-oral, systems of language, sign systems were standardized and disseminated in educational programs for the deaf." From this we can infer that both interpretations in the bolded sentence were at least partially inaccurate, and a much better interpretation appeared after that.
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New post 15 Aug 2019, 18:47
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All correct in 6 mins 45 seconds, including 3 mins 30 seconds to read
Para 1- Before the early 18th century, forms of communication among deaf were often not regarded as authentic language; standardization of sign language and dissemination in education
Para 2- American Sign Language- origins to today

1. The author likely relates the history of American Sign Language in order to
D) Provide a historical example of a sign language that was first standardized then disseminated.- Correct
sign systems were standardized and disseminated in educational programs for the deaf.

2. In the bolded lines the author most likely says that the second traditional understanding of sign language as a physical method of expressing the words and syntax of spoken language was a more generous view because
D) This perspective, though not completely accurate, was nearer the understanding that sign language is a valid system of language.
This view is an advancement from the earlier view 'the deaf were making simple gestures to communicate basic needs and ideas' and primitive from the view that ASL becomes a language of its own

3. Based on information in the passage, the author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following?

B) French Sign Language and Home Sign were equally important contributions to the development of American Sign Language.
Within only a few years, the mixture of French Sign Language with Home Sign had reached equilibrium and was taught in other institutions for the deaf as American Sign Language.

4. It can be inferred from the passage that American Sign Language borrowed liberally from French Sign Language for which of the following reasons?
C) French Sign Language was a standardized system of signs already familiar to one of the founders of the school.
Clerc had been an instructor at the premiere educational institution for the deaf in France, where a standardized system of signs had been in use in for nearly a century. The language Clerc developed for the school was based heavily on the French Sign Language with which he, being deaf, routinely communicated.
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Re: Before the early eighteenth century, forms of communication among the   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2019, 18:47
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