In the early part of this century, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) created a set of films of the most fluent ‘sign masters’ of the time. Their goal was to preserve and demonstrate the sign language of the epoch. Twenty-two films were made between 1910 and 1920, fifteen of which have survived. They featured speeches, poetry and stories performed by twelve master signers. The master signers were of different ages, providing a sample of three generations of ASL users at the time. Because of the filming materials used at that time, some footage was lost to normal processes of damage and what remains is a restored version of the remaining footage.
The NAD Film database allows you access to the films, the GLOSS transcriptions and English translations of what is on the films. The films can be accessed in two ways:
1) You can look up individual concepts by typing in a GLOSS of the sign in which you are interested in the upper left side of the page below SLRC GLOSS and then clicking on SEARCH. The search engine will produce a results page with all of the sentences that GLOSS appears in along with information about the location of that sentence in the database. Clicking anywhere on the sentence will open the video clip of that sentence in a separate window along with additional notational information.
2) You can also look up the following information about individual films:
– Click on the title of the text to view the entire text of a selected signer.
– Click on the master signer’s name to view biographical information.
– Click on the Outline button to view an outline of a particular film.
– Click on the Transcription button to see a sentence-by-sentence GLOSSED transcription of a particular film. Clicking anywhere on a selected sentence will open the video clip of that sentence in a separate window (just as in 1), and allow you access to an English translation of that sentence along with supplemental notes.