Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity


ASL & Interpreting

First Advisor

Erica Alley

Second Advisor

Cynthia B. Roy


ASL and Interpreting


This paper describes an initial discourse analysis of a homily (sermon) given in American Sign Language (ASL) at a Catholic mass in the presence of a Deaf congregation. The data for the analysis was obtained using a digital video recording made as the homily was being presented. Using ELAN, a program developed for linguistic analysis, the homily was transcribed. Discourse features that make this homily coherent, interesting, and engaging were noted. While many features were observed, three were chosen for analysis: pausing, listing, and the prolific presence of mouthing English words throughout the ASL discourse. The structure of the Catholic mass is briefly described, providing context for the homily. Analyzing homilies given by Deaf priests will contribute to our understanding of the structure and function of religious texts and assist interpreters, interpreter educators, and other ASL users who make formal presentations in American Sign Language.


Nancy DeKorte Sullivan's thesis presentation video is available on the Knovio platform.