The End of ASL (but not really)

December 9, 2020 0 By Brandon Rumford

This is my final blog post about learning ASL over the course of this semester, and wow, it has gone by quick! As interesting as it was to learn ASL this semester, I am looking forward to this break coming up. But I am going to try to continue my learning, and maybe one day I will actually be fluent in ASL! So, to celebrate the end of this semester, and reflect on my learning of ASL, I want to look at what I did during these weeks of learning.

Week 1: The Start to Learning ASL

This week I was unsure where to start and spent my time formulating my plan for the semester. I mentioned why I wanted to learn ASL and decided where I would start looking for resources.

Week 2: Apps for ASL

I spent this week researching resources to learn ASL from. I found an online site called Lingvano that I actually did not end up using. As well I found an app called ASL American Sign Language that I did end up using for a chunk of the semester.

Week 3: Back to Kindergarten

This week was when I actually started to learn ASL (I know, took long enough). I got to work and spent the week memorizing the ASL alphabet. That week I was constantly going through the alphabet in my head and on my hand to make sure it really stuck. I also learned the numbers 1-10 but I was more so focused on the alphabet.

Week 4: Spelling on Fingers

I used the ASL American Sign Language app this week to go through the “finger spelling” section and the numbers 10-20. The finger spelling section was a way to get faster at finger spelling, using the letters I learned the previous week to spell words. I wanted to get faster at spelling with ASL, and to be completely honest, I still need to think about it when I am spelling now.

Week 5: That is a (Ka)hoot!

This week was our combined blog post and learning post. We had to use a new tool to document our learning project. I decided to use Kahoot to make a ASL alphabet quiz. This way I could test myself on the letters of the alphabet and become quicker at using them. As well as this I documented my process in making the Kahoot and using it.

Week 6: Switching it Up

This week is the week that I discovered SignLanguage101, a website that offers both free and paid ASL courses. It is run by Dr. Byron Bridges, a deaf professor well versed in teaching ASL. And this changed my entire learning experience. I was able to go through a lesson each week and watch a video to learn ASL. I was much more engaged in learning when watching the videos. As well as it made more sense, watching someone do the signs you are learning.

Week 7: New Sources For Signing

This week I dove deeper into my experience with SignLanguage101. I did the first two lessons for this post, since I had some prior knowledge already. The lessons I watched were “Gestures and Body Language” and “ABCs, Colors & Pronouns“. I enjoyed learning this way more than I did from the app I used previously. And also learned some new things from Dr. Bridges.

Week 8: Continuing to Progress

After apologizing for this post being late, I continued with the lessons provided at SignLanguage101. This week I did lesson 3 titled “Everyday Signs & Common Objects“. I was glad to be learning language that would be used in everyday conversation, which was not really the case with the app I used before. I also made a note of the symbolism used in some signs, making them easier to learn.

Week 9: ASL Common Phrases

This week I went on with my lessons from SignLanguage101, this weeks lesson was “Antonyms & Common Phrases“. The common phrases I learned were quite useful and I was happy that they were covered. I also talked about potentially using other sources for learning that other classmates had mentioned in their blogs (spoiler alert, I didn’t).

Week 10: ASL Lesson Five and Counting

For this week, I went through lesson 5 at SignLanguage101, “Around the House & Hobbies“. I learned how to sign the rooms and other objects around the house. And I appreciated that the rooms had the same sign for “room” which was making a box with your hands, with a different sign to specify the room. It made it easy to learn and I appreciated that aspect. I also mention how I have been continuing to learn new number, going through 40-50 this week.

Week 11: People and The Body

Last weeks post was learning about People and The Body from SignLanguage101 again. This weeks lesson was very useful as the people signs, were very useful to know if you were to have a conversation. Learning signs like you, yourself, myself, and themselves were good to know. As well, I also learned that signs like mom and dad, or grandmother and grandfather are the same. The difference is that the masculine sign is done above the eyes, and the feminine sign is done below the eyes.

Week 12: The End of ASL (but not really)

Here we are on the final week, this week, I wrote everything you just read. It has been an incredible experience learning this skill. And I greatly appreciated the chance to learn a new skill in class. And the fact that we were forced to so I would actually do it. I have enjoyed learning ASL these 12 weeks and I truly hope I will get to use this knowledge at some point in my life. It is an amazing skill and although I do not know much, I feel I know enough to at least make it through a simple conversation. As a matter of fact, I did make it through a simple conversation with Kara Miskolczi, take a look.