This week during my ASLConnect lessons I learnt how to introduce myself to someone in sign language (watch my video below):
I am super happy I got to do this as it is very basic and is the first thing I will be saying to someone when I do interact with a person who knows ASL. I also learnt how to ask the person to repeat what they just said. This will probably be one of my most used signs, haha! It is such a simple sign but will become so useful when talking to someone who is fluent in ASL.
I watched Sign Language 101 Lesson 5 this week. The instructor gave a tip that if you need to practice your fingerspelling (which I do) you can fingerspell things that you see in your house. I tried it and it’s very useful. It’s a hard thing to do just along the way while I’m roaming the house because I forget about it, but when I remember it’s a fun little practice.
The instructor also told us something interesting during the lesson. A common question he gets is “do deaf people like when hearing people try to learn sign?”. This is a question I have thought of before too, and he said no, they are just appreciative. If a deaf person is in a room with a bunch of hearing people, they feel isolated if they have no one to speak to, so having even one person who they can communicate with helps them to feel more included.
There are many things that alert you in this world through noise, and so the instructor spoke about how deaf people navigate through daily challenges in the hearing world. He spoke about the many different technologies and resources that are available to deaf people. Many of the things involves flashing lights. Things like a doorbell, fire alarm, baby monitor, ringtone, etc. can easily be replaced with lights for deaf people. And of course, there is always the option of getting an interpreter. I have noticed these past few years, ASL interpreters at big events. There was one at the Globe Theatre productions I went to (pre-covid) and on news, particularly when I see news updates on Covid in Saskatchewan, there is a lady signing.
I focused on deaf culture for the last part of my post as the instructor from Sign Language 101 always adds on at the end of his lesson some deaf culture. I think when learning a language, it is important to know the culture as well, since they are so intertwined. It helps anyone learning a new language, when communicating with a person who speaks it, to be respectful, and to simply understand better.