Welcome to my In-Depth Night Blog Post!
For my in-depth project, I decided that I would learn ASL. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor (Tori) to guide me throughout this journey. Tori has taught me and helped me with any questions I had, so I would first like to thank her for that.
This journey has taught me so much about sign language, as well as how there’s more to being Deaf than just using sign language. I have learned that they have a culture that has overcome so many challenges in the past, and how Deaf culture is really significant to the Deaf community. One part of Deaf culture is the appropriation of hearing people using sign language. I am a hearing person, which means that it is disrespectful for me to do teach sign language or teach about Deaf culture, as I have not been properly or professionally educated on these topics. Sign language is a language and not a skill to be shown off.
I decided to learn sign language as I thought that if I were to come across someone who was Deaf, it would be nice to be able to sign with them, rather than communicating with pen and paper. From my perspective, I also thought the Deaf community/culture was very interesting and I wanted to learn more about it. I also think the difference between learning a verbal language and having to use my hands to communicate was really compelling to me.
Throughout this experience, I unfortunately did not get a chance to learn about ASL grammar and sentence structure. We focused our time mainly on vocabulary, so in my video, I included all the questions we covered, and possible answers to each question that we learned.
(This video is not a demonstration; it is a video I created to share my learning. If you want to learn more ASL vocabulary, please use an ASL dictionary, such as https://www.signasl.org/)
Some parts of ASL that I observed and found interesting are:
- Expressiveness is extremely important and helps with making others understand you better
- For most signs, your right hand does most moving while your left hand mostly stays still
- A lot of signs are similar, which means context is also very important
- Fingerspelling is not commonly used, especially for people who know a lot of ASL, but more for beginners, used to ask how to sign signs you don’t know
- Part of expressions are lowering and raising your eyebrows when asking questions
- Raising with questions with yes or no questions
- Lowering with every question other than when you need to raise them
- If you ever notice (capitalized) text beside a sentence that is supposed to be translated into ASL, it means that the order of the words written is the equivalent translation of the sentence in English (also known as ASL gloss)
- Example, what is your name? – YOUR NAME WHAT?
- If someone, when signing moves their shoulder over (hand over when fingerspelling), also known as shoulder shifting, it indicates a separation of topics, mostly used in place of and, as well as at the end of a sentence/start of a new one
- (means double letter such as oo when fingerspelling)
(I am not an instructor, this is not a demonstration, this is what I learned/noticed, what’s listed here should not be used for personal learning)
If you are interested in taking sign language, universities/colleges in Vancouver that offer sign language courses are:
- Vancouver community college (VCC)
- University of British Columbia (UBC)
- Douglas college
Thank you for coming to my In-Depth night blog post! If you have any questions, leave it in the comments and I’ll reply as soon as I can!