March 9th, 2021
What skill am I learning?
For my In-Depth project this year, I’m learning American Sign Language!
How have I progressed since the last post?
My last meeting with my mentor seemed to click a lot together for me. For one thing, I thought that I had memorized the new and old signs pretty well, but doing it in person with other people is a lot harder than I’d thought. I now know that I need to work harder on practicing my signs, and which aspects of ASL I need to work on the most!
By the way, the signs I’ve learned so far are related to greetings, numbers, time/calendar, activities, people, and emotions. We’ve also been working on learning certain questions and phrases, like what’s your name? and What did you do yesterday? By learning phrases like this, we’ve also been picking up a bit of grammar. Grammar in ASL is a lot different than English, just like it would be for any language! It’s been very cool to learn all this.
As for which aspects of ASL I think I need to work on, I noticed during this last meeting that I was forgetting some of the signs for letters. This was a pretty big problem, because reading and spelling out letters is a big part of one of the activities we do. So after the meeting, I started practicing spelling random words in sign language, and even after only 2 days of doing this I’m improving a lot! I’m planning to look for a video on YouTube of someone spelling out words in ASL to practice reading that.
A question arose while I was practicing this yesterday. I had been spelling random objects and sentences I saw around me, and one was a Lay’s chip bag. I realized I didn’t know if there were signs for punctuation! I’m going to ask my mentor next meeting about this, and I’m very glad I’ve finally stumbled across a good question for her. By the way, my mentor is very good. She’s nice and a very good teacher!
Another point: I know that it would be good to have some sort of visual to showcase what I’ve learned so far, but from what we’ve been learning about deaf culture, I’m not sure how I would do that. From what I’ve learned so far, I’m pretty sure it’s disrespectful to speak ASL just to show people you can. So unless you’re an expert and teaching it to people (and probably a bunch of other instances I’m not thinking of) you shouldn’t record yourself doing it. So I’m probably not going to do that, because I’m not sure how to do it in a respectful way.
Also, we were unable to record our last meeting because of technical difficulties, so I’m not able to look back on any specific things my mentor said or talked about.
One last activity I did after my last post was watch a short film about a deaf child. My friend sent it to me and it was very good! It was also quite sad because the parents eventually decided not to let their kid learn sign language, so she had no good way of communicating and had to learn to read lips and speak like her hearing family. Here is the short film: The Silent Child — Oscar® Winning Short Film – YouTube
Thank you for reading and have a great day!