In-Depth Blog Post #5

The latest meeting that happened was on Sunday, February 21st. Unfortunately, due to getting a COVID test, I wasn’t able to attend the meeting and we couldn’t reschedule because not many other people were available on other days. Thankfully, Sinu was able to send me the meeting recording and I could watch that to retrieve the information needed.  

So far, the biggest challenge has been remembering the vocabulary. Similar to any other language that someone would study, vocab is definitely difficult, but sometimes it feels even harder because words that are around the same subject have very similar gestures. It can sometimes be difficult to decern the differences. For example, week, day, and year, all seem to blend together because they are all on the topic of time which is making it more difficult to remember in my opinion  

Something else that’s a personal goal for me to improve on is my precision with the movements. After watching some helpful videos, and then looking at the video I recorded for my last blog post, I realized that my signing is a little sloppy. Because of how similar some words are and how tiny differences can mean wildly different things, I’m most likely going to start practicing in front of a mirror to see how my movements can develop and become clearer. Also asking for tips from my mentor that I can use to help develop my signing will be helpful and I will do this over text and most likely at our next meeting if the help I got wasn’t clarified. 

A really good reference that Tori linked for the group on vocabulary for Time & Calendar: 

Signs learned and reviewed for last meeting: 

Time & Calendar 

  • Day, week, month, year, minute, hour, second 
  • Yesterday, tomorrow, last week, next week, weekend, everyday 
  • Time, will, future, later, now, sometimes, late, finished 
  • Morning, midnight, afternoon, noon, evening/night 
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 

NOTE: I am not an ASL instructor, this video is simply to show my progress as a beginner ASL learner. I keep looking off to the side to see which sign I am going to do next. All the signs are in order as listed above on the topic of Time & Calendar. 

 

Activities 

  • Do-Do (What are you doing?) 
  • Work 
  • School, class, study, learn 
  • Chat 
  • Eat 
  • Home 
  • Relax, enjoy, party 
  • Read 
  • Swimming 
  • With 
  • Restaurant 

 NOTE: I am not an ASL instructor, this video is simply to show my progress as a beginner ASL learner. I keep looking off to the side to see which sign I am going to do next. All the signs are in order as listed above on the topic of Activities 

 

During the meeting, a few helpful things happened: 

Discussion and questions about Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture 

Not many questions were asked, but because it’s an important part of ASL as a language, it was decided that more research and references would be looked at to learn more. Tori did mention that ASL “is a broad topic” and that “there’s lots to cover”. This has made finding a key point to focus in on difficult. Nonetheless, some of my classmates were interested in the history part which I also find interesting and will most likely do more research in upcoming days to find more info. I have mostly been focused on the signs and learning vocab, that the culture part has become a little less of an interest to me but my next blog post will have more information on the history and background.  

Had a voice off period to practice 

After going over and reviewing the signs for the day, Tori and my classmates had a voice off session where Tori would finger spell a sign, and then my classmates would do the sign that was finger spelled. Watching this, it was good to follow along and practice my memorization of the signs. I definitely realized I needed to review my alphabet, because I couldn’t remember some of the letters Tori finger spelled. After this Tori provided us with questions to review for our next meeting that we would answer in sign language with what we had just reviewed: 

What did you do yesterday (tomorrow, last week, next week, last month)? – YESTERDAY DO-DO ? 

What activities do you like? – ACTIVITIES YOU LIKE WHAT? 

What day of the week is it? – TODAY, DAY WHAT? 

How often do you ____? – YOU ____ HOW OFTEN? 

Do you enjoy ______? – YOU ENJOY ____? 

The words in capital letters show the grammar of the signed question. 

Reviewed helpful tips 

Throughout the meeting, Tori gave a few helpful tips. The first one she gave was how to get the attention of a person who is Hard of Hearing or Deaf. To do this, Tori mentioned that “generally [you can] tap them lightly on the shoulder” or sometimes stomping “because they can feel the vibrations”. These are the two most common ways to get their attention, and Deaf or Hard of Hearing people will mostly expect to be tapped on the shoulder as sort of the norm when it comes to getting their attention. Things you shouldn’t do are neglect “[maintaining] personal space” or “over exaggerating”.  

The second helpful tip was shoulder shifting. This is used when “you have two or more things, or a comma in between, or a list”, then the shoulders are used to show a separation of these topics. This is also helpful when finger spelling out words, but finger spelling “is mostly used when you’re a beginner” and not really used amongst experienced ASL users. Shoulder shifting is when your shoulders face one way, and you sign in that direction, and then when changing topics, shoulders face the other way and sign in that direction. These small changes in angles implicate a small but significant difference for Deaf or Hard of Hearing people to understand you.