In-Depth Night Final Post – ASL

Disclaimer: I am not a hard of hearing or deaf, I am a hearing person. This summary is not meant to be teaching anyone ASL but instead to demonstrate what I have learned over the course of my In-Depth and show my experience with teaching myself ASL alongside with the assistance of my mentor. You can take note of what I demonstrate and pick up phrases by yourself, but my intention is not to teach anyone ASL. 

Project Summary 

Hello! My name is Anya, I am a Grade 10 learner, and for my In-Depth project I decided to do ASL. I chose ASL because I love communicating with people, and I thought that it would be a useful language to learn for future reference. I completed my project with three other people with the help of my mentor, and we mainly focused on day-to-day vocabulary and conversational sentences. The process of learning ASL was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Some of the challenges that I faced with the process was distinguishing certain vocabulary words from each other, because certain words are alike such as saying “often” and “sometimes”, as they are very similar words in both English and ASL. This became difficult to remember occasionally but it wasn’t a big hurdle to get over. Another aspect of learning ASL that became difficult at times was remembering to be expressive when using different signs. I will explain the importance of this later in my blog post but because I wasn’t used to being expressive when I spoke English, it was hard to remember to use my full body when speaking ASL, despite how important that factor is. Something that I liked and appreciated about this learning process was the chance that I had to learn and perceive the language and the culture behind ASL much more differently than I had previously. ASL is much deeper than a language and throughout these past months, I was able to realize that more and more with the information that I consumed. 

My Experience 

At the beginning of the project, our group decided to begin with the basic conversational vocabulary, such as “Hello,” “How are you,” “What is your name?” “My name is…” and other phrases along those lines. As the weeks went on, we expanded this vocabulary to colors, school subjects, time vocabulary, activities, expressions, family, food, clothing items, school supplies, and “filler words”. From this I learned that body expression is incredibly important. You could say something in ASL without the body expression and a deaf or hard of hearing person may have no idea what you’re trying to tell them. Important factors of this I learned was lowering the eyebrows when asking a question. This is common for who, what, where, and when questions, but also questions in general. When using vocabulary such as “big” or “small, the size of the gesture will match that. When showing the position of a person or item, the word will change position in front of your person, based off of what is being described. I definitely observed this during my second to last meeting with my group members and mentor when we got to meet with a deaf man named Levi and talk to him using what we had learned. His story telling was much more expressive than any English-speaking storyteller would have been like.  

Progress videos

You do not have to watch the entirety of my progress videos, they are simply to show the growth between my confidence the first time signing and the last time signing. Continue to the end to see the final product of my learning!

Video 1 – First progress video

Translation:

-“Hello.”
– The first 20 numbers
– “See you/See you later.”
– “How are you?”
– “I am good/fine/bad/so-so.”
– “What is your name?”
– “My name is ___.”
– “How old are you?”
– “I am ___.”
– “Again please.”
– “Sign again but slower.”
– “I’m sorry.”
– “Please”
– “Thank you”

Video 2 – Last Video

Translation:

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

Final Thoughts 

Learning ASL was incredibly fun and definitely something I will continue in the future through classes and self-teaching. I learned a lot about a culture and a group of people I originally knew nothing about, but I gained a lot of knowledge and gained a new sense of respect for people who use ASL daily to communicate.  Keep reading to see my final presentation of what I’ve learned.

ASL “Self Introduction”  

Translation:

Hello, my name is Anya. I am 15 years old, and I am a student in high school. I work Wednesday to Sunday. I have a brother and my brother is 18. My favorite color is blue, and my favorite subject is English. I enjoy reading and eating chocolate. Thank you for watching.  

19 thoughts on “In-Depth Night Final Post – ASL

  1. Great set of videos to share your progress. What did you find most difficult learning to sign? Why?

    1. Thank you! The most difficult sign that I found for myself was most likely finger spelling. Finger spelling is using the ASL alphabet to spell out words that do not have signs. This can be difficult to change between signs in quick succession and also make the different letters distinct from each other. It was the most challenging for me to finger spell words without fumbling or forgetting letters.

  2. Learning a new language is never easy and the hardest part can be to have the self-confidence to communicate with those who are fluent in the language. Have you been able to use your new skill and how did it go?

    1. I did use my new a skill a little bit when I was at work! I have one of our regular customers who happens to be deaf come to order, and I was able to ask how she was and a couple small filler words. I wish I had been able to speak on my feet better because I would’ve interacted with her more, but that was the first instance I was able to use my new-found knowledge.

  3. Excellent job Anya! Another language is always fun to have. Now that you know a bit about it, you might have to teach me too. Keep it up!

    1. I’d love to show you what I’ve learned!!! Thank you 😀 I can’t wait to learn more as well.

  4. WOW Anya those videos are AMAZING!! So so cool! I loved looking through your blog post! 🙂

  5. Ahhh… I wish I had a video record of my progress like you did! It was a delight watching your progress. Do you think you will continue learning ASL in the future?

    1. Yes recording progress is definitely helpful! I definitely will continue in the future, likely with classes taught by an ASL teacher maybe online or just teaching myself more. ASL is something I enjoy learning overall!

  6. Anya ! Oh the difference you can make in a person’s life that rely on signing. I can see you worked hard and made super progress. Well done.
    Have you heard of Makaton sign language? It is getting more acceptance in North America and is super useful with non-verbal /hearing impaired people of all abilities.

    1. Thank you! And no, I haven’t heard of that before, but I’ll definitely take a look at it! Thank you for telling me about it.

  7. Anya, I loved seeing your progress and your final presentation video was super impressive! I can’t imagine all the time and effort that went into learning sign language in such a short amount of time!

    1. Thank you, Grace! It was certainly a challenge, but I definitely learned a lot.

  8. Nice work Anya! Such a useful skill and interesting window into another persons experience. Cool!

  9. Love the progression videos, Anya! I loved learning that context clues are a big part of ASL…I had no idea that there was so much interpretation involved! Well done!

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