I know I wrote in my last post about how tricky time management has been. That has absolutely not changed. I am five weeks into school, I just signed a lease on a new apartment and am in the process of moving, and I’m still working full-time. Doing just those things has me scrambling. (*whine, whine, whine*) However, as one of my coworkers said the other day, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.
So, this week, I wanted to talk about one of my nearest and dearest held goals. Since I was very young, I’ve been fascinated by American Sign Language. When I was in Girl Scouts in elementary school, I earned a badge for learning the alphabet. (I wasn’t super outdoorsy, so I avoided the ‘build a fire’ or ‘defeat a bear’ badges.) I’ve been hooked on trying to learn ASL ever since. After picking it up and putting it down a dozen times over my life, I’ve been re-motivated recently, because a new friend at grad school is hearing-impaired and she said she would practice with me.
Deaf culture is fascinating. I knew so little about Deaf culture before reading up on it, and was blown away reading about the literary, musical, and artistic background, the fights for deaf Americans’ right to education, the nuanced grammatical structure of ASL, and technological strides.
If you’re interested in learning ASL, here are some great resources:
1. Find out more about what it is to be deaf. De’Angelo Brown’s story is a great place to start.
2. Learn the alphabet. Fingerspelling is a key component when you don’t know the sign for a word you’re trying to say:
3. YouTube! If you’re new to ASL, a great jumping off point is to check out YouTube videos teaching basic sign language.
I’ve tried a ton of videos, but the best teacher for me is Bill Vicars. He is a deaf ASL professor in Sacramento and posts videos teaching his classes. He also has a great resource website called lifeprint.com. It took me halfway through the first lesson until I felt like I was picking it up, so stick with it! (It helps that he’s funny and engaging, as well.)
If you have other suggestions of ways to learn, let me know in the comments!