Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yesterday morning, Kenny and I had the pleasure of visiting Byron Center Charter School to discuss deafness and hearing loss with the 5th and 6th graders. It was SO much fun! We didn't have a lot of time, but I signed (Kenny spoke) about terminology, myths, how we use all the neat technology, sign language (if course) and lipreading. I then gave them a paper with dB levels and what they can do to your hearing. On the flip side was the manual alphabet.

The thing I loved the most about this group was that they all had questions and many of them were so adorable. I met a boy who knew a friend who only caould hear six words. LOL They were specific words, too. I think he meant he could only SIGN them, but he was pretty adamant about the fact that he could only hear them. Go figure!

Many of the kids knew a little sign and were excited to share. I got asked the usual:

"Can you drive?"
"Do your hands get tired?"
"Can you work?"
"How can you talk?" (I spoke for a short time to describe something Kenny wasn't comfortable interpreting for me)

When I told them I could drive, one boy asked how I was supposed to hear a horn honking at me. I told him the truth: I'm a perfect driver and would never need to worry about that. LOL

All in all, it really made my day. Good group and good fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Sitting in the front row of the auditorium, I eagerly await my childs turn in the talent show. All the other mothers are clapping their hands to the beat and cheering their little one on, the first to rise and cheer with a standing ovation when the song ends. I stretch my neck to see if I can see backstage and find my daughter looking timid and scared. Oh, how I wish I could run up there and wrap my arms around her. Everyone returns to his or her seat as my child takes center stage and begins to croon her tune. She looks so nervous and her eyes search me out. I try to sway back and forth, indicating that Im enjoying the performance, but, in reality, I cant hear a thing and dont even know If the songs tempo is fast or slow. As I watch her, I try to keep a lookout from the corner of my eye to see when people may be getting ready to clap. I want to be the first one to stand up, giving her the standing ovation I feel she deserves, no matter how the show turns out. I struggle to enjoy the entire situation. Its a lot of hard work to try to keep up and I have the sinking feeling others are talking about the poor girls Deaf mother.

Walking through the mall with my four-year-old in tow, we pass a man handing out balloons. He mumbles something to me that I do not understand and then bends down to chat with my son. My son has not yet comprehended the concept that, even though hes not speaking directly to me, he should still sign if Im standing with him. So he and this complete stranger have a conversation, which involves giggles on my sons part, playfulness on this mans part and overall delight. In the meantime, I stand there feeling like an idiot because I havent a clue what this guy is telling my kid and I secretly feel like a third wheel. The man stands up, mutters something about the conversation to me. I smile and mouth the words Thank you, while signing. His eyes bulge out of his head, obviously just now realizing my deafness. As he hurries away, I can almost see him give my son a look of pity for having a Deaf mother.

Sitting on my bed with my TTY pulled to me, I am typing to an important client. My children rush in, jump onto the bed and start poking me in the shoulder so hard that I grow welts. I tell them to shush and to go away and then I try to ignore them. That, of course, does no good. A few more welts and some pretty nasty bruises, I finally turn to them and assertively tell them that Mama is on the phone and to get out of my room until Im finished. They leave, but as I turn back to this highly important conversation, I realize I have missed something and do not know what has been said. I sheepishly explain that I missed part of the conversation and the client repeats it with annoyance. I hang up the phone thinking I have one less client who has confidence in my ability.

These are just three examples of the difficulties involved in motherhood as a Deaf woman. Things many people take for granted are sometimes simply not applicable to a family affected by deafness.  Some people may take it to mean that a mother who cannot hear does not have the capabilities of loving and caring for her children as well as a hearing person. Some may even believe that were not intelligent enough to pull it off. But the fact of the matter is, mothering is difficult whether youve got all five senses or absolutely none. But lets take another look at being a Deaf mother of a hearing child and see if its really as disadvantaged as some may think

In the Kindergarten class, everyone is allowed to invite their parent to do something special on their birthday. Some moms bring in a cake and sing, Happy Birthday, others pass out party favors and decorate the room. All of these are wonderful ideas! But I bring in cake and ice cream, I decorate the room with balloons, I hand out toys to take home and play with, and just before we bring out the presents, I teach the entire class how to sing, Happy Birthday, in sign language! Everyone is thrilled to have learned how to speak with their hands and my childs birthday is the hit of the year! Now, that takes the cake!

Sitting at my daughters high school graduation, she is to be the student speaker for her class. My daughter has always had quite a shy streak and I can see that she is visibly anxious as she leafs through the pages of her speech. She raises her head and gives me a forced smile as she stands to address the audience. A few minutes into her speech she is frantically searching for the right words, but they arent coming to her. But see, Id seen her speech a hundred times and I knew it like the back of my hand. She desperately glances over at me and I begin to sign her speech to her, subtly, with my hands low and out of view of the other audience members. She reads my signs and slowly the speech comes back to her. She is able to finish and even ends with the reception of a standing ovation! Now tell me, how many hearing parents can do that?

It has nothing to do with a lack of love or ability or worth. Whether you are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or hearing, being a mother takes special kinds of skills. You have to be able to love with all of your heart. You have to be able to give of yourself without keeping score. You have to be able to watch your little angel grow from a helpless, dependent infant, into a strong and capable adult. Being a mother is hard work. Being a Deaf mother is even harder. But the one who loves the most and who loves the most freely is the mother who will endure all. And thats what makes all the difference.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


If you're like me, you think the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus" is awesome. And shame on you if you've never watched it. It's an excellent movie and an excellent example of how learning sign language doesn't necessarily hinder your verbal ability.

When they first find out their son is deaf, they go the medical route. You know, ENTs who say that they need to only speak and not sign. Well, that doesn't work because the boy can't hear anything and the parents can't communicate with him. Frustration abounds.

So they decide to check out a school for the Deaf that uses total communication. This (TC) is my preference. More about that later. Anyway, the mom and the son learn sign language and are able to communicate without any problems. The dad, on the other hand, doesn't take as much initiative (I think he's in denial and hoping the deafness will just go away). But the son uses sign language as a teenager. He doesn't speak, but that doesn't mean he can't speak.

At the end of the movie, you see the son grown up and speaking and signing at the same time. A great triumph for the Deaf community--we can rub their noses in it and say/sign, "See, I told you so!"

Let me be clear hear. I am not against the oral method. If the child is hard of hearing or moderately deaf and  hearing aids help, I say go for it. I would still add sign though. However, if the child is profoundly or severely deaf and benefits very little (if at all) from hearing aids, why not take the total communication route? To be honest, if I had my perfect situation, I would have the child in a school that taught ASL. But that's just me. I see TC as a very valuable way of helping the children understand things and still feel part of the group.

So let's see what you have to say. I'm sure there are plenty who disagree. Let's "hear" it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


We all know that there is a common misperception among hearing people that, the more you enunciate, the easier it is to lipread. Now, i'm one of the many who can't lipread no matter what. Even if I'm trying to lipread myself in the mirror--and I KNOW what I'm saying--I still couldn't do it. :v)

This morning I went into the gas station to get myself a soda and I wasn't sure of the cost because the signs were contradictory. So, because I didn't have $2 to just give them and wait for change, I had to ask. I wrote neatly on a piece of paper, how much do I owe you. 

Answer: mumble mumble

I wrote "I'm deaf and I don't lipread, please write or show me the screen."

And that's when it happened. Something I will have nightmares about for years and years to come. She opened her overly moist mouth and very largely and deliberately started moving her lips. I had no idea a human mouth could open so wide. If she were to kiss me, I would have lost my face. I counted three cavities. I'm talking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy here, guys. It was downright scary.

So, for those of you who are reading this and are hearing, do NOT overenunciate. We don't want to see your dental work. I'm sure it's very nice though.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Controversial Cochlear Implant

I'm not here to debate right and wrong. I just go finished watching an old (2008) copy of "Sweet Nothings In My Ear." If you've seen it, you'll recall it's about a family with a deaf son. The father (hearing) finds out about the CI and brings it up to his month (deaf). Not surprisingly, they have differing views on the matter.

This movie is an excellent one and must-see for anyone interested in or working with the deaf and hard of hearing. Marlee Matlin is awesome, as usual, and Jeff Daniels (in my opinion) does a really good job at signing for someone who learned as an adult. 

What do I think about cochlear implants. Well, let me tell you....

I was born with only one ear. I grew up being able to hear fairly well out of the other ear until I lost all hearing whatsoever. The doctors tried to force a CI on me. Not knowing better and not being educated, I went with the flow. I got my CI in April of 2000 and it was a complete failure. I couldn't hear a thing. They had failed to test my auditory nerves. So now I'm stone deaf and I've had my CI removed (happily).

I am not one to criticize adults who want to get an implant and see what happens. I do, however, have a slight problem with adults who force small children (even babies) to have the procedure done. I think that each person should be able to decide for themselves...including kids. Which means they should be old enough to know what they're getting themselves into.

Cochlear implants are not some miracle cure. You'll always be deaf. But if you're hearing loss is substantial and you can't seem to fit in in other ways (seriously studying sign language or lipreading), then it's up to you. Just don't drag kids into it. Let them decide and make sure it's THEM deciding and not coaching from you. That's just this deafie's opinion.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


On August 22, 2009, Deaf Expressions had it's very first Religious Sign Language workshop. We were very happy with how many people showed up (20) and hope to repeat the workshop in the future.

The workshop started off with Michele talking about Deaf Culture and building a Deaf Ministry in your church. Lots of information about the do's and dont's of signing in church. 

After that, we moved onto four pages of vocabulary. We learned signs from ASCENT to WORSHIP and tried to make sure all students, from seasoned professionals to beginning students, stayed informed and entertained. 

Once we were done with that, we learned to sign hymns in SIgn Language. From "Jesus Loves Me" to "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High" to "Holy, Holy, Holy," we learned about six hymns and it was a lot of fun. The interpreter students who wanted to, broke off into a group and practiced signing them together to perform for the group. It was a lot of fun.

So thanks to all who attended! I hope you had as much fun as Kenny and I had teaching it. Although I think Kenny could have gone without singing for the group. (smile).


Hey! What about me? Every morning at 9 AM, I sit down to watch Regis Phillbin and Kelly Ripa on "Live with Regis and Kelly." And every day they spin the wheel and call someone they've chosen out of a box of pictures. All that person has to do is answer a question regarding something that happened on the previous show and they are whisked away to a wonderful week-long retreat in exotic places. Nice, huh?
Well, not for us deafies. How would they call us. You know they'd never go through the VRS or TTY services. That means we're left out in the dirt. No vacation for you. What a bummer! If only I was hearing, I would be sipping Pina Colodas and enjoying the sun in Hawaii or Bermuda at just this very moment.

OK. OK. I realize that there's a SMALL possibility that I wouldn't know the answer, but it's so minute and it really doesn't matter, now, does it. I'm deaf. That means I'm excluded. I'm excluded from many things and, man, it ticks me off. I want to prance around their broadcasting station with a shirt on that reads, "I count, too!"

Alas, it will probably never happen. But just think of all the things you miss out on in the vast majority of life just because you can't hear something. Doesn't make us dumber or slower or more insignificant. No way! We're smarter than the average bear, as the cartoon character would say. So I slam my hand down on the table and flick the lights 70 times. Damn you! Include the deaf and hard of hearing. WE COUNT.

OK. I feel better. Getting off my soapbox.............

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Misadventures of Sign Language


Although there are many things you can leave to chance as a late-deafened adult, one decision is inevitable: Sooner or later you have to choose which communication technique you’re going to use.

Some people think lipreading is the way to go. I, personally tried that route once as a kid and ended up being smacked. It’s amazing how much, “The layers are really fine,” looks like, “That lady is really fat!” After months of classes and studying, I feel it’s safe to say that I cannot lipread. Even now, years later, we have a game where my husband, Kenny, or one of the kids will say something without signing and I have to guess what they’re saying. It provides plenty of comic relief!

Amidst all the communication choices, only one seemed to match my skill level and aptitude, and that was sign language.

I was comfortable with signing. It came naturally to me. I started off with Contact Sign (formerly Pidgin Sign English or PSE) and later switched over to American Sign Language. As an adult, of my three children, only one learned to speak before they learned sign language. Mollie was only three-years-old though, so it came easily to her. My husband? Not so much. But we’ll discuss that later.

Although becoming deaf isn’t funny, if you look close enough, three’s humor in everything. Take my grandmother’s funeral for example. My family never really took the time to learn to sign for me. Anyway, I’m sitting, waiting for the service to begin when my younger sister abruptly sits down next to me, wide-eyed, and slowly signs “I’m Satan!” Well, let me tell you that Satan is one being I do not want at a funeral. She’d actually meant to sign, “I’m paranoid,” referring to her weight, but it was too late. The fear had already set in.

After the eulogy, I was in tears, having lost someone near and dear to my heart. My mother came up to me, embraced me, and then lovingly signed, “It’s OK, Sweetie. Grandma’s with the queen.” Ah! I can see her even now, in the back of a chariot, waving to the crowd in all of her glory.

As I mentioned earlier, it took a little longer for my husband to get out of the habit of improvising or even creating new signs. If it’s just the two of us, I laugh and let it go. But sometimes, well, let’s just say it doesn’t work out.

Picture this; we’re at an important meeting, surrounded by ten other Deaf people, when Kenny decides to chime in. Great, I think. It’ll be nice to see his input into the conversation. So he starts signing and all is going well until he signs (or should I say, means to sign) “That’s perfect! I can make a deposit!” But that’s not what he signed. Oh, no. Not even close. Between his “perfect” being a “P” on his nose (penis) and his “deposit” showing what that “P” does (ejaculate), all I could do was blush and try to keep my eyes on the floor. Everyone else in the room stared at him in disbelief…with a few chuckles to boot. But everyone seemed to have a good sense of humor and it was quickly forgotten as we moved on. I, however, continue to this day to tease him about his imaginative choice of signs.

So, as you can see, sign language is useful, but you’d better beware—there’s always someone watching. Suffice it to say that Kenny’s signing has dramatically improved and he’s very good now. Me? I used sign language to open my own business and to possibly become a Certified Deaf Interpreter.

Will signing make your life easier? Perhaps. Especially if you have friends and family willing to learn, too. Will it solve all of your problems? Nothing can do that. But if you do decide to go the signing route, just be careful to mind your P’s and, uh, bodily functions.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Deaf Occupations

I was recently introduced to the No Worker Left Behind program in Michigan, where they will pay up to $5,000 a year for 2 years to help you go back to school. I thought, "This is great!" But then I started thinking of the jobs that interest me. One of them is a dog groomer. I mean, just write down what you want and I'll do it. Problem? I need school. I'm afraid the Paragon School of Pet Grooming (located near my home) will say that providing an interpreter for my schooling is an accommodation they can't afford. Then what?

There's online classes. I could get a degree online and not need an interpreter. But what kind of job? I know that we can do anything hearing people can for the most part, but how do I figure out what job that is? What are some of the jobs you've had or have that you didn't need to hear in (and assume you can't lipread, which I cannot)?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss....To Whom???

It seems like every time I tell someone about my experiences out in the hearing world, their remark is "There's no fixing ignorance." But I thought ignorance was bliss. This confuses me. Now, I'm not saying all Hearing people are ignorant. Not by FAR. But why is it so hard for so many people to understand the concept of "I'm deaf. I cannot hear you. Could you please write that down?" It seems most only hear, "I'm death. blah blah blah blah." Yes, that's me. Just give me that sickle and I'll dress up like the Grim Reaper and be "death." But seriously, why is it so hard to understand that I cannot lipread? Especially when it's introduced with, "I can't lipread. I am deaf. I need that written down." Yet most people continue to talk on, completely unaware that they lost me at Hello. Don't understand it. What would be better? What could I possibly say or write to get them to understand? I've tried writing to them so that they "see" I'm deaf. I've tried talking to them so that they hear, "I'm deaf." I've tried acting it out in a mirage of images and mime. No luck. So, tell me. What's my next step? Holing up in my house isn't exactly working for me. I'd love to know!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Nod of Bluffing

If you're Deaf, like I am, you've experienced it. Maybe you've been trying to talt with a hearing person and they can't understand your voice. Maybe you're trying to sign with a new ASL student and they can't keep up with your signing. There's a million reasons a hearing person would use the "Nod of Comprehension" to deaf people.

But deaf people aren't immune to this either. Say you're trying to have a conversation with a sign language student and you can't understand their signs, but you don't want to hurt their feelings. Or maybe they're talking to you and you've told them numerous times that you can't lipread, so you finally just give up and start acting like you understand everything. This, by the way, can get a person in a LOT of trouble!

I remember several years ago, when I, too, was guilty of bluffing, that I decided not to smile and nod. I thought, "I think I understand what he's saying." So, after watching him closely (and, by the way, I am NOT a lipreader), I replied, "Well, it would save us on braces." I thought this person was talking about my son's teeth being knocked out. I made a joke. Problem was, the joke was on me. He turned and looked at me, completely baffled. "I just said that I think Jacob is an alcoholic." He'd been joking, too, but, with my reply to his joke, it made us laugh so hard we couldn't see straight.

Case in point? Don't bluff. If you're hearing and you can't understand the deaf person, ask for a slower repeat or find pen and paper. If you're deaf and you can't understand the hearing person, do the same.

So now I ask you, tell me about a time when you bluffed and were called on it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deaf Stereotypes

I know that the light in the background makes it hard to read some things. Sorry about this. I'll be extra careful with my future vlogs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You Can't Work With Us If You Don't Join Us!

It happens often. All too often. I'll get a message that someone desperately wants to learn sign language. Perhaps they have a family member who is losing their hearing, but most want to learn to see if interpreting might be a career they would be interested in pursueing. So we set up a time and day and they come and they start to learn. I mention the social opportunities of the deaf and hard of hearing population around Grand Rapids and encourage my students to go to as many of them as possible. But what inevitably comes out as a response is almost always the same: "Oh, I'm not ready to meet deaf people."

Sometimes they're scared and other times they're just not confident enough in their signing to go, but rare is the student who writes down the information and shows up at the actual event.

What I wonder is, if they're wanting to be an interpreter, shouldn't they at least MEET a deaf person first? LOL I understand that we can be very scary (file those fangs down, now), but how can a person even study to work with another culture and another language if they don't want to meet such a person?

Now, if this only happened once in a while or at the beginning of tutoring, I would surely understand. It is intimidating. I do know this. But I'm talking about people I've worked with for six months to a year and still I'm the only Deaf person they've met. It's mind-boggling.

But, perhaps, if the deaf and hard of hearing people could put their weapons and intention to destroy aside, we're a very open group. Come meet us. Talk with us. Write with us. Whatever you need to do, but BE with us. At least that's my opinion. What's yours? Are you a hearing person who is scared to meet Deaf people? If so, why? Are you a Deaf or hard of hearing person who has experienced this? Tell us about it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Size Matters

I was really excited last Monday when I was contacted by DODHH about becoming a QA Rater for the state of Michigan. It seemed it might be a great opportunity to assure that qualified interpreters were properly certified as were unqualified attempters.

The interview was going to be by Video Phone on Wednesday morning at 11:30. I got up early and drove my kids to camp so I could come home and relax a little before the interview. I tend to become very nervous, so I needed time to take a pill and vegetate.

I was all set and ready at the appropriate time. No worries...feeling pretty confident. That is, until the phone rang and I answered it. What I wasn't ready for was that it was a panel of judges/interviewers. That in itself is not a big deal, but the fact that my VP is set up on a portable television didn't help. I couldn't see these people no matter how hard I squinted. I must have looked completely inept and incapable. All I could do was ask them to repeat, again and again, until I could see it clear enough to answer all their questions.

The problem is, if they're looking for fluency and the interviewee needs repetitious questioning, it doesn't look too good for the interviewee, now, does it? LOL

Needless to say, I wasn't picked for being a QA Rater. Probably for the best. But, man, do I need a bigger VP for next time!!!! Oy vey!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Interpreter From Hell

It was a regular appointment. Well, regular to me. I'd been seeing this doctor on a regular basis since 2001 and he'd always been very good at making sure there was an interpreter present. Or maybe I should say that his nurse had been good about that.

Anyway, I went into the appointment without knowing who would be interpreting. This happens often in the Deaf world. As I entered the room, I saw an older woman sitting in a chair and she smiled and signed, "I'm Candy." (a pseudonym) I responded and we sat and waited for the doctor to arrive.

As we sat, we started chatting and I noticed that she looked quite confused when I tried to interact with her. I asked if she was OK and she nodded yes, so I didn't really worry about it.

When the doctor finally came in with his nurse, they both proceeded to ask me questions and my interpreter stumbled. She continuously asked them to repeat or slow down. And when I say "continuously," I don't mean five times. I mean almost every sentence! What's worse is when I signed back to them, she couldn't understand me. I watched her lips and, from what I could tell, they were not flapping in the right direction, if you know what I mean. I got so bad that, finally, we had to resort to actually writing back and forth with the interpreter just sitting there! I was so upset! I couldn't believe that this woman not only was certified, but that she, a QA 1, was sent to this kind of appointment to begin with!

Oh, my gosh! It was truly hell. And as we closed the appointment, I was quick to write the nurse to make sure to tell the interpreting agency to never schedule that woman to interpret for me again! Awful! Awful, awful, awful! I'm still traumatized by this and may never heal. I am victim of bad interpreting. And anyone who knows anything about the Deaf community, knows that this could very well end in years and years of laying on my back on a couch, talking about my childhood to a man who sits in a chair, smoking a pipe. My life has now been drastically changed and I will forever live in it's doom. Melodramatic? Maybe. But doesn't it make the story that much more interesting?

My Dog

This is just a short video about my dog. I have a Beardie (short for Bearded Collie) and she's so adorable! I had wanted an Old English Sheepdog, but when I got Maggie, I was so excited!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Signs Equal Concepts Not Words

Many people who decide to learn sign language believe that each English word has a sign for it. This is completely wrong! In American Sign Language, signs are based on what you're meaning to say, not the words itself. It's very important to remember that ASL is NOT English on the hands. It's not English in ANY way. It's a foreign language. As foreign as Japanese or German. To become fluent in ASL, it takes just as much work as any other language. About five to seven years of intensive training. This videos explains a little about how signs equal concepts and not words.

My Appearance On PBS

I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Only two people were going to be on the discussion panel (excluding the interpreter): Katie Prins (director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services) and myself (director of Deaf Expressions). It wasn't so much that I was going to be on TV. It was the fact that I would be representing a community so vast and diverse that I wanted to make sure it was fairly, objectively, and rightfully displayed as a culture and not just a bunch of people who can't accomplish anything in life because they can't hear. I knew that Katie wanted the same thing, so I was very relieved to find she'd be the second one on the panel.

I arrived early. I was the first guest there. Kenny came with me to help me feel more comfortable. That was good, because I was nervous. Soon after discussing the format with the host of the show, Katie showed up and then, finally, Mark Hall, the man who would be interpreting arrived. For a few minutes there, we were a little concerned because Mark hadn't shown up and it was five minutes till show time. But the worries were unnecessary. He was there, dressed and ready, just like the rest of us.

What was suppose to happen was that they were showing a documentary called, "Through Deaf Eyes." Every 20 minutes or so, they would stop the show and have a 15 minute panel discussion about deaf-related issues. People could call in with questions or even email them and we would answer to the best of our knowledge.

I was pleasantly relieved at how easy it was. Some of the questions were a bit odd ("How does a deaf person have a dog or cat and let them know they're deaf?") Huh??? Katie took that one. I was too boggled by the fact that it didn't seem to make sense. I mean, hey, people wonder all the time if deaf people can drive or work or communicate in other ways, but can a deaf person own a pet? Hmmmm.

But suffice it to say that that was probably the only "odd" question. The other ones were good leads into a conversation to teach those in the area all about the large deaf and hard of hearing community here in Grand Rapids.

All in all, it went well. Of course, when I got home and watched the show myself, all I could think of was "Stop babbling," "Sit up straight," "Smile, Bozo", "Dude, you look fat," and other things most people think to themselves when they see themselves on television. I'm glad I did the show. I hope you were able to watch. Which leads me with two questions:

  1. If you saw the show, what did you think?
  2. Were there any questions you have about deaf and hard of hearing people that went unanswered? I'd be happy to help answer in the best way I can.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Signed English Versus American Sign Language

This video talks about how American Sign Language is not simply "English on the hands." ASL has its own sentence structure, grammar, syntax and register. Don't get them confused!

American Sign Language is NOT Universal

This video explains that American Sign Language is used in America and most of Canada, but that every country, in general, has their own unique sign language. If you know ASL and you travel to, say, Britain, you will not understand their sign language, because they use British Sign Language. As such, there is Mexican Sign Language, Australian Sign Language, French Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, etc. All are different. Thus, ASL is not universal.