Learning sign language

I’m taking a class in American Sign Language, and I absolutely love it. The hour and a half of complete silence, where we speak with our hands and enjoy the stories told by our deaf teacher are just the best hours of the week.

Sign comes pretty naturally to me. I think it’s because I took dancing lessons for so long. I already associate meaning with movement, so associating language to movement was a small leap to take. I now spend a lot of time practicing, fingerspelling words as I read, doing .gif flashcards on my Memrise app, and watching these lovely “TheDailySign” videos where this girl signs along to songs:

Uptown Funk: https://www.youtube.com/watch? Y

Thinking Out Loud: https://www.youtube.com/watch

I just really like it. It’s the first language where I don’t have to hate my accent while using it, and the first one that I feel good about using. Did you know more people use ASL than Italian in the world?

But anyhow, it is amazing what people can do, isn’t it? Communicate with hands…we are so adaptable. Sometimes our schedules and our problems seem like too much…but we adapt. We can do anything, that’s what being a human means. We can learn to speak with our fingers, we can build flying machines, we can use a pocket computer to have food delivered to our doorstep. We know these things exist, and don’t think of them as being remarkable, but they are. They are innovation leading to adaptation. The reason why they don’t seem remarkable anymore is because we’ve—say it with me—adapted.

This is why things we love get boring. And why we sometimes feel an urge to sabotage ourselves. Why we sometimes want to run away to greener pastures, and why if we do we eventually get tired of the greenness.

Sometimes, adapting isn’t the best thing. New is exciting. Once we’ve mastered something, we look for the next challenge.

Perhaps this is why learning ASL is exciting to me. I’m constantly in awe of how deaf people adapt, and I’m constantly learning more vocabulary so it’s never boring.

Maybe that’s the key? Find something you’re comfortable with but that keeps surprising you. A helpful tip for relationships, as well.

In the meantime, I’ll keep signing. I have a midterm soon, gotta study up!

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2 thoughts on “Learning sign language

  1. We taught my older son a few dozen signs when he was a baby. We assumed he was just born chatty and that the signs gave him another outlet. We did not do signs for Littler’s first six or seven months (maybe longer?) and only introduced them when we started wondering if the signs hadn’t contributed to our older son’s vocabulary. Within a week, J was busting out several signs, and absorbed more daily afterward. The signs seem to be filtering out now, but I am glad they gave J a means to speak. Also a little envious for how much ASL my husband remembers from his days signing with a coworker in his younger days! Maybe someday I will learn more simply for the love of it. 🙂

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