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Drawyer
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29 Sep 2015, 3:13 am

I taught myself sign language in 2001 for the first time to talk to hearing impaired people and now I got used to using sign language in my mother tongue..not perfectly but enough to talk in medium level quite fluently I guess. If I have time I want to learn international sign language as well.


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EzraS
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29 Sep 2015, 4:40 am

I am mostly nonverbal and use sign language to a degree. Often I just make universal gestures. Even when it comes to signing, I am still withdrawn and do not talk or socialize much.



C2V
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29 Sep 2015, 7:58 am

I would LOVE to learn Auslan. I have a speech disorder which makes talking a conscious effort for me, and would appreciate a more graceful way of communicating. I know hardly anyone signs, but still. I'm better with my hands in general than my larynx. I always feel anxious when speaking because I don't have proper control over my voice, and can't trust it. I've looked into this in the past though and everywhere I've looked, its incredibly expensive. How may I ask are you learning it? I couldn't afford the formal courses I have looked up, but would still love to learn it.

lostonearth35 wrote:
I don't know many words in sign language, but maybe I should learn because my dad is really hard of hearing now and hardly ever uses his hearing aid. I'm so tired of the TV being on full blast or my mother having to yell his name several times before he listens whenever I come to visit. :(

And of course, he'd have to learn it too so he'd understand what I'm signing. Don't think it's going to happen.


I feel your pain here. I have an elderly relative I see regularly who does the exact same thing - deaf as a post, refuses to wear her hearing aids, has the TV up so loud I'm afraid I'm going deaf every time I see her. But yes, I doubt she'll ever bother to learn to sign (or use her damn hearing aid) either.


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Kuraudo777
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29 Sep 2015, 8:19 am

My dad taught me sign language when I was a baby because I didn't talk much until I was three nearing on four. I still remember a couple signs.


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lostonearth35
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29 Sep 2015, 1:58 pm

I do find ASL (American Sign language, even though it's also used in Canada as far as I know) to be pretty fascinating. When you do signs for animals you have to kind of act like the animal, such as tugging on some imaginary whiskers for "cat", and when you do signs for food, like pretending to flip a patty between your hands for "hamburger", it can end up making you hungry!

I once read that when you are asking someone a question in Sign Language, you should try to look inquisitive.

Umm, okay sure, just explain to me what an inquisitive person is supposed to look like. :chin:



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29 Sep 2015, 2:59 pm

Facial expressions were a stumbling block for me when I took S.E.E. classes. I still sign with a very "flat affect".


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Knofskia
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29 Sep 2015, 4:52 pm

I learned American Sign Language with my deaf twin sister. We took classes for four years. We were never immersed in the deaf community, so we never became very fluent. Then, my sister moved away, I was not able to practice, and my grammar became very rusty. I do think that sign language can be helpful for many people in addition to the deaf.


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yellowtamarin
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29 Sep 2015, 7:19 pm

C2V wrote:
I would LOVE to learn Auslan. I have a speech disorder which makes talking a conscious effort for me, and would appreciate a more graceful way of communicating. I know hardly anyone signs, but still. I'm better with my hands in general than my larynx. I always feel anxious when speaking because I don't have proper control over my voice, and can't trust it. I've looked into this in the past though and everywhere I've looked, its incredibly expensive. How may I ask are you learning it? I couldn't afford the formal courses I have looked up, but would still love to learn it.

Hi C2V, I'm learning through the only institute in Victoria that does accredited courses. It is extremely heavily government subsidised and only a few hundred dollars per Certificate, or less than $200 with concession. In NSW, it looks like it is free from next year:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/free-classes-to-boost-disability-workers-ahead-of-ndis-shakeup-20150905-gjfsvu.html

As for elsewhere in Australia, I'm not familiar with their fees. Perhaps you live in a state/territory where it is expensive. The alternative in Victoria (so maybe there is an equivalent where you are) is a short course which goes for something like 6-8 weeks for a couple of hours per week and costs around $200. I'm paying the same amount to do a whole semester of full-time study, so the short courses are a more expensive method in Vic, and not accredited.



AdamAutistic
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30 Sep 2015, 12:19 pm

i am a signer.


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Rockymtnchris
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30 Sep 2015, 5:09 pm

Hi Adam,
I would be careful about using the "Ameslan" moniker around the deaf community, most loathe the term as it was concocted by hearing education "professionals" (some of which can't sign at all) and consider the nickname belittling...I would call it either American Sign Language or A.S.L. only.
Just my tuppence.


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Drawyer
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30 Sep 2015, 5:37 pm

lostonearth35 wrote:
I once read that when you are asking someone a question in Sign Language, you should try to look inquisitive.

Rockymtnchris wrote:
Facial expressions were a stumbling block for me when I took S.E.E. classes. I still sign with a very "flat affect".
Yeah, I found I need to exaggerate my facial expressions, they are very important to convey meaning. I found my eyes get a lot bigger whenever using sign language.. :mrgreen:


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yellowtamarin
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30 Sep 2015, 7:26 pm

Drawyer wrote:
lostonearth35 wrote:
I once read that when you are asking someone a question in Sign Language, you should try to look inquisitive.

Rockymtnchris wrote:
Facial expressions were a stumbling block for me when I took S.E.E. classes. I still sign with a very "flat affect".
Yeah, I found I need to exaggerate my facial expressions, they are very important to convey meaning. I found my eyes get a lot bigger whenever using sign language.. :mrgreen:

Luckily for me, I find this comes naturally. I'm not particularly expressive when I verbalise, but the expressive faces feel like part of the whole signing experience for me, it would feel weird not to use them. And yes, it makes a person more difficult to understand if they don't use them, for example in Auslan the sign for "like" and "don't like" are the same hand movement, but with a different facial expression. Or for "you have a dog" and "you have a dog?", the only difference is whether you look inquisitive or not. I assume ASL is similar.



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30 Sep 2015, 7:37 pm

I learnt Auslan a few years ago and have recently started learning a little bit again, there's a lady who is deaf at the supermarket I go to on sundays and I can talk to her in sign she helps me if I get stuck on a sign, Its good for her to have someone who can communicate with her at the checkout.



CanTartlySpy
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30 Sep 2015, 10:05 pm

ASL is my first language. I was born with a cleft palate, so I couldn't physically speak until I was about three. My aunt, who works with developmentally disabled adults, taught me to sign since she saw my growing frustration at being unable to communicate. I was months old when she started.

This same aunt raised me Italian. Some culture stereotypes are true: Italians talk with their hands! Even without ASL, I no doubt would rely heavily on nonverbal communication. Between the two, my ability to articulate in speech breaks down rapidly if I can't use my hands. My friends are used to, "Wait until my hands are free!" when they try to get responses while I'm wrist-deep in dough or otherwise manually occupied. A friend once joking tied my hands to a chair, which resulted in rapid breakdown of my ability to form basic words because I was squirming head to toe at intense kinesthetic frustration from what felt like having my basic conept of grammar removed!

My thinking is intensely kinesthetic and geometric. Concepts literally take shape as intricate fractals in constant motion. This may be as much from synaesthesia as from early exposure to ASL. I probably took so readily to ASL due to being a synaesthete.

Signing feels like dancing, which is another thing I do; sometimes when I'm at a complete loss for words - verbal and otherwise - I just...dance. This appears to get my point across to friends as well as words would.

So far as non-deaf signers being accepted by the deaf community? Fluency and intent matter. Entering the deaf community is like entering an ethnic community with its own language and culture. I'm not calling deafness an ethnicity, I'm simply drawing a comparison in terms of acknowledging a developed culture and language as a community. I'm fluent in German, for example, and have had no trouble with native Germans accepting me (and graciously tolerating my many mistakes both linguistically and culturally). I also worked for a while as a communication assistant for the deaf, a telephone service allowing deaf and hearing callers to communicate through hearing operators that type and speak as human phone wires (although after doing that for a while, I've come to think of that role as more translator than phone wire). Many of the hearing callers were signers themselves with close deaf friends and relatives who accepted them just fine.

As a former CA, I can say also that concepts such as S.E.E make me wince. Many deaf callers wrote in ASL syntax and it's clearly a language with rules and quirks that vary by region just as any spoken language. ASL and English are different linguistic realities. Hearing speakers of English attempting to impose their rules on deaf signers using ASL grates on me as much as when English speakers insist the entire world should abandon its many linguistic heritages in favor of English...

I'm also hearing impaired myself. Hearing aids mostly resolve the issue, but I still have trouble when people speak quickly or I'm dealing with an unfamiliar accent. So ASL helps me there too.

When I'm neurologically overstimulated, or going through a nonverbal phase, I revert naturally to ASL.



marcb0t
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30 Sep 2015, 11:49 pm

I used to have a deaf roomate, and I started learning sign language from him and from reading. It was actually pretty fun, and I also noticed that using intensified facial expressions kind of comes naturally.

I really miss that guy. :cry:


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