By Dennis | May 16, 2007
Attempting this mostly on my own, I don’t have time for a class right now and only one native signer to help (who I don’t want to drive crazy), is definitely a challenge. I bought six books the other night. Various methods and types of learning in each of them. Some explain grammar and sentence structure, which is very helpful, and others concentrate on signs themselves. I think the combination will go a long way to getting me started successfully.
I’m noticing that the structure of ASL is much easier than English. I know that sounds totally opposite of what should be expected, but I tend to think in simple terms, ideas, rather than full sentences. This will help me grasp the proper way to sign, since I kind of do it anyway. The part that will not come naturally is adding the body language and facial expression required to properly express things. I generally speak evenly and with little expression.
One book doesn’t even really go into the signs so far, it shows you them in drawings, but doesn’t get into detail. Instead, it concentrates on word order, grammar, and body expression first. I think that by making you go through the signs without explaining them, but rather using them to explain something else, it will make me learn them better. It shows you the signs, and then talks about why they are in the particular order, and what you should be doing with the rest of your body while making them. I like this approach. So anyway, I’ve started, now I need to find some sort of rhythm to keep me going.
If I can find a local Deaf organization which will accept me I can get much more practical exposure. I still haven’t found anything that looks promising and NYC is too far away for something daily or close to it.
In the mean time, I will continue reading the books, and bothering Ben when I see him. Maybe that way I won’t look like too much of a fool when I approach people to get involved. Either way, I feel confident this is something I can do, maybe not easily, but definiely eventually. Wish me luck.
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