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Sign Language

August 27, 2010

This semester I signed up for sign language. I just love languages, so I figured it would be fun and different.

I find at times speech leaves me and I cannot say anything aloud. The signs feel comfortable in my hands. But I don’t know many yet, only the alphabet, a question or two, some nouns. But it’s only the first-week of class. I feel like I know why those with downs syndrome or other special needs children feel more comfortable signing, but I can’t explain it. It’s natural, though challenging. My hands are clumsy, they sign what I wasn’t intending, and it’s like I only know what eight out of ten fingers are doing at any given time. I feel like I’m only just discovering my hands.

I keep going back, hungry to learn more. It’s like I want to learn sign so I can speak to myself. It’s the weirdest feeling.

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2 comments

  1. Hey did you ever finish that sign language linguistics book I gave you?

    You should watch Children of a Lesser God, or Mr. Holland’s Opus. The former won an award. 🙂

    Sign language allows you to see meanings. Like…the sign for i dont know is me pressing 4 fingers to my forehead (signifying where i know stuff) and then turning my hand away from my head (signifying the knowledge isnt there in my head.)

    And the sign for want….

    you stretch your arms palms up away from you, and then crook your fingers, drawing your arms back to you, almost as if youre drawing invisibly whatever it is that you want, towards you.

    The sign for maybe you hand your palms up and raise them up and down (but not at the same time! your right hand will be up, while your left hand is down and visa versa) visually it looks like an old-time scale that is indecisive on which side weighs more!

    Well, you get the idea I guess…i hope.

    Enjoy the class ok? 🙂 and dont be afraid to ask me questions if you need help.

    -Kate


  2. I do get the idea. Thanks, it’s really interesting. I can see what you mean about it being visual

    I am almost finished reading Oliver Sack’s Seeing Voices: A Journey into the world of the deaf, and I am enjoying it bunches. It’s like he’s writing not about sign language in particular, but also rooting down to the depths of language itself, and humanity’s essence. I’ve been switching back and forth between this one and his one on bizarre case studies called the Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, which is also very good. I think at one point during my many upswings, I was skipping through B&N proclaiming I had fallen in love with that man and his insight.



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