Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Two-way comm, or, the fog starts to lift

Today we has our second staff ASL lesson. My mind is overflowing and my right hand is cramped!

Because Ariel is going on vacation next week and because the group chose the option, we have decided to meet at lunch every day this week, not just Monday and Wednesday. Husband is attending these sessions too. So far, if you can believe it, we've covered the alphabet, the numbers from one to twenty, names and introductions, Who/What/When/Where/How, manners (please, thank you, excuse me, sorry, etc.); times and timeframes; and a large number of office-related terms, and a large collection of other words that we learn as they come up in the course of the lesson ("Understand?" "Remember?" "Deaf" "good" "bad" etc. etc.). I probably have a vocabulary of about a 75-100 words now.

Fortunately, ASL is a very practical language, and most signs are related in some way to their meaning; a stirring motion means 'coffee'; two hands miming 'talking' to each other mean "meeting". This helps enormously. There's no way we could've retained such a high level of new words otherwise.

Whew! I know it's pretty overwhelming for everyone but I am really really grateful that I seem to have a knack for it; at least I am not struggling with it as some in the class are. It's a very good-natured class, a lot of smiling and laughing but an undercurrent that this is very serious and we are all trying very hard to learn it. On Monday afternoon I had my first two-way converstation since I lost my hearing, with Ariel and another co-worker. I just can't tell you what that felt like - to make sense of things in real-time with two people!!!

I think it will be harder for my co-workers to remember and use the signs because they won't be practicing them at home; husband and I will be practicing them as much as possible at home so we have an advantage. I have discovered there is some local dialect involved and some signs I got from the internet aren't commonly used here! Go figure... people will insist on dialect, won't they? But that is the advantage of live tutoring - this is where I live and this is the community I must communcate best with.

Thanks to the fact that I speak, husband and I can incorporate sign into our other conversations with friends; soon I will be out of this awful isolation which is only overcome by much nuisance and effort, and communicating in real-time thanks to husband's interpretation. It is a process which has started already.

Would you believe me if I said I can hardly wait?



Anonymous Kay said...

Hmm. I think ESL would be better suited for you. I always had a hard time with ASL since I am so picky about sentence structure and choices in words. ESL has a more stricter version in regards to signing out sentences and connecting words.

That is just me. Hi, by the way! I stumbled across this looking for images and videos for my article on Cochlear Implant and Cell phones. I have an Advanced Bionics Auria cochlear implant. I got it back in 2004 when I was 15 years old.

I hope you don't mind me commenting on here. It's really interesting to see the issues I have in the words of someone else; it feels comforting, really.

11:34 a.m.  

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