For my Independent Learning Project this semester, as some of you may know, I have chosen to learn about sign language. I have some background on this language from a total of two semester during my sixth and seventh grade years in middle school. This week I was able to really launch myself into not only retracing my step, but continuing my knowledge into some of the language I did not learn when I was in sixth and seventh grade.
Before I went face first into learning the visual signs of the language I thought about what I knew about ASL. I thought about what ASL stood for, and that is American Sign Language. Then, I asked myself, “why is it ‘American’ sign language? Why is it not just ‘Sign Language’?” I realized that maybe other countries or parts of the world have different gestures and meanings. So, I did some research. The website I found this information from can be found by following the link below.
From here I learned that their is no universal language for sign language. This was a big surprise to me. I mean, how many different ways is there to show something while using just your hands?! Apparently there is British Sign Language, which is represented as BSL, and those who use ASL might not be able to understand those who use BSL. There is also French Sign Language (LSF). Much like ASL and BSL, those who know, or are familiar with ASL may not understand LSF; however, these two have much of the language in common with one another.
Here is a video I watched about some basic sign language.
It has just some basic words. I remembered the alphabet, but not a lot of the actions or gestures that go with words. While watching this video I had some of the gestures creep back into my memory, but most of them I have no recollection of. So, it feels as if I am starting from scratch. This is kind of frustrating since I knew a lot of this at one point, but it makes it exciting as well. I get to start something completely over and learn the way I want to learn, so it has been fun. I have watched that video a few times and do the gestures as many times as I can before she moves to the next action so that I can learn it faster. I am a kinesthetic learner, so I learn faster by participation, and that’s what I am able to do by learning on my own.
I am even more excited to keep learning this language now than I was last week, and that is very uplifting. Please give that video a watch and take a look at the link to learn some background on the language of sign!