Monday, May 10, 2004

This class was intense! There were new faces in class. Each one had a very good understanding of ASL. The teacher began with Classifiers and the lesson just zoomed by. He gave a ten minute story at the beginning of the class. I only extracted a few signs but understood generally what was expressed. I felt so very humble in that advanced class- as if I was a beginner. Looking through the book I see that this class will be a struggle for me. The first chapter seems so filled with information. I feel somewhat overwhelmed but I will keep at it. Once this class ends I will need to review all the material I have gathered until now and digest it. It seems to me that I am swallowing the lessons without the luxury of processing what I am learning. And now with this class everyone is signing very, very well and I am behind. I will continue with the class and gather all the lessons as a sponge- just gathering information in order to assimilate it after the term.

This class will be a challenge for me and I will continue with it even if I fall on my face. I will do my best; I will study every single day too. It’s good that other students are so well ahead, that means that I will learn much not only from my teacher but from fellow students. I will concentrate on learning my classifiers and focus on phrases instead of concept and individual signs. Let’s see what happens during this term.

When signing a classifier make certain to sign the subject first.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Tonight was the final class for ASL 2. The teacher did not instruct from the SN book. He told us that he will begin with that book in two week- during our first ASL 3 class. It looks like this class will exist because so far the limit of registered students as been completed. I will submit my regisration form with payment ($122.00) tomorrow afternoon.

The teacher gave us a brief test- signs and fingerspelling. He signed alot! In fact he signed a brief history of the railroad industry. I understood a good chunk of it. The history lesson was for twenty minutes (give-and-take). Visually I was tired. Your eyes have to grasp so much at one time. It was good. I enjoyed this class because it challenged me to focus.

I have learned so much but there is still so much more to go. The SN level 3 book looks like a very good resource so I am very happy about it. My goals are to keep increasing my sign vocabulary, be a more fluent signer, sharpen my reading skills- especially with fingerspelled words, as well as incorporate better facial and body expression.

I am glad that we have a week off between terms. I want to go back to my ABC book and review specific chapters prior to our first class. I learned from my personal study that mouth expressions have meaning. For example: The "th" mouth expressions mean "clumsily" or "out of control." I am not 100% comfortable with Classifiers as yet- I understand the concept completely, but yet doing classifiers does not feel too natural for me. I will focus on that aspect this week and the next as well. I will also try to attend a deaf gathering later this month or early the next: www.miamistagecompany.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Monday's class was rather dull. We began our new book- Signing Naturally level three. The problem was that not one student had the book. The teacher used a projector and we did some exercises that emphasized classifiers. The teacher also signed a story and I was happy that I understood it. He told us that this new book is highly effective so I am looking forward to reading it.

Next Monday will mark our final class for this term. We need seven students for the advance class to be a reality. ASL 3 is still in doubt. I purchased the book regardless of what happens. I was going to buy it eventually regardless.

No new vocabulary for this class.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

In our last class, the ABC book was finally completed! We will begin the new book Signing Naturally (level 3) next week. I just purchased the book tonight on the Internet. I hope I will get it before to the next class.

We learned many new things last class: Classifiers and outlining shapes. The important rule is to always describe the object you are outlining (drawing the shape of) at the beginning of the sentence. I will focus on those advanced chapters this week so as to prepare for the more advanced stuff coming up. Some of the signs in the last lesson of the ABC text were not in my ASL dictionary. I made certain to write notes on those signs in class.

Half of the vocabulary list for the final chapter were signs for countries of the world. The teacher updated some of signs and pointed out that some were changed because of offensive descriptions. I noted that the sign for Cuba was not in the vocabulary list so I ask for it's sign. What resulted from my question made me angry. I wrote my feelings in an online Deaf forum:

Last Monday night, during my ASL class, the teacher was reviewing the last chapter of the ABC book. In that final chapter signs for countries were listed. The class went over the signs and as we practiced I noticed that the sign for Cuba was not in the chapter. I asked the teacher to please make the sign for Cuba. He gave me two signs: The b-hand on the forehead and another sign that made me uneasy. This is the sign:

The sign represents Cuban rafters at sea. When he first signed it I thought that it was the sign for sea turtle. I was wrong. When he told me what it represented I was shocked. To have a sign that depicts the life and death plight of the Cuban people is questionable. It would be like having a sign that depicts people dying in the Holocost for Jewish, or having a sign depicting slave workers for Africans, or having a sign depicting the 911 victims for Americans.

The sign for Cuban (Cuba) that depicts rafters is just plain wrong and offensive. Please stop using it. Such a sign will draw people away from each other instead of bringing them closer. The former sign (b-hand to forehead) is fine; the latter must be removed, in the view of this Cuban American.

Most agreed that such a sign was offensive. I left it like that.

Kirsten, my ASL 1 teacher, visited the class and told us about a Deaf play. She handed out information regarding the performance. It is a theatre version of Children of a Lesser God. Here is the information she handed us:




Africa: open r-hand closed and moves down to right.
Australia: both f-hands move forward from hips.
#busy: b to y hand movement.
China: draw a "seven" on chest.
Italia: f-hand, with index and thumb touching, move hand downward and open index and thumb. Touch those fingers again at the end of the movement. Caution: Make certain to curve the movement in a little. If the movement is straight down, the sign means pussy.
India: thumb to forehead.
Japan: both hands move automatically; index/thumb open and close.
Israel: i-hand on chin.
Mexico: v-hand switch fingers on forehead.
Russia: index across chin then outward.
Cuba: b-hand on forehead.


Monday, April 05, 2004

I feel a bit under the weather so I will miss class tonight. This is the very first time I have ever missed class. If fellow students would like to send me their class notes I would be very happy. I know from the last session that the class will review the last two chapters of the ABC text. It is mostly about classifers; I don't really have any questions regarding those final lessons.


Below are statements regarding interpreters/interpreting from a deaf friend.

Please understand that my experience with interpreters
DOES NOT speak for all deaf opinions. Like relay
operators, you have your good ones- you have your bad
ones. Have you talk to deaf people on relay Carlos?
I really feel you need to do this to experience this
aspect of our culture. And as interpreter, you WILL
be using relay with clients.

Interpreters, I have three big complaints about SOME
(not all of them) 1) Although they are train in ASL
and some in PSE and SEE, I question some of their true
skills. I guess because of the lack of interpreters-
there is rush to get them working quick! Plus like
you say before of your teacher- some ASL teachers
don’t care about their profession and it shows in
their teaching. I have had instances where I have
been in meetings or group activities where more than
one person talks at once, and interpreters leave out
what others add, people’s comments. I only know this
because I either lip read something they don’t sign,
or because a response from speaker does not make sense
base on what he just say. So I figure- someone must
have asks them a question. Jokes, etc that are made-
that interpreters THINK may not translate well (deafie
vs hearie jargin) so they don’t tell you, or it’s
modify. I have had interpreters take “pauses” in the
middle of speeches, and completely stop interpret. Or
they will sign, “question from the audience” and not
interpret the question!! GRRRRRR!!!!

2) Also, yes I know there are some big words/terms
that are no signs for, but there are some terms that I
would expect a qualify interpreter know the signs for
and they are instead fingerspell words. I notice that
with a lot of new tech. terms. I sign to an
interpreter after a function “Do you know e-mail
address for information?” She did not know the sign
for “e-mail” that I was use. And I repeat the phrase
over a few times. So finally, I fingerspell
e-m-a-i-l. This was about two years ago.
Interpreters need to stay update with new signs in our

3) I have MANY hearing friends who were deaf studies
majors or sign language majors. For those that were
sign majors- I was really disappoint with their
“exposure to deaf culture”. Now for some, they either
were in program because of deaf sibling, parents, or
friends. But for those that had no deaf people in
their life that lead them to the career choice, I
worry for them. I ask my friends about how they would
learn deaf culture. They had to go to three deaf
events a semester. Just three, Carlos. They could
include a movie about deaf, a captioned movie, etc.
I’m sorry but watch a movie and going to a movie where
it’s dark and YOU DON’T SIGN or interact with others
is stupid!!!! That’s not exposure to deaf culture. I
would LOVE for hearie students of sign to go to deafie
happy hours. That is TOTAL deaf culture, Carlos!!! We
laugh, tell jokes, catch up on current events, deaf
community, and talk of hearies. It is raw deaf world,
Carlos. I think every interpreter student should go
to a big deaf event and see what it’s like to be
outsider. TO feel left out. The scene in Children of
A Lesser God- where they go to deaf party. And the
two hearies stand in the kitchen- confused and
isolated. I love that scene. I have even question
some of my friends classmates about deaf issues. Many
of them did not know about CI’s, etc. Do you feel you
are learn a lot about deafness in your class, Carlos?
You need to get in with deaf culture. PLEASE ask me
anything about deafness, culture, anything!

Interpreters need to be surround by deafness, and know
their client. And I’m sorry if this sounds rude- but
deaf culture should be teach from the deaf, not from a
hearing person who does not know our culture- that
learns it from a book.

It’s like calling an American “Mexican” restaurant-
“authentic”. Don’t get me started Carlos… grrr….

If you do become an interpreter Carlos- remember that
deaf feel isolate in classes, etc because of
communication differences. Take the time to speak to
the people you interpret for, ask them afterwards if
they understand, or if are any questions. Don’t
assume. Watch their expressions, if they seem
confuse- address it at the end of signing. Get them
involve with the group. I take a class at hearing
school one summer, and need an interpreter. I feel so
detach from the class.


Thank you Elise for your words!


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Ears are extraordinary organs. One of the most remarkable things about this process is that it is completely mechanical. Your hearing system is based solely on physical movement.

To understand how your ears hear sound, you first need to understand just what sound is.

When something vibrates in the atmosphere, it moves the air particles around it. Those air particles in turn move the air particles around them, carrying the pulse of the vibration through the air. When you hit a bell, the metal vibrates -- flexes in and out. When it flexes out on one side, it pushes on the surrounding air particles on that side. These air particles then collide with the particles in front of them, which collide with the particles in front of them, and so on. This is called compression. This creates a drop in pressure, which pulls in more surrounding air particles, creating another drop in pressure, which pulls in particles even farther out. This pressure decrease is called rarefaction. a vibrating object sends a wave of pressure fluctuation through the atmosphere. We hear different sounds from different vibrating objects because of variations in the sound wave frequency. A higher wave frequency simply means that the air pressure fluctuation switches back and forth more quickly. We hear this as a higher pitch. When there are fewer fluctuations in a period of time, the pitch is lower. The level of air pressure in each fluctuation, the wave's amplitude, determines how loud the sound is.

To hear sound, your ear has to do three basic things: (1) Direct the sound waves into the hearing part of the ear; (2) Sense the fluctuations in air pressure; (3) Translate these fluctuations into an electrical signal that your brain can understand.

The pinna, the outer part of the ear, serves to "catch" the sound waves. Your outer ear is pointed forward and it has a number of curves. This structure helps you determine the direction of a sound. If a sound is coming from behind you or above you, it will bounce off the pinna in a different way than if it is coming from in front of you or below you. This sound reflection alters the pattern of the sound wave. Your brain recognizes distinctive patterns and determines whether the sound is in front of you, behind you, above you or below you.

Once the sound waves travel into the ear canal, they vibrate the tympanic membrane, commonly called the eardrum. It is positioned between the ear canal and the middle ear. The middle ear is connected to the throat via the eustachian tube. Since air from the atmosphere flows in from your outer ear as well as your mouth, the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum remains equal. This pressure balance lets your eardrum move freely back and forth.

more >>


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Our last class was very good. We completed one chapter and I left with many notes. That's the way I like this class to continue. The teacher told the class about an upcoming NAD (National Association of the Deaf) event in Miami during the summer. I visited the NAD site but was unable to locate information regarding that event. I sent NAD an inquiry via e-mail and I will post information on that event here so stay tuned. All I know is that it will be in June at Doral.

Next Monday there will be no class: Spring Break!


audience: (in audience) sign the latter gesture- hands pulled inward; (if not in audience) sign "people" first, as shown in text: ABC book.
change: both X-hands are used in this sign.
equal: circle outward w/ arms.
stalking: right A-hand moves continually in circles behind left A-hand.
forbid: left palm outward and right palm inward- strike the palm.
if: F-hand, wiggle open fingers or point pinkie finger of right hand to forehead.
measure: thumb bent in to palms.
engineering: Y-hand alt movements with palms out.
architecture: sign "house" with A-hands.
structure: sign "built" with A-hands.
building: B-hands move up/down palm facing each other.
postpone: F-hand (right) move forward/back from left F-hand.
relative: this sign is most commonly used with R-handshapes.
relationship: F-hand joined move forward/back before chest.
diplomatic: D-hand twist on forehead.
hooker: the sign for "shame" is repeated. "Shame" is just one movement; "shy" is one slow movement.
diarrhea: 5-hand facing right and right 10-hand w/ thumb on left hand palm moves downward.
poop (or shit): same sign for diarrhea with left hand in A-handshape.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Monday night the teacher brought to class the next workbook after ABC. It is the third (volume 3) workbook in the ASL series, Signing Naturally. He told us about www..dawnsignpress.com- the largest online store for deaf related products. The teacher also talked about video relay and career opportunities for us with companies such as Sprint. He wrote the following links on the board:



fat: right y-hand on left palm (up).
confident: when making this sign, bring forward the right hand slightly.
up to you: the L-hand moves forward from forehead to the 10-hand.
hide: slap fist under the left palm (palm to palm) when making this sign.
liscense suspended (or expired): twist the right hand downward once after making the sign for "liscense."
poison: the sign for "medicine" can also be used for this word.
pull: keeps palm side of fists facing down when making this sign.
travel: make short circular movements when making this sign.
struggle: both hands shake slightly.
judgment: F-hands, facing each other before chest, move up and down.
go-there-repeatedly: flick index fingers repeatedly.
e-mail: left C-hand facing right with right index, palm down, moves forward once.
movie: place right hand between thumb and index.
spend: both fists on hip move forward and point index ahead.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Yesterday I attended the Deaf Nation expo in Coconut Grove. Sadly I could not stay too long but I did enjoy it. I saw my ASL teacher at the event but he was leaving as I was arriving. It was great and I look forward to attending the expo next year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The last ASL class has been the best to date. The teacher was cooking and I learned much. My opinion is now changing and I am fired-up more than ever. We studied just one chapter at a normal pace. If the classes continue like Mondays class, then I'm a happy fellow. The teacher talked about the third ASL level- the advanced class next term. In that class we will use the text, Signing Naturally. In fact we will begin that text before this ASL 2 class ends. Also, the teacher signed another story and I still had trouble keeping up with the signing speed. I am catching more of the signs though. I'll get it with time, slowly.


Concern: similar to "tend."
fart: left fist with open right hand, palm up, moves down from fist. Funny sign. :-)
late: this sign also means "not yet."
metal: tap curved index on chin repeatedly.
bitter: twist index on chin (no tapping).
miss (like miss something): tap chin once with index and point to person/place/etc.
nothing: wiggle hands, not arms or tap thumb side of fist on chest near heart.
research: index moves repeatedly outward on left palm.
condom: index and thumb (right hand) moved down on left hand index.
FrustratING: move hand (like frustrate) in circles before chin.
impact: same as "hit" with a wider movement.
know-that: ends w/ y-hand palm down (or straight open hand, palm down).
apply: same as "shirt."
broke down: fingers touch, palms facing before chest, and hands move downward (fingers flick down).
support: tap fists repeatedly.
mistake: sign for "wrong" but moves in circle from chin.
plain: right hand, palm left, brushes under left 5-hand, palm down.

Monday, March 01, 2004

The class tonight was good. The instruction was mainly from the text with no real extra insights (for me). We reviewed chapters 15 and 16 of the book. The only new signs (not in book) I learned were the different "I love you" handshapes:

I really love you: The "love" handshape with the middle finger bent over the index.
I hate you: The "love" handshape with the middle finger extended and close to the index.

The "love" sign is used more as a greeting then a declaration of love.

The teacher also told us a brief story with sign. I find it hard (still) to read sign at regular speed. I did get the general sense of the story. I was able to extract many signs and put them together, like a puzzle. I enjoyed that exercise because it was a challenge.

Reading signs and fingerspelling, at regular speed, is still a bit too fast for me. Grrrr.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Tonight’s class was again lightning fast learning. The latter part of the ASL text is not easy to fully understand because of the advanced lessons. This class is an intermediate/advanced class that does not allow for a normal pace in the instruction. I am totally unsatisfied with this class. I am unable to get a refund and that’s that.
The teacher read chapter 14 and the first half of chapter fifteen. I really did not learn anything new that the chapters do not teach themselves. All I can do is practice, practice, practice and do my best with what I have.


confused: keep arms near body when doing sign.
really: it’s a longer movement than “real.”
require: emphasize the movement of this sign- unlike “show.”
shave: thumb on face.
turkey: movement is from chin to chest.
keep: one movement.
careless: both hands come together.
Xerox copy: movement is under palm.
finally: movements from cheek outward.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

This weeks class was the worse one so far. The class was dismissed early and the lessons were not really taught. Instead the teacher just read the lessons, gave us a few examples and set us in groups of two to do the book exercises before leaving the room and returning a few minutes later and repeating the same ritual. Everyone seems confused and out of it. I have notified several fellow students and at least one has expressed dissatisfaction with the class. Our ASL 1 teacher (hearing) seemed interested in our personal learning and she was prepared and excited about ASL. This new teacher send the vibe that he would rather be elsewhere. I am not happy friends. I sincerely hope that things pick up because if this class continues as it is, the students will not return next term.

The class discussion was on classifiers. We were given a few examples and the concept was learned, to a degree. I wish I could post a good amount of class notes, but this one did not provide much of anything for anyone. Grrr.

Next week we have no class because of a holiday.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Tonight’s class was the best one yet. We went over chapter eleven- Adverbials. The teacher reviewed the signs for the chapter first before teaching the lesson. These more advanced grammar topics are interesting and the use of classifiers (next week) will be exciting. Such concepts are not found in verbal languages and thinking in such ways is fun and challenging. I love it.

An announcement was made that on Monday February 16th, there will be no class. Also, we start on page 123 for next class.

In class the teacher gave us a handful of signs for each word; including slang signs. Oh brother, now I have to learn those too! A list of some are below. He also taught us how to properly sign the numbers for age, and time:

Between years 1-5 (future tense), sign the number forward [u]from the close-hand position[/u]; years six (6) or higher, you make the sign for “year” and show the number as you move it forward.

When signing years 1-5 (past tense), indicate the number on right shoulder; and for years 6 or higher, you make the sign for “year” and show the number as you move it back over right shoulder.

For age, sign numbers 1-9 from the chin forward. For ages 10 and higher, sign “age” then the number.


all (slang): The L-hand is used.
almost (slang): point F-hand on right brow.
chocolate: move C-hand (sign: church) in a circle on back of left hand.
Russia: index move across bottom lip and throw outward.
game: repeat movement (challenge: single movement)
almost: single movement (easy: continuous movement)
work out: sign the word “machine” and extend hands outward, palms out.
breakdown: palms face each other (5-handshape) and move down from fingers.
near (or close): move the hand closest to body towards the forward hand.
talk: using the index is the formal (more direct) way of signing this word.
that: do not bring left hand atop left. Use left hand gesture only.
pregnant: open 5-handshape, palm in, moves outward from belly.
N-Y-O-B (None of Your Business: fingerspell)
M-I-S-S (as in Miss Universe: fingerspell)
problem: (an alternative gesture) Move handshapes in alternating up/down movements before chest.
strict: crook all fingers for “real strict”

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The class was moved to a room on the first floor. I like the new class room much better than the first one. It is bigger and closer to the main entrance of the building.

Prior to class, we moved our desks in a circle to better view ourselves. The teacher asked us to sign words that used the 5-handshape. Each person did around five signs before we began our lesson- chapter ten.

The chapter dealt with modals and how they are structured as statements, questions and answers. Its odd how such verbs are structured in ASL. When asking questions, sign the modal at the beginning of the sentence. I must practice and review this grammar rule!

Next week we are going to review chapters 11 and 12. What is left of the book will be covered in this intermediate class.


thinking- moves in circles near forehead.
cry- move fingers only; not hands.
catch (as in “catch someone/something”) grasp index of left hand w/ right.
vocabulary- uses v-handshape.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Last night the class was not all I had expected. The teacher was deaf and his instruction was good but odd. It's not everyday that I interact with a deaf person. His hands were moving fast and if I turned my eyes away for an second I felt I missed a vital point. It was visually tiring and I sense the same from my former ASL1 classmates. It will be an adjustment for all of us I feel having a deaf teacher.

The teacher reviewed the alphabet and numbers (1-10) and gave the class a brief history of the Deaf culture. He also spoke about the importance of idioms and we went over chapter nine in the book.

The first class was not too eventful and sadly next weeks class is cancelled because it’s a holiday. We did get two assignments: Find some signs that use the 5-handshape and create a sentence, in ASL grammar, from one of the signs in the chapter (9). I need more of a challenge!

I asked the teacher for information on local deaf gatherings and he only knew of one- a meeting in a church. I will not attend a church to be with the deaf. There must be public gatherings somewhere. I will call my local hospitals; I will look in the newspaper, and telephone this local sports bar that (from what I understand) has monthly deaf gatherings. I may also e-mail my formal ASL 1 instructor to find out if she knows of any deaf gatherings around town.

If I can't find any deaf folks to practice what I am learning, then all is for not. It is vital that I interact with the deaf as much as possible or I will never progress with American Sign Language.

Friday, December 05, 2003

This is the information for ASL 2: The class will be held at Killian High on Monday nights (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM) from Jan 12th to April 26th; the class is $108.00. I have no news as to who will teach the class.

Miami Killian Senior High School
10655 SW 97 Avenue
Miami, FL 33176

Call MDCC at 305-237-0000 for further information or access the information online, click here: Select Open Class Search and enter the class Ref# 236985 in the field provided.

I hope everyone from my ASL 1 class can attend ASL 2 next month. To e-mail me, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

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My Favorite Sites:

http://www.deafonline2.com/ (My member name: AquaBlue)

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Tonight's class marks the final lesson for ASL 1. The next class will actually be a deaf party. We learned that ASL 2 might be held at Killian High; and that ASL 2 will also be on a Monday night.

I did my story and I don't think that I did it as well as I wanted. Most had confused looks as I signed my story- that's not a good indication.
In class we played ASL bingo and we had a 15-minute silent conversation. We also did one last rehearsal of the song while standing. It was funny when we had to act as if we all were playing a musical instrument during the middle part of the song.

If any of class mates want to contact me via e-mail, this is my address: AquaBlueCR@netscape.net.

I will continue updating this blog and continue to do so for the remainder of ASL 2 and 3.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Tonights class was a good one. We learned some things about the TTY and how it is used. GA (go away) is a command that's typed into the TTY that tells the other person that the conversation is over. Also, amplified phones are used by HOH persons and cell phone adopters exist for use with a TTY. Florida Relay Service is our state run relay service and it's free. ADA (American with Disabilities Act) was another point discussed. Contact information on how to get in touch with deaf (gatherings for practice) was posted on the board:

DSB (Deaf Services Bureau)
deafsvc@bellsouth .net

Also, the teacher asked us to think of a person (celebrity) and for the rest to ask Y/N questions in order to fins out who the mystery person. I enjoyed that exercise very much. It was fun and instructional.

Sign Vocabulary

few (stops at pinky)
several (stops on index)
mistake (twist hand)
wrong (no hand twist)
people (Circle movements)
person (one down motion)
week (palm up on left hand) Move hand back for Last Week; and forward for Next Week.
cost (x-hand across left palm)
prefer (middle finger on chin)
government (g-hand twists to forehead)
singer/music (wipe hand over left "horizon" arm)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Last night class was fun! We learned how numbers are structured in sentences. The basic formula is as follows:

Quantity # item
Age person #
Time item #

The song is now finally translated into ASL:

Love-Marriage, Love-Marriage
Join Same (What?)
Horse (Pull)

Brother This Tell (you)
Don’t have
Can’t have

Love-Marriage, Love-Marriage
Marriage establish can’t pick-on
People ask, will they say easy

Try, try, try separate they...only dream
Try, try, try you will arrive same answer

Love-Marriage, Love-Marriage
Join Same (What?)
Horse (Pull)

Past mom tells dad

Don’t have, have none
Don’t have, can’t have

The entire class will sign this song on the last day of the course in a deaf party. It's easy enough I think; and odd to move and sign to music.

Sign Vocabulary

breakfast (B) move hand or the word is "b_tch"
lunch (L)
dinner (D)
still: "I'm still going."
still: "Be still!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

My beginners ASL class is nearing its end and all final projects are taking shape. In last nights class we discussed the song which the class will sign on the final day of the term. The teacher helped the class construct the first part of the lyrics in ASL form. The class rehearsed the first part of the song- Love and Marriage by Frank Sinatra.

We were taught the numbers from 1 to 20. For numbers between 16-19, twist the wrist as the number is signed. When signing “five-minutes”, “ten-minutes”, etc., sign the “minute” sign and then the number. For example: Minute + five.

Also, use the flat X-hand when signing (directional) the “give” movement.

Sign vocabulary

Washington (remember the wigs of old)
wear (sign “use” w/ the W-hand)
live (life)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

For class project: lyrics and story.

Love and Marriage

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can't have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage
It's an institute you can't disparage
Ask the local gentry
And they will say it's elementary

Try, try, try to separate them
It's an illusion
Try, try, try, and you will only come
To this conclusion

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
Dad was told by mother
You can't have one without the other


Where the Wild Things Are

One night, while Max wore his white wolf suit, he ran around the house making mischief of one kind or another. In his fun, he called his mother, “Wild thing! I‘ll eat you up!!” She was upset at his outburst and sent him to his room without supper.

That very night, in Max’s room, trees began to grow and grow until the whole room was a vast forest. The walls and ceiling were covered in vines and then Max looked and he was outside; floating in the middle of the ocean. He looked all around and found a small boat with his name on the bow. He swam to it and jumped in.

Max sailed across the vast ocean for a whole day. The day turned to night, then a week. Max sailed for almost a whole year before he found the place where the wild things are.

When he came on shore he was greeted by big, hairy monsters with mean eyes and sharp teeth. They roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws until Max said, “Be still!” He tamed the monsters by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking and those big monsters were scared of little Max. They called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things!

Max cried out, “And now, let the wild rumpus start!” He and the tamed monsters played all day and all night. They ran, jumped, climbed trees, and danced until Max ordered them to stop. Max sent the monsters off to bed without supper and they did as he commanded.

Later Max, the king of all wild things, was feeling very lonely and wanted to go back home- where someone loved him. Then all around him, from far way and across the world, he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being a king where the wild things are.

The playful monsters did not want Max to go and cried, “Oh please don’t go! We’ll eat you up, we love you so!” When Max answered, “no,” the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his boat and waved good-bye as he sailed off.

He sailed for almost a year until he was back into his very room where he found his supper, still hot and waiting for him.
I just realized that I failed to make an entry for my class this past Monday.

The class was packed with discussion and information. We voted on a song, “Love and Marriage” by Sinatra. We will sign this song as a group in class on a later date. The teacher spoke on many deaf-related points including WH (reflective) questions. Also the sign “very” is not used very often and is an indicator of a new signer: Facial expression is used in it’s place. Also when the days of the week are signed and EVERY (every Monday, every Tuesday, etc.) is used before the week day, the hand moves straight down from the right shoulder.

Sign Vocabulary

black cat
skeleton (bones)
cemetery (dead + place)
I-don’t-care (touch tips of fingers on nose and extend them outward into the 3-hand)

Friday, October 24, 2003

The following section is from the book, A Basic Course in American Sign Language by Tom Humphries.

Lesson 10

Basic Sentence Structure: Using Modals.
The modals that can accompany other verbs in a sentence are: Can, should, must, will, finish, maybe. There are three (3) types of sentence structure with modals.

1. The modal is the end of the sentence.
2. The model precedes the verb.
3. The modal both precedes the verb and is repeated at the end of the sentence.

Using Negative Modals
Some negative modals are: Can’t, not-yet, refuse.


I can’t dance.
I dance can’t I.

Using Modals as Responses to Yes/No Questions.
The modals can be used as responses to yes/no questions.


Can you drive?
You drive can you?

Yes, I can.
I can I.


appear (show up)
bake (oven)
born (birth)
catch (capture, arrest)
compete (race, sports, competition, contest)
establish (set up, found)
fault (responsibility, burden)
get (receive, obtain)
lecture (speech, presentation)
lipread (oral, speech)
marry (marriage)
maybe (might)
more (further)
must (have to)
president (superintendent)
protect (guard, defend)
put-down (write down, record)
recover (get well)
refuse (won’t)
save (preserve)
should sleep
try (attempt, effort)

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The following section is from the book, A Basic Course in American Sign Language by Tom Humphries.

Lesson 9

Noun-Verb Pairs
There’s many nouns and verbs which are related to each other in meaning and form and differ only in movement. These are called noun-pairs. Some verbs have a single movement and the related noun had a smaller, repeated movement.


Verb: Sit
Noun: Chair

Other verbs have repeated movement and the related noun has a smaller, repeated movement.


Verb: Comb-Hair
Noun: Comb

Note that while verbs vary in movement, the related nouns are smaller and repeated in movement.

Using Subject as Topic
The topic marker may be used on subjects as well as objects. The marker is used to specify, and in some cases emphasize, the subject.


My bicycle, it’s broken.
Bicycle my break.


act (perform, performance)
autumn (Fall)
California (gold)
cancel (criticize, correct)
comb-hair (comb)
cop (police)
fall (fall-down)
fly (airplane, airport)
give-ticket (ticket)
go-by-boat (boat)
go-by-train (train)
lead (guide)
left (direction)
lock (key)
look (appearance)
meet [group] (meeting, convention)
notice (recognize)
open-book (book)
open-door (door)
open-window (window)
put-in-gas (gas)
put-on-hearing-aid (hearing-aid)
put-on-ring (ring)
right (direction)
sit (chair, seat)
tell-story (story)
to-bicycle (bicycle)
to-telephone (telephone)
type (typewriter)
wonderful (fantastic, great)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Last night’s class was super. Much information was learned. Two (2) videos were viewed by the class. One was on Deaf stories. The teacher played each story without audio and we tried to extract as much as possible from the signers. We saw four (4) stories with that video. The other video dealt with basic sign greetings. It was more of a review and it did not offer too much new material. I did enjoy it.

Two handouts were issued. One was a list of web sites related to ASL sites. The other was a list of “questions” signs.

Sign vocabulary

hate (from chin)
awful (from eye level)
New York
Washington D.C. (bring sign toward shoulder)
every-Monday, Tuesday, etc.
All Night (curve dominant hand under arm when signing the word “night”)
future (move outward from shoulder)
long ago (use two hands for remote past)
recently (pull head/shoulders back if it just occurred)
sex (same as “recently” but signed forward- from right cheek down to chin)
institution (when signed refers to the institution of the current state)
week (palm facing up of dominant hand)
yesterday (do sign with or without thumb)

Sunday, October 19, 2003

This weekend I attended a Christian gathering for the Deaf. I was surrounded by deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, as well as a few hearing persons. It was an experience to say the least. I sat and watched at first. Everyone was signing! People were ducking under (while signing the "excuse-me" sign) as they moved between signers. One lady was deaf and blind and she would hold another's signing hands in order to receive signs. I also witnessed the deaf singing with their hands! It was totally incredible. I loved it.

I was mostly lost since all I can do so far is basic greetings. My limited vocabulary did not allow me to capture more fully the experience of being among the Deaf. One thing I did notice was how important facial expression is in sign language. I mean, I can't (for now) express myself fully with sign but I can understand, to a point, the feeling of what's being signed via the signers facial expression. Facial expression is vital in visual language- that was clear as I sat, for over two hours, among deaf folks.

Everyone was so happy that I, a hearing person, was learning American Sign Language. I was encouraged to continue and help and guidance was in abundance! There is no doubt that I will return to the gathering next week. Now I will really learn!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Tonight's ASL class dealt with lesson four of the book. We reviewed the past two lessons since the class was cancelled last week. Final lessons were discribed:

11/24- children's book are due
12/1- A silent party will be held during class and our class will sign a song. Next week we will all choose a song for that project. The homework this week (beside the book lesson) is to find a song for that assignment.

The negative can be placed anywhere in the TENSE/TOPIC/ADJECTIVE/VERB structure. WH Questions: The signer must lean forward, have a puzzled expression and hold the last sign. It's best to place the "question" part of the sentence towards the end of the sentence.

sign vocabulary

feet mouth
tie (or bow/necktie)
cold (illness)
pig (same as "dirty")
here (place)
wish (like "hungry" but w/ a short movement)
I love you (handshape)
I really love you (handshape)
I hate you (handshape)
nut ("not" sign but from teeth; not chin)
same as
taste (touch lip)
slavery (swing "work" sign)

Friday, October 10, 2003

The following is from the book, Sign Language Interpreting: A Basic Resource Book by Sharon Neumann Solow (1981):

Sign Systems and Situation Assessment
Chapter 2

Sign Systems

There are two languages among the various systems outlined (p12): English and ASL. All others are Systems of Communication; and some are naturally occurring and are contrived and most are based on both of the languages.

As interpreters, we must remember that our task is not the improvement of deaf people’s language (ASL or English), but rather communication between individuals. Sometimes a particular program will require the use of English or one of he systems of visualized English. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the interpreter to transmit into and from that specified system.

Situation Assessment

On the whole, there are several assumptions that the sign language interpreter can make in determining the mode of communication to use with each deaf audience he or she approaches. Every audience will require certain modifications in style, vocabulary and sign system to meet its unique needs. The skill of the interpreter rests in part on his or her ability to make the appropriate decisions regarding these choices.

For most mixed and/or large audiences, such as mass media viewers, or people attending religious services or a public forum, the interpreter would most probably lean toward ASL as the primary mode of communication, since the largest number of deaf persons would be served by that choice.

Where the audience is mixed, invariably there is the need for careful determination of a middle ground within the audience and to adjust the communication accordingly. Many people who can understand and use various forms of signed English can also understand ASL, regardless of their preference. These people are willing to sacrifice a desire for English for the sake of understanding and participation by the majority of the members of the audience with the use of ASL or Ameslish.

Pidgin Signed English (PSE), in whichever form seems appropriate, would fit the general needs of an academic classroom or professional conference, or a college or university. Many high schools and other educational institutions hire interpreters with the specific requirement that they use a particular style or system of MCE. The use of one of these specified systems would then be typically considered part of the contract, and to accept such a job, the interpreter must be prepared to follow the policy of the hiring institution.

If asking the clients involved which system they prefer the interpreter to use does not succeed, then the interpreter might consider observing conversation among deaf clients before the interpreting assignment, or conversing with the client(s) before the interpreting assignment, in determining the sign system that seems most comfortable for them.


ASL: American Sign Language, the language typically used among deaf adults. A language in and of itself, with its own grammar and vocabulary. It has a genetic relationship to French Sign Language.

Pidgin Sign English (PSE): The generic term for naturally occurring varieties which in corporate traditional ASL signs, some newer and contrived signs, and fingerspelling in flexible grammatical order. Popular nomenclature (names) for PSE includes Sign English, Signed English, Siglish, CASE, and Ameslish. Although CASE and Ameslish are distant from one another, they fit within the same category of the continuum.

Conceptually Accurate Signed English (CASE): The communication style characterized by the incorporation of traditional ASL signs, some newer signs, some contrived signs and fingerspelling, along with speech and speechreading, signed in English grammatical order to represent English visually. Signs are organized in English order with minimal changes, and English is mouthed exactly as spoken in the original English that is interpreted.

Ameslish: A term applied differently by different people.

Manually Coded English (MCE): The generic term for contrived systems for encoding English in manual form. These systems of visual English are attempts to precisely represent the English language, both its grammar and vocabulary, through the means of speech and speech reading, and the use of a combination of traditional signs, newer signs, contrived signs and fingerspelling. Contrived signs are generally based to some degree on ASL signs. Signs are usually selected on a :one sign one word” basis, deviating in some significant ways from the meaning of the original ASL signs. Sound and spelling are generally the deciding factors in sign selection, rather than meaning. MCE is a means of teaching children English grammatical forms. Examples of MCE are SEE, SEE (2,3), LOVE, Manual English, and Signed English.

Rochester Method: The communication systems utilizing fingerspelling, speech and speechreading to represent English manually.

Cued Speech: A system of organized gestures used to aid in lipreading. These gestures are used to distinguish between sounds that look alike on the lips, such as b, p and m.

Oral Method: The communication system that incorporated speech and speechreading only; no signs or gestures are involved in the oral method. This refers also to an educational philosophy emphasizing the exclusive use of speech and speechreading.

Reader’s Theater: A technique for presenting poetry, prose and plays using a certain amount of dramatic technique such as pantomime.

Pantomime: A more universal method of communication through gestures: A nonverbal system of communication.

Narrative Style: A form of ASL storytelling style, incorporating techniques from pantomime.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Classes were cancelled tonight.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The following is from the book, Sign Language Interpreting: A Basic Resource Book by Sharon Neumann Solow (1981):

Interpreter Role and Behavior
Chapter 1

The Function of an Interpreter

The service an interpreter provides can be summed up as follows: Interpreters attempt to equalize a communication-related situation so that the deaf and hearing participants involved have access to much the same input and output or can take advantage of the same resources. It is necessary that interpreters transmit all significant auditory input into visual form- environmental clues must be transmitted.

The interpreter must determine the relevance of a certain bit of auditory input within a given situation and then quickly decide whether or not to transmit that bit of information. There is, of course, no choice as to the information presented by a speaker, which the interpreter will always faithfully transmit.

Qualities of Interpreters

In interpreter behavior refers to actions while interpreting. Interpreting requires flexibility. Interpreters are constantly bombarded with new words, both in English and in ASL, and must be flexible enough to incorporate what is learned into their own systems. Flexibility is necessary in order for an interpreter to fit into any situation.

Objectivity is an essential quality of a professional interpreter. This quality requires the skill of showing no favoritism and of not revealing one’s own feelings while interpreting. By remembering the basic principle of the interpreter as facilitator only, it is possible to be objective so as to do an effective job.

Self-discipline is a quality that probably is the basis for most of the more specific items mentioned. Because interpreters work basically alone, with little or no supervision, interpreting is not an easy profession to monitor. It is thus the responsibility of the interpreter to set his/her own limits. The interpreter cannot be the sort of person who waits for others to enforce the rules, but rather must have an intrinsic set of values. As professionals, we are responsible for our personal growth, as well as for the growth of our profession.

Skill in both target modes, spoken and signed, is necessary, along with the ability to “meet the need” by being fluent in whatever is required so that the most appropriate system can be used for each occasion. Besides building our sign vocabulary, it is essential to build our English vocabulary and skills. It cannot be overly stressed that an interpreter needs skills in both languages (not just one) in order to function properly.

The interpreter must strive at all times to maintain a low profile, so that the attention of the participants is not focused on him or her. Punctuality and responsibility cannot be stressed too much. It is essential to the entire experience that the interpreter arrive on time so the communication, which the interpreter provides, can proceed.

The sign language interpreter acts as a link between hearing and deaf persons. The satisfaction derived from an interpreter’s work should stem from a sense of communication job well done and not necessary the repercussions to the client at some other level. We must value our skills in the area of seeing the client’s needs and doing our best to meet those needs in the communications sphere, such as picking the appropriate sign system and physical setting and establishing a comfortable, non-threatening atmosphere.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The following is from the book, Sign Language Interpreting: A Basic Resource Book by Sharon Neumann Solow (1981):

As in any specialized area of endeavor, sign language interpreting has its unique vocabulary.


Interpreting: The process of transmitting spoken English into American Sign Language and/or gestures for communication between deaf and hearing people.
Note: Translating in Interpreting for Deaf People was historically what is now transliterating. Translating, in common usage is usually considered equivalent to the term Interpreting; however, it is specifically used in reference to the written task, with more preparation time.

Transliterating: The process of transmitting spoken English into any one of several English-related or English-oriented varieties of manual communication for communication between deaf and hearing people.
Note: Transliterating will mean specifically staying within one language, but changing modes. Notice the crucial distinction between transliterating and interpreting; only the latter involves the use of two separate languages.

Sign-To Voice Interpreting: The process of transmitting American Sign Language or gestured communication into spoken English for communication between hearing and deaf people.

Sign-To-Voice Transliteration: The process of transmitting English-related or English-oriented varieties of manual communication into spoken English for communication between hearing and deaf people.

Visual Communication:

American Sign Language: The language of the deaf community, It is a language in and of itself with a syntax and vocabulary different from English. Also known as ASL, Ameslan, the sign language of deaf people or Sign Language.
Note: The acronym, Ameslan, was coined by Louie J. Fant, Jr. (1972).

Pidgin Sign English: A variety of manual communication in which characteristics of both English and ASL are combined. Also referred to as PSE, Siglish, Sign English, manual English or Signed English.

Manual Alphabet: The process of expressing the letters of the English alphabet on the hand. It directly represents the English spelling system. Also known as Fingerspelling or Dactylology.

Initialized Signs: Signs that represent English words but are based on traditional signs. Traditional signs are adapted to incorporate the handshape of generally the first letter of the English word desired. The base sign is chosen because it has a similar meaning or conceptual relationship with the English word.
Note: There are some unique cases of old initialized signs, such as WINE, IDEA, and KING, which have no base sign with a different handshape.

Manual Communication: The generic term for any communication using signs and/or fingerspelling. This is also known as sign language or signs.

Pantomime: A nonverbal form of communication which is not bound to a certain group of people who speak the same language. It is the freer gestural system of communication which crosses the boundaries of language. Pantomime is the way many deaf people get across some of the ideas they are trying to share when they are communicating with non-signing people or with foreign individuals.


Deafness: Since we are mostly dealing with deaf people from a social or lay point of view, I will use Davis and Silverman’s social criterion for deafness. They define deafness as existing when “everyday auditory communication is impossible or very nearly so.” Also known as Hearing-Impaired or Hearing Handicapped.

Hard-Of-Hearing: Theoretically can describe a person whose hearing ranges between normal and inability to hear (deaf), and ranges from someone who simply requires the other person to talk louder, to the person who hers but cannot make out words. A person who may be audiologically deaf may hear some environmental sounds and might also fall into this category. In either case a loss of sensitivity in the ear of its nerves is involved.

Minimal Language Competency: Used to refer to those deaf individuals with little or no education, and whose command of ASL and English is either poor or nonexistent. Also known as MLC, Minimal Language Skills, MLS, Minimal Communication Skills, or, MCS.
Note: The term “low verbal” is obsolete due to its negative connotations.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Class Objective

Story Time
Lesson 3
Silent Practice

Class tonight was very much like week three; and a rain storm kept most students away. New signs were taught and the class reviewed most signed from previous lessons. The final project (children book) will be done the week before the final class. In the final class of ASL 1, a sign song will be done by the students and a silent party will be on that day as well.

sign vocabulary

zoo (fingerspell)
chill (slang)
question (question sign outward/inward motion)

Deafness: Kinds and Causes

Four types of hearing loss may be described. The first, conductive hearing loss, is caused by diseases or obstruction in the outer or middle ear and usually is not severe. A person with a conductive hearing loss generally can be helped by a hearing aid. Often conductive hearing losses can also be corrected through surgical or medical treatment. The second kind of deafness, sensorineural hearing loss, results from damage to the sensory hair cells or the nerves of the inner ear and can range in severity from mild to profound deafness. Such loss occurs in certain sound frequencies more than in others, resulting in distorted sound perceptions even when the sound level is amplified. A hearing aid may not help a person with a sensorineural loss. The third kind, mixed hearing loss, is caused by problems in both the outer or middle ear and the inner ear. Finally, central hearing loss is the result of damage to or impairment of the nerves or nuclei of the central nervous system.

Deafness in general can be caused by illness or accident, or it may be inherited. Continuous or frequent exposure to noise levels above 85 dB can cause a progressive and eventually severe sensorineural hearing loss.

Some diseases of the ear can cause partial or total deafness. In addition, most diseases of the inner ear are associated with a disturbance of balance. Ear problems should be evaluated by specially trained physicians called otolaryngologists, who treat conditions ranging from eardrum injuries caused by physical trauma to bony deposits in the inner ear caused by the aging process.

The auricle and the opening into the outer auditory canal may be missing at birth. Acquired malformations of the outer ear include scarring from cuts and other wounds. Othematoma, known popularly as cauliflower ear, is a common result of injury to the ear cartilage followed by internal bleeding and excessive production of ear tissue.

Inflammation of the outer ear may result from any condition that causes inflammation of the skin, such as dermatitis, burns, and frostbite. Erysipelas, a skin disease caused by bacteria, and seborrhea, a skin disease caused by the malfunction of the skin’s oil glands, are common afflictions of the auricle. In the outer auditory canal, foreign bodies such as insects, as well as abnormal buildups of cerumen, cause ear disturbances and should be removed by a physician.

Diseases of the middle ear include perforation of the eardrum and infection. Perforation of the eardrum may be caused by injury from a sharp object, a blow to the ear, or by sudden changes in atmospheric pressure.

Infection of the middle ear, whether acute or chronic, is called otitis media. Acute otitis media with effusion includes all acute infections of the middle ear caused by pus-forming bacteria, which usually reach the middle ear by way of the eustachian tube. Bacterial infection of the mastoid process, a cone-shaped, honeycombed projection of bone behind the auricle, may occur as a complication of middle ear infections. Hearing impairment often follows because newly malformed tissues affect the mobility of the eardrum and the ossicles. Painful swelling of the eardrum may require a surgical incision to permit drainage of the middle ear. Since the use of penicillin and other antibiotics became widespread, mastoid complications have become much less frequent. Sometimes acute otitis media with effusion leads to a chronic infection that does not respond readily to antibacterial agents.

Acute and chronic nonsuppurative otitis media, which do not involve the formation or discharge of pus, are caused by closure of the eustachian tube due to conditions such as a head cold, diseased tonsils and adenoids, inflammation of the sinuses, or riding in airplanes without pressurized cabins. The chronic form can also result from bacterial infection. Because the watery discharge impairs hearing, chronic otitis media in young children may interfere with language development. A variety of treatments are employed, including use of antibiotics and antihistamines, removal of tonsils and adenoids, and insertion of tubes into the middle ear to allow drainage.

About 1 in 100 adults has hearing loss due to a condition called otosclerosis or otospongiosis, in which an abnormal amount of spongy bone is deposited between the stapes and the oval window. As a result, the stapes becomes immobilized and can no longer transmit sensations to the inner ear. If the condition progresses, surgical removal of the bony deposit is necessary, followed by reconstruction of the connection between the stapes and the oval window. Sometimes the surgeon will replace the stapes with a mechanical piston-like device. Even after successful surgery, deposits of bony tissue may again build up and cause hearing loss several years later.

Diseases of the inner ear can affect the sense of balance and cause symptoms of motion sickness. Anemia, tumors of the acoustic nerve, exposure to abnormal heat, disturbances of the circulatory system, skull injuries, poisoning, emotional disorders, and hyperemia, or increased blood flow, may also cause these symptoms. Meniere's disease results from abnormalities in the semicircular canals and produces nausea, hearing loss, a disturbed sense of balance, and tinnitus, or a persistent ringing in the ears. Destruction of the inner ear by cryosurgery or ultrasound is sometimes used to combat intractable dizziness.

Damage to the organ of Corti in the inner ear accounts for the condition of many people who are either totally deaf or severely hearing-impaired. Scientists have addressed the difficulties of such people by developing an electronic device called a cochlear implant. This device is more sophisticated than a hearing aid, which merely increases the volume of the sounds that pass through the normal hearing organs. The cochlear implant works by translating sound waves into electric signals. These signals are relayed to electrodes that have been surgically implanted in the cochlea so that the auditory nerve is directly stimulated. After successful surgery, once deaf or severely hearing-impaired patients can usually detect a wide range of sounds, but results depend on factors that include the health of the auditory nerves and the duration of deafness. Nonetheless, lip-reading ability often improves, and implant users have varying degrees of success in using the telephone.

Otalgia, or earache, is not necessarily associated with ear disease; occasionally it is caused by impacted teeth, sinus disease, inflamed tonsils, infections in the nose and pharnyx, or swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck. Tinnitus may also result from these conditions. Permanent tinnitus is most often caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, which damages the hair cells of the cochlea. A sound masker, worn like a hearing aid, may offer relief to some sufferers by blocking the perception of ringing in the ears.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Tonight I attended my third class. It was great! I learned that I had some badly signed letters; I will practice correctly now. It was a very informative two hours.

-Class Notes-

Class Outline:

Lesson 2
Story Time
Practice Quiz

Class Lessons:

When signing YOU-PL and/or YOUR-PL, focus/follow eyes on person(s); For THEM, THEY, and THEIR, eyes don't move.
Grammar structure: TENSE - TOPIC - ADJECTIVE - VERB.

Sign Vocabulary:

hot dog
coke (soda)
oatmeal (or "cereal")
ice cream
diet ("fake" sign)
Step-(brother, sister, mother, father: "fake" sign)
Grand-(son, daughter)
ride-in (as in a car)
ride (as in on a horse)

-personal study notes-

Girolamo Cardano: An Italian physician who was one of the first known scholars to recognize that hearing is not essential to the learning process. In the 1500s, he announced that deaf people could be educated through the written word. Believing that "the mute can hear by reading and speak by writing," Cardano tried using a code of symbols to teach his own son.

Pedro de Leon: A Benedictine monk from Spain demonstrated success in educating the deaf sons of Spanish noble families. He taught the boys how to read, write and speak so that they would be permitted to inherit their family's property.

Juan Pablo de Bonet: A Spanish monk who used his own variation of proven methods in teaching the deaf. Bonet used not just reading, writing, and speechreading as tools for education, but also a manual alphabet, in which a series of hanshapes represented the various speech sounds. In 1620, Bonet published the first book on instructional methods for teaching deaf people, which included his manual alphabet.

Abbe' Charles Michel de L'Epee': A French priest who established the first religious and social association for the deaf in Paris. One day he met two deaf sisters while he was visiting a poor section of Paris. When the girls' mother asked him to give their daughters religious instruction, L'Epee' was inspired to help the two girls and other children like them. This chance meeting sparked his lifelong commitment to deaf education.

National Institute for Deaf-Mute (1771): L'Eppe's first free public school for deaf children. Children from all over the country came to the school, bringing with them the different sign systems used in their own homes. The priest learned his student's signs, and then used the signs to teach them the French language. Gradually, a standard language of signs emerged. L'Epee's language of signs gained popularity throughout France. In all, L'Epee' established twenty-one schools for the deaf. He published some writings; among them was the first dictionary of standard French signs. He is considered, "The Father of Sign Language and Deaf Education" because of his many contributions to the deaf community.

Samuel Heinickle: A German educator and one of the most successful promoters of oralism. He taught his students speech by having them feel the vibrations of his throat as he spoke. Heinicke's contributions provided that deaf people are as capable of intelligent thought and communication as hearing people.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet: A minister living in Hartford, Connecticut, met his neighbor's nine-year-old deaf daughter, Alice Cogswell. Gallaudet recognized that Alice was highly intelligent, even though she couldn't hear or speak, and became interested in teaching her to communicate. Gallaudet didn't know of any effective methods for educating deaf children. So with the help of Alice's father, Mason Fitch Cogswell, Gallaudet gathered support from the community, and by 1815 had raised enough money to travel to Europe, where he could study proven methods in deaf education. In London, Gallaudet met Abbe' Roche Ambroise Sincard, the successor to Abbe' de L'Epee'. Sincard was visiting London to lecture on his theories of deaf education and to demonstrate his successful teaching methods. With him were two highly accomplished deaf teachers, Jean Massieu and Laurent Clerc, who had once been Sincard's students. Gallaudet accepted an invitation from Sincard to visit the Paris school. During the two months at the National Institute, Gallaudet studied their methods of teaching. When Gallaudet was ready to return home, he invited Clerc to join him and Clerc agreed! Gallaudet founded the first free public school for the deaf in American with the help of Clerc. Gallaudet retired from his job as principle of the Hartford school in 1830. He died in 1851.

American Asylum for the Deaf and Mute (1817): First free public school for deaf in American (Hartford, CT) founded by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Today the school is called the American School for the Deaf. American Sign Language emerged from this school in the same manner as it did L'Epee's National Institute- the students themselves brought with them the different signs used within their own communities.

Edward Miner Gallaudet: Son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. He and his brother, Thomas Gallaudet (founder of Saint Ann's Church for Deaf-Mutes in New York [1852]) continued their father's pioneering work in deaf education. In 1857 Edward Miner Hopkins received a donation from Amos Kendall- a wealthy philanthropist. The donation was for several acres of Kendall's own Washington, D.C. estate to establish a residential school- the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. Congress allowed this college to confer college degrees; the schools college division became the National Deaf-Mute College, which opened in June of 1864. In 1893, in honor of Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, the school was renamed, Gallaudet College. The name changed once more in 1986 to Gallaudet University. Gallaudet University is known as the first and only liberal arts university for the deaf in the world.

In 1867, the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes in New York and the Clark Institution for Deaf-Mutes in Northampton, Massachusetts began pioneering techniques for teaching by oral means alone: Oralism, or the oral method, uses a system of speech and speechreading instead of signs and fingerspelling. Alexander Grand Bell was an ardent supporter of oralism so in 1872 he opened a school in Boston to train teachers of deaf to use the oral method; and in 1890, he founded the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, Inc. Today it's called, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.

In 1880, the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (Milan, Italy) Oralism triumphed when this congress passed a resolution in support of oralism. The results were dramatic and far reaching. Because of this resolution, the use of sign language in education declined and lipreading and speech were added to the curriculum in many schools for the deaf. By 1920, 80 percent of deaf students were taught in oral education programs. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was founded and gained support in reaction to the Milan resolution. The NAD was instrumental in keeping sign language and manual education alive.

William C. Stokoe (1960): A hearing Gallaudet professor that published a breakthrough monograph that "legitimized" sign language once and for all. In Sign Language Structure, Stokoe presented his thesis that American Sign Language is a unique, separate and distinct from English. His research proved that ASL is a natural language with its own grammar and syntax, as capable as spoken languages of communicating abstract ideas and complex information. As a result, ASL was finally recognized as an important national language.

Babbidge Report (1964): A report issued by Congress that finally and effectively dismissed the Melan resolution. This report was a long-overdue acknowledgment of the superiority of sign language in deaf education.

A movement that began in 1970 attempted to blend several different methods; the result was a philosophy that became the foundation for a new approach of deaf education: Total Communication. Total Communication allows deaf people the right to any information through all possible means, including sign language, fingerspelling, pantomime, speech, lipreading, writing, computers, pictures, gestures, facial expressions, reading, and hearing aid devices.

Public Law 94-142 (1975): his law requires free and appropriate education and allows mainstream into regular public schools, where they receive special instruction but interact with the general public school population.

Deaf President Now (DPN): A movement at Gallaudet University that triumph for deaf rights. DPN was set in motion in March of 1988, when the University Board of Trustees named a hearing candidate, Elisabeth A. Zinser, as Gallaudet's seventh president. Students, faculty, and alumni of Galluadet were stunned that a hearing candidate was chosen over two qualified deaf finalists. Protesters shut down the entire campus and after a week of pressure, Zinser resigned and I. King Jordan, a long-time faculty member at Gallaudet, was appointed as the university's first deaf president. The DPN movement unified the deaf and hard-of-hearing people in a collective struggle to be heard. Their ultimate triumph was a reminder that they don't have to accept society's limitations.

Monday, September 15, 2003

My class notes:

Tonight, in my second beginners ASL class, I learned more about what we (class) will be doing as a final project: Signing a children story. I must find a simple childrens tale and learn to sign it in ASL. That sounds very interesting and fun!

I also learned about Name Signs. First one must fingerspell his/her name and then give the Name Sign. The first letter of the name (C) is used and its movement indicates something about his/her personality.

Also, in the signer space, there can be no more than three (3) places when indicating individuals we are signing- left, right and in front of body. One fingerspells the individual's name first and then shows where that person is (place) in the signer space.

The word AND is used to emphasis something. Example: He big AND fat he; She smart AND tall she.

The teacher began her instruction of structure by displaying how Tense is used:
TENSE - TOPIC - ADJECTIVE - VERB (What's happening).

Sign vocabulary:

cool (attitude)
light (weight)
light (bulb)

Monday, September 08, 2003

I just completed my very first ASL class! It was very basic as far as information but I enjoyed it. What really made me happy was the text that will be used for the course (1-3): A Basic Course in American Sign Language by Humphries. This is the same book I purchased two weeks ago in eBay. I only paid about five bucks for it and I have the four video lessons of the text as well! Boy, I made the right moves prior to class. Also, the ASL dictionary by Random House was also recommended for class study and I also own that particular book. I am set and ready for this course.

The teacher is a hearing person. She appears to be an excellent teacher and her lively attitude and humor makes learning ASL much more enjoyable. I will benefit much from her instruction and guidance.

The course objectives:

Develop a basic understanding of Deaf culture.
Use and understand basic principles of ASL
Develop a vocabulary repertoire including lessons 1-8 in text.
Display appropriate conversational skills, facial expressions, and other parameters of ASL.

My notes from class:

It's not consider rude to look directly at the signers hands when he/she is signing.
Always fingerspell with your dominant hand.
Signs using the middle finger usually indicate emotions- feelings.
The open hand is used for possessive pronouns.
Double letters (in fingerspelling) are indicated with an outward bounce to the right.

Sign vocabulary:

what's up?
bathroom (toilet)

Fingerspell Drill:


Since I have been learning and practicing ASL for about four months on my own, the first class was not too informative for me. I did learn new signs and the correct way to form the letters H, M, and N; and I also liked how the teacher showed that in reading a fingerspelled word(s), not all the letters need to be captured in order to understand it. Extracting a few letters will help in understanding what word is being signed.

I look forward to the next class! Now I must practice and review.
Today marks my initial step into the Deaf culture. As a hearing person, I do not know what to expect. My eagerness is overwhelming and my curiosity strong. I have been learning ASL since mid April (2003) on my own. Video lessons and books being my only source and guide. Tonight, in my very first ASL beginners class, I will apply what I have learned so far in my personal study. I do have two wonderful deaf friends who help me online: Elise (Maryland) and Patty (Canada). So far, they have both been encouraging and helpful in my gathering of information and ASL questions. In fact, they are the only deaf individuals I have met in my life. That will change tonight. Deaf culture here I come!

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