How long before i stop thinking in english?

Lysander

Active Member
Premium Member
#1
I'm part of an ASL practice group on Glide. There are a few ASL practice groups on Facebook as well. They're good to help with fingerspelling and learning signs, but a lot of the people in them are learning ASL on their own and they're basically using PSE. I'm able to recognize it when others do it, but I can't tell if I'm doing it or not. I've finished with ASL 1 and just started ASL 2.

How long does it usually take before I stop thinking in English when I'm signing? I'm constantly translating in my head before I sign. And even then I'm not sure if I'm using ASL or if what I'm doing is PSE.

I'm getting frustrated with myself.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
#2
No idea. It really depends on the person. Don't beat yourself up about whether you 'think' in English though. A lot of deaf I know tends to PSE and even those who are more ASL tend to switch to PSE when it helps the other person... it's a bridge to learning ASL (at least in my mind lol). I've been speaking sign for ... 30 years and I still tend to PSE so...I can do ASL but don't get enough time if any with other deaf...:(.
 
#3
As deafducky says, it depends on the person. At some point if you were able to immerse yourself in ASL, you would get confused in either language for a few days before shifting into thinking in the language. If you love the visual language you can train yourself to use it to "talk to yourself". It get frustrating when you lack vocabulary, haha!
 

Lysander

Active Member
Premium Member
#4
As deafducky says, it depends on the person. At some point if you were able to immerse yourself in ASL, you would get confused in either language for a few days before shifting into thinking in the language. If you love the visual language you can train yourself to use it to "talk to yourself". It get frustrating when you lack vocabulary, haha!
When I'm signing I try to avoid fingerspelling. So I pause a lot because I'm thinking and I lack the vocabulary to complete my thought. So I think of ways around it instead of fingerspelling. But that gets frustrating. Syntax is frustrating. I've learned French and Spanish and they came so easily to me that I thought ASL would come as easily, but it feels completely different. I'm enjoying it, but I'm getting frustrated.

Though, I must say I've started using Glide with some other new to ASL people and I'm less frustrated when I see other people struggling too.
 

Mieke

Belgian ASL noob
#5
Lysander, when you figure it out, let me know, I have had moments where my brain is on ASL really, But then Problem is lack of vocab.

When did you learn French and Spanish?

Sidenote, one of the reasons Why I think its harder is because we're switching mode not just language
 
#6
When did you learn French and Spanish?

Sidenote, one of the reasons Why I think its harder is because we're switching mode not just language
Very true. I assume ASL retention resides more in n area used by the visual cortex.

I learned French and began Spanish as a young person with normal hearing. I became fluent in Spanish under conditions of major hearing loss but it was possible because the accent and structure had been learned long ago. I worked at Chinese 10 years ago when I was in Taiwan and found it a really fun language for awhile when I had a neighbor to teach me who understood how to teach where the sounds are formed in the mouth and throat. She explained that the sounds of Mandarin are difficult enough that many children do not have them right when they reach school age. In response the primary school teachers reteach the sounds using the same promptings that you might use teaching someone who is dear, or at least nearly deaf. Taiwan is strict about wanting their population using good language skills and even still teach 'Traditional Chinese ', scorning the 'Simplified Chinese' that was worked out on the mainland. Learning it takes a lot more effort. Anyway, I was unable to get far at all simply because my hearing was not good enough to pick out hardly any words of conversations I heard around me, which is how people learn.

Definitely switching to a mode of communication unlike verbal language is much more difficult. We have no early imprint of visual language.

Another similar thought: My husband cannot shift modes even for the simplest gestures that might be normal to some. If he cannot use words he is adrift. If I use gestures or signs he does not seem to notice, just demands words. Some brains are like that.:dunno:
 

goodonya

Well-Known Member
#7
If you combine gestures with sound? Like slapping, stamping, finger snapping, grunts, squeaks, whistles. Etc? It might be entertaining and fun and surprising as well. A lot of us guys have a resistance to
new roads that look like work, work in ways we know/think we aren't going to dazzle any one. If we are laughing we forget all that. It may be momentary but for us it has real meaning. Dunno just a thought.
 

Lysander

Active Member
Premium Member
#8
Very true. I assume ASL retention resides more in n area used by the visual cortex.

I learned French and began Spanish as a young person with normal hearing. I became fluent in Spanish under conditions of major hearing loss but it was possible because the accent and structure had been learned long ago. I worked at Chinese 10 years ago when I was in Taiwan and found it a really fun language for awhile when I had a neighbor to teach me who understood how to teach where the sounds are formed in the mouth and throat. She explained that the sounds of Mandarin are difficult enough that many children do not have them right when they reach school age. In response the primary school teachers reteach the sounds using the same promptings that you might use teaching someone who is dear, or at least nearly deaf. Taiwan is strict about wanting their population using good language skills and even still teach 'Traditional Chinese ', scorning the 'Simplified Chinese' that was worked out on the mainland. Learning it takes a lot more effort. Anyway, I was unable to get far at all simply because my hearing was not good enough to pick out hardly any words of conversations I heard around me, which is how people learn.

Definitely switching to a mode of communication unlike verbal language is much more difficult. We have no early imprint of visual language.

Another similar thought: My husband cannot shift modes even for the simplest gestures that might be normal to some. If he cannot use words he is adrift. If I use gestures or signs he does not seem to notice, just demands words. Some brains are like that.:dunno:
This really does make sense. It makes me wonder then, since visual information is processed in a different area of the brain than language, do fluent ASL communicators have a stronger capacity for linking the two. I'd love to see a functional MRI of a person interpreting sign. It could also explain why this is so difficult to learn later in life. I'm completely retraining my brain to associate two parts of my brain that until now have had no real reason to be codependent.
 

Mieke

Belgian ASL noob
#9
This really does make sense. It makes me wonder then, since visual information is processed in a different area of the brain than language, do fluent ASL communicators have a stronger capacity for linking the two. I'd love to see a functional MRI of a person interpreting sign. It could also explain why this is so difficult to learn later in life. I'm completely retraining my brain to associate two parts of my brain that until now have had no real reason to be codependent.
https://www.google.be/amp/s/amp.livescience.com/10628-brain-spots-handle-sign-language-speaking.html


Above a link, ASL uses the same part of the brain as oral language as far as I've learned.

But I meant as why its maybe just a tad more difficult to pick it up then French or Spanish ;)

I certainly think English and French were easier to learn, But then Again I learned those from a younger age on and they are related languages to my first language so Ofcourse its easier :)
 

Lysander

Active Member
Premium Member
#11
Another thing that makes it difficult is that if someone is signing to me and I don't know a word, there's no way to look it up.

Like if it was French, I could sound out the word and figure out how to spell it, look in a translator and find the word. With ASL there's no way to do that.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
#14
That is true... a bit hard to try to do a search on a sign when you don't have an image in front of you.. just in your head.

As AC said, most deafies don't mind fingerspelling or finding another way to 'show' what the sign is. You'll get there. Trust me... I did that a LOT my first year at Gallaudet. AND used the book we had in New Signer Program to look for the sign lol.
 

zeefour

Active Member
#15
I'm struggling with the same thing. I'm HoH and the sign I did use in school growing up was signed English with voicing. It's hard learning a whole new way of signing with spacial expression, word order, etc. so I feel your pain
 
#16
You shouldn't have to worry about it, if I understand you correctly, you must have been hearing before. I have been dead for a year due to an uknown cause. I have taken only so many classes but know asl pretty well. I still think and talk in English because that was my primary language before asl. It will be almost impossible to switch, for me at least. Truthfully if you do quite thinking in English then it will be a long time from now. Deaf people still understand English sign so don't worry about actually trying to change it to the right format. If you finally learn how to yeah go ahead and switch but not unless you trully have to.

Pride the Arrogant
 
#17
I understand your struggle, differently. I'm English major for fiction stories. I need 4-6 hours of practice with ASL, before I can think correctly in ASL instead of pigeon.

2 hours writing stories, then I understand English again.