ASL Students: Be honest, your reason???

Reason for wanting to learn ASL

  • My friends are doing it, I want to do it too!

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • Watching others sign is so cool!

    Votes: 10 15.6%
  • Sounds more fun than learning Spanish or French

    Votes: 8 12.5%
  • To be able to communicate with a deaf person

    Votes: 32 50.0%
  • Other - will explain below

    Votes: 47 73.4%

  • Total voters
    64
  • Poll closed .

rolling7

New Member
I, like Kellycat, am a total language nerd! I speak Spanish, I'm learning Arabic, and now I'd like to learn ASL.

Why do I love languages so much? Because when I know the language that a community of people speak, I can talk to all the members of the community! I love being able to talk to people who other people can't easily talk to. I love learning about cultures that other people can't/don't know about. For the other languages, in all honesty, I also love the food. :)

I have been to Guatemala, and knowing even crappy Spanish let me meet people there, connect with them, and make friends that I kept even after coming back to Indiana. Knowing Arabic, even though my Arabic that is beyond sucky, shows people that I at least value their culture enough to be interested and try to learn. And ASL? Well, I don't know how that will help me or help others... but I didn't know that learning Spanish or Arabic would help either, until wayyyyy after I started learning! :)


Congratulations on learning so many languages. I really like your post.

I'm curious that if you were a profounded deaf person, as I am, would you feel the same way about language? Your point seems to be, the way I see it, is you want to be able to go into another culture and be able to communicate in that culture's language. So do you feel that the deaf need to learn to read and write (speaking would be hard/impossible) the language of another culture?
 

JanatheShort

New Member
Congratulations on learning so many languages. I really like your post.

I'm curious that if you were a profounded deaf person, as I am, would you feel the same way about language? Your point seems to be, the way I see it, is you want to be able to go into another culture and be able to communicate in that culture's language. So do you feel that the deaf need to learn to read and write (speaking would be hard/impossible) the language of another culture?

:hmm: Well... learning another language lets you communicate with more people. So, if I were profoundly deaf... I think I would still try to learn more languages. When I was learning Spanish, I learned more by making friends from Central America online and sending e-mails to them... in Spanish. I could still do that if I was deaf, because it is in writing. I could still chat on MSN or Yahoo with a friend in Spanish if I was deaf.

Also, interacting with people from other countries lets you get to know a person, and maybe you would have less discrimination. In person, maybe people would discriminate against me a lot. But over e-mail... I would be just like everyone else. I would make mistakes in Spanish, because I'm learning a new language. No one would say "Oh, your spanish is bad because you are deaf" they would say "oh, your Spanish is bad because you are American." Does that make sense?

So yeah... I think if I was deaf, I would still love languages.
 

dereksbicycles

Active Member
I would only teach my hearing girlfriend so much ASL. I want to have time to do fun things instead of teaching this and that and correcting this and that. It can get tiring. I just want to enjoy doing things like a couple would do with their significant other.

My girlfriend talks about how intense her class is and how much effort she has to put in it. It's good for her because it makes her work hard to learn ASL.
 

kellycat

New Member
I think people should learn as many languages as the want to and are able. Language seems to really click in my brain, so I may have learned more than most people would want to. (Don't get me started on how most teachers try to teach languages in a way the human brain wasn't meant to work.)

Becoming fluent in ASL and Spanish, as well as the smattering of French, German, and Russian I have acquired, has greatly enriched my life and allowed me to get to know awesome people I wouldn't have interacted with as much if I only knew English. Heck, I am thrilled I know about 10 words of Chinese. So I think if you want to learn another language, DO IT. And, actually, it may be easier for deaf people than English might have been. Why? Because it will be explicitly taught to you using language learning techniques. Unlike English, which I would guess the world just expected many of you to pick up along the way, like hearing kids do. Native language STUDY doesnt usually begin until school, when hearing kids have already had about 10,000 hours of exposure to the language. But foreign language class expects students to come in with no exposure and then teach them the language.
 

Bebonang

Active Member
:hmm: Well... learning another language lets you communicate with more people. So, if I were profoundly deaf... I think I would still try to learn more languages. When I was learning Spanish, I learned more by making friends from Central America online and sending e-mails to them... in Spanish. I could still do that if I was deaf, because it is in writing. I could still chat on MSN or Yahoo with a friend in Spanish if I was deaf.

Also, interacting with people from other countries lets you get to know a person, and maybe you would have less discrimination. In person, maybe people would discriminate against me a lot. But over e-mail... I would be just like everyone else. I would make mistakes in Spanish, because I'm learning a new language. No one would say "Oh, your spanish is bad because you are deaf" they would say "oh, your Spanish is bad because you are American." Does that make sense?

So yeah... I think if I was deaf, I would still love languages.

Pfftt. Trying to speak in different languages in oral is not that easy as you think. If you can sign different sign languages from different country, then maybe that would be no problem. But orally, no, that is not that easy. You have to know what silence or deafness is like. Not hearing the sound of the voice with words.

I had to go through trying to speak oral in English from Speech Therapist in the elementary mainstream school and it was frustrating. I could not understand what hearing people say in the mainstream High School and I was all tense up and getting all frustration. After I graduated from high school, I went to the ASL class at the Deaf Lutheran Church many years ago and it really lifted my shoulder and chest that I was completely at home with ASL. I can communicate with Deaf people more easily better than with hearing people.

I was not happy having to go through oral but I was and still am completely happy with using the ASL so that I can understand what they said. If the hearing people can sign ASL to communicate with us, Deafies. It would be a much better way to open up for us to communicate with you. ASL is a language so that we can understand better when we can not hear the words. Lipreading is not accurate and not easy at all. Also that is why we need ASL interpreters to help us understand what hearing people say at meeting or public places like Doctor's Office or at court or even at Weddings, etc. That is all I have to say here.
 

Pythias

Member
Language informs culture (as ASL does Deaf culture) and vice versa, so I think if you are that interested in a particular culture, you could still learn to read and write that language, right? Then you could read their literature and news, and if you ever went there, you could read the signs and labels and write back and forth to one another.

If you aren't interested in another culture, and don't need it for work, then it seems like more effort that is is worth.
 

Bebonang

Active Member
Language informs culture (as ASL does Deaf culture) and vice versa, so I think if you are that interested in a particular culture, you could still learn to read and write that language, right? Then you could read their literature and news, and if you ever went there, you could read the signs and labels and write back and forth to one another.

If you aren't interested in another culture, and don't need it for work, then it seems like more effort that is is worth.

Deaf Culture always point to ASL completely. No oral. :cool2: :rockon:
 

tuatara

pro-water
Premium Member
I didn't know asl was currently cool either, until after I started approaching trying to learn. I was reading posts here and saw a few unhappy comments about people who are just infatuated with switched at birth, and I've heard comments about that program from students at the school where I take ASL.

I generally hate fads, don't like the idea of something that has its own reason for existing suddenly having more or less value placed on it because a bunch of people think they're more stylish for playing with it.

There is one positive thing, though, that I notice about the fad. I'm not saying it's a good thing that there's this fad. I definitely agree that the Deaf community belongs to the Deaf and the annoyance with what's currently happening strikes me as more than justified. (Not that how it strikes me is of any importance, but trying to get back to my point...) Anyway, the positive for me is that with all these people interested, maybe taking classes, or talking about deaf culture or having their own interest affect them in whatever ways it does, it drives more activity on the subject. If it creates demand for an ASL class where there wasn't one before, then that class is available to other people as well. (I mean people who are interested in ASL for reasons independent of the current fad.)

And that helps me. I have wanted to learn to sign for a really long time. I never knew how to start, who to ask, where to go, etc. For a variety of reasons, I have access that I didn't before, and I'm aware of access I have that may have been there but I didn't know about it. So I'm studying this stuff, and I'm so happy now that I'm finally getting to give it a try.

And why I want to? So many reasons, some of which I probably can't put words to. I've always been completely blown away when I would see people signing. I've wondered if I could learn, but couldn't begin to imagine that. I do think it's a beautiful language, especially the more I pick up. And the more I think about it, the more I feel this: if a Deaf person wants or needs to communicate with me, I'd rather have some of that be on me. I can study this stuff, and maybe he doesn't have to write so much down (I'm thinking now of a particular person I've met), and maybe we understand each other better, and he doesn't have to work so hard to have that happen, and I like the thought of that. I don't want to be part of a hearing world that makes no effort to learn/understand/think about what it's like. I don't want to have the attitude that people have to be like everyone else or, well, that's just too bad if they need to interact with a typical mainstream type. And it's not enough to avoid having that attitude. If I don't get myself some education, my lack of knowledge can function as detrimentally as if I didn't care. I want to be more than I am. I can do that best if I work on the things I'm drawn to.

So anyway, I was thinking about that. You're definitely dealing with an influx of people who aren't here for too thrilling a set of reasons. But then there are people who are arriving at the same time because the original influx facilitates their access/awareness. Easy to think we're all in the first group, I imagine.

Not that the rest of us are golden either. I'm sorry my interest in your language and culture maybe dilutes your world a little, via my presence? On the plus side, I can't imagine I'll *ever* get my receptive skills up to the speed of native signers, so you'll always be able to talk over my head, and I'll always know that.

I want to be respectful. What that means exactly is also part of my learning process.

In my own way, I live with the experience of not being like most people. Not having anything to do with hearing, but I think it helps me take in the experiences of people with analogous situations. Not the details. I have to learn those one at a time. But the frustration, sometimes anger, the need for one's own space and the urgency to be the one who defines the terms of one's own experience, these things I get.
 

dereksbicycles

Active Member
My girlfriend is always excited. She is always telling me what stuffs she learns about Deaf Culture in ASL class. She really wants to be part of Deaf Culture. Be part of my Deaf World with me.

I really love that she is making sacrifices for me.

As for other people, if you're deaf/hoh and don't want to date a hearing person, that is fine. That is your choice.

My girlfriend is welcomed to practice ASL any time and welcomed to ask any questions about Deaf Culture with me. That is what makes our relationship flourish.
 

Grayma

New Member
:hmm: Well... learning another language lets you communicate with more people. So, if I were profoundly deaf... I think I would still try to learn more languages....
So yeah... I think if I was deaf, I would still love languages.

I'm with Bebonang. I don't think you're really grasping how much more difficult that would be with the sound barrier.

That said, there have to be plenty of d/Deaf interested in other cultures anyway, or there'd be nobody watching Joel Barish's No Barriers. Have you seen it?
No Barriers with Joel Barish

I get about one word in ten, but that's okay. Last month it was one word in twenty.
 

green427

Active Member
I've spoken with a couple interpreters about learning foreign languages.

It is easy to learn how to read & write other languages, but in order to speak the languages, you need to learn how to make the sounds, and the best way to learn is to listen to how it is made. Some languages, such as Arabic, require you to "roll" your tongue.

Has anyone tried reading lips in foreign language? It is a lot harder than I thought.

Does that mean deaf people cannot learn how to speak other languages? Of course not. It can be done, but it will be very, very hard.
 

Amandaholly

New Member
I know how to sign i grew up in a deaf household .. My Mother and Step Father
are fully deaf.. they dont use hearin aids.. I grew up signing for my mother and fatherr calling places for them .. I seen them stuggle while my father ( who is Hearing ) is some what WELL OFF ..

I want to help deaf adults and children and teenagers coup with being deaf its not a shame to be deaf its a gift .. Deaf people are amazing , caring , giving ( even if they dont have much to give )
 

dereksbicycles

Active Member
I have tried to learn some Spanish. I learned maybe 10 written words. It didn't look that hard to start with, but I bet if I learned the language itself, it would have been really hard.

I was eventually let off from my job so there was no need for me to continue with Spanish to speak with the Spanish speaking client.
 

Grayma

New Member
Does that mean deaf people cannot learn how to speak other languages? Of course not. It can be done, but it will be very, very hard.

I think I remember reading somewhere that Mrs. Alexander Graham Bell (who of course you all know was deaf, however obnoxious her husband was about deafness) learned several foreign languages and actually interpreted for her hearing family members when they were abroad.

I remember reading that when I was a child, so maybe it's not true, or maybe I remember wrong. It would be interesting to know, though.
 

rolling7

New Member
I've spoken with a couple interpreters about learning foreign languages.

It is easy to learn how to read & write other languages, but in order to speak the languages, you need to learn how to make the sounds, and the best way to learn is to listen to how it is made. Some languages, such as Arabic, require you to "roll" your tongue.

Has anyone tried reading lips in foreign language? It is a lot harder than I thought.

Does that mean deaf people cannot learn how to speak other languages? Of course not. It can be done, but it will be very, very hard.

I'm in agreement with you but just want to note that it is not always necessary to speak the language. Being able to read and write the language is better than nothing. Also being able to read and write the language still allows one to enter the culture of the people using it.
 

Smithtr

G.G.H.T
Premium Member
I am experience many times ASL :lol: around I am volunteer i am support community i am best duty :) I am work project ASL prepare revise on my job!! I am help vlog ASL, expression on hearing cultures exciting, Don't afriad I am help people!
 
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