previous | ASL University
|Sign Me Up! Online
William G. Vicars, Ph.D.
MCSE, MCT, MCP+I, A+, Network+, EdNet
||Opening "Chat Log Session 8"
DrVicars: Okay I just turned on my log manager. There was an awesome storm in our area last night, knocked out several power lines so I drove to Ogden, [Utah] to use Vince's computer.
Sandy: Everyone ok?
DrVicars: We are fine physically : -)
Lii: Was it a snow storm?
DrVicars: It was a wind storm--no snow.
Art: Bill, I really screwed up sending the answers to the class :-(
[Note from Dr. Vicars: I gave an e-mail test and Art sent her answers to everyone instead of just me.]
DrVicars: LOL I don't mind
Sandy: promise - I took it before I got her e-mail
Monica: Thanks, Artz!!
DrVicars: heh, I'm sure the others appreciated your help Art.
Art: What are friends for.
Lii: It was a bit of a surprise, Art.
Art: For me too.
DrVicars: Any questions before we begin?
DrVicars: Heh, okay lets go--tonight's agenda: we will talk a bit about attention
DrVicars: How do you get a deaf person's attention?
Sandy: Tap him on the shoulder?
DrVicars: Good that is one of the best ways. Any others you can think of?
Sandy: position yourself in front of them
Lii: Wave across a room
DrVicars: Suppose he or she is far from you? Facing the other way?
DrVicars: GA Tigie
Tigie: I apologize for being late, I had trouble getting online tonight.
DrVicars: Welcome to class Tigie, GA San
DrVicars: Right, yes!
DrVicars: There are many ways to get-attention in the Deaf community, you have covered
but one--the lights. You can flip the lights on and off and they will look up to see
what, and then you can tell them your message.
DrVicars: Lets talk about when it is appropriate to use the various methods: If it is a whole room full of people the lights work well.
DrVicars: If you are within touching distance of one person and you are behind him I suggest you tap lightly on the shoulder with the pads of your fingertips--DON'T poke him with the tip of your index finger. If you are in front of him or to the side you can wave your hand in an up and down motion, (this is what I call the "HEY" sign), basically a way to say, "Hey look!"
If the person is across the room (depending on the type of floor and whether or not she is looking at me), I tend to stomp my foot. [Light or hard depends on the situation and my emotional state] That works well when the person is reading or looking the other way.
DrVicars: A funny example: I went to a "Deaf" party at Rod Jex's place. He had a second floor apartment. There were about 25 Deaf milling about, constantly stomping on the floor. The people downstairs got mad, came up and asked us to, "stop making all that noise!" The whole rest of the evening we had to really suck it in and not do that which was very, very culturally ingrained. We couldn't stop--it drove us nuts. We spent our time catching each other stomping, and wondering when the cops would show up.
DrVicars: You might run into some people who feel that it is
inappropriate for a Hearing
person to flip the lights or stomp to get attention.
DrVicars: Okay now let's talk about conversation maintenance techniques, specifically, behavior you use to get information.
When you are conversing with a Deaf person and he signs something you don't recognize, use the "HEY" sign to stop him before he goes much further. (Because if he keeps going and you are "lost," he is only wasting his time.)
The "HEY" sign is not the same as waving "hello." The sign is palm down, fingers spread, fingertips pointing forward, fingertips moving up and down about four inches, in a fluttering motion. The movement is from the wrist. "HEY" is a great way to tell someone you want immediate attention. After he stops, you show him the sign you didn't understand, (approximate it if you aren't sure). He will then sign it again, or fingerspell it to you...
OnlineHost: *** You are in "Classroom". ***:
DrVicars: I'm back again :)
Lii: Welcome back!!!
DrVicars: Where were we?
Monica: Just discussed attention getting
DrVicars: Oh yes that's right, thanks. Then we talked a bit about how to ask for clarification of a sign.
DrVicars: If he spells too quickly then you might have to tell him slow down. You all know the sign for slow?
DrVicars: Anyone need me to explain it?
Tigie: Up and down the arm?
DrVicars: Okay take the right "b" palm with the thumb relaxed, and place it palm down on the back of the left "b" palm. Then drag the right palm up the left forearm.
Sandy: Are there degrees of slowness? i.e., I thought you just dragged from fingertips to wrist.
DrVicars: San you are right about the degrees. If you move just to the wrist, it means a normal, everyday, casual "slow." The higher up the arm you go, the more slow you want. Strangely enough, if you do the movement very quick, it means "extremely slow." (Also you can do the sign very slowly to mean "extremely slow," but this takes up too much time.)
DrVicars: Good question and comment.
Sandy: :) You can guess why I learned this sign quickly!
DrVicars: Okay after the deaf person spells it slow and you catch it, you might want to sign it back to the Deaf person (slowly and with a yes/no facial expression) to give him a chance to see if you are signing it right or to correct you if you don't quite have it. Then you go on with your conversation until the next unknown sign pops up. Any questions about the information getting process, or anything else at this time?
DrVicars: ga Lii
Lii: I'm kind of confused. Do Deaf use the sign "Finish" when stating a past tense?
DrVicars: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If I start a sentence with the
DrVicars: If I wanted to ask, "Have you eaten?" I could sign "EAT, FINISH?" [with a yes/no facial expression] The other person might respond by signing, "FINISH." [with an affirming head-nod]
DrVicars: or If I said, "YOU HUNGRY?" (or "HUNGRY YOU?") then you could reply "FINISH EAT" to mean, "I have eaten." But if I said, "WEEK-PAST, RESTAURANT, FANCY, I EAT" I wouldn't need to sign "FINISH." By first signing "WEEK-PAST," I automatically changed the concept EAT to ATE.
Lii: Oh, ok! That helps. Thanks. :-)
DrVicars: Signed English has signs for the months.
DrVicars: ASL abbreviates most of the longer months to three letters. The "rule" is: If a month has five or fewer letters, spell it out, otherwise abbreviate it to three letters. Except for September which is abbreviated to four letters.
[Note: Last' night I noticed one of my friends spelled "A-P-R-L,"
dropping the "i." So, watch
out! You will see variations.]
Sandy: What is snail mail?
[Note: earlier in the evening I used that term.]
Sandy: Oh, cute
DrVicars: Let's move on to my next topic, terminology. Any one know what RID stands for?
Crazy: i dunno
DrVicars: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. They were set up in 1964. Prior to that there really wasn't a professional organization for interpreters. Interpreting wasn't even considered a profession. What do you imagine Deaf people did when they needed to go to the doctor?
Sandy: Pointed to where it hurt?
Lii: Bring a deaf friend?
DrVicars: Lii you are close but it would be a hearing friend that they would bring. Or sometimes they would bring one of their hearing children. Can you imagine being seven years old and having to interpret for your mother's gynecological exam?
[New topic: A student asked how to find more information about Deafness and signing on the Web.]
DrVicars: I just use yahoo, or google, or any other search engine. You type the
address into your browser: http://www.yahoo.com or http://www.google.com Then
program comes up, you type in "American Sign Language," or "Deaf," and
end up with a very
long list of resources. Some have signs, some don't. More and more sites are
set up each
month. There are also a few news groups out there like "Terps-L," (for
"Deaf-L" (for Deaf people and their associates), where they post ongoing
messages to each
Sandy: Are the messages in "regular" letters, or do they use a signing font?
DrVicars: They are in regular letters. But you can set up your own monitor to
give you signing
font. You can even do it with chat rooms for more practice reading
Lii: What would be the purpose?
DrVicars: It is very useful for transcribing ASL. Let me give you an example. A local church wanted to translate a certain set of writings into ASL.
The models needed an exact script to follow for the creation of a video. Rather than videotaping from an English based script , the project directors used signwriting. This allowed numerous researchers, technicians, and language models to work together and see on paper exactly what signs would go into the finished product.
There is actually a software program that allows you to type in signwriting, (not an ASL font, mind you, but specialized signwriting symbols.)
Sandy: I hope this isn't offensive. In taking Lii's comment re: what's the purpose, why would you need to write in sign? Is it because of lack of hearing that many deaf were not able to be taught to read?
DrVicars: Good question, not offensive at all. Most Deaf people have no real use for signwriting. I see it as a great tool for linguistic research and for fun, but that is about it. I have heard that it is being tried in schools as a way to help Deaf children access and acquire language. It will be interesting to see if it succeeds and catches on.
DrVicars: Someday we might use a hybrid form of written ASL in, of all places, computers!
Computers are starting to use more advanced 3-dimensional-like processing systems, (for example: using a box of intersecting lasers instead of wires to turn on and off "switches"). The computers of the future might just need a new 3-dimensional grammar system for their programming languages. A language system based on 3-dimensional concepts instead of just a string of words. Hmmm. Where could we find a 3-dimensional grammar system...
Lii: Cool stuff. Is that what an interpreter for, lets say, a church does? Do they sign concepts instead of word for word?
DrVicars: Depends again on the client. A good terp will match the signing style of the client. No offense to those of you who might interpret at church, but most church terps tend to be less skilled. They get "roped" into it or just become interested and start doing it without any formalized training. Later some even decide to make a career out of it.
Sandy: So...do most of them end up using PSE instead of ASL?
DrVicars: Yes. Exactly! That is not necessarily bad however. It all depends (again) on what works for the individual Deaf person.
DrVicars: PSE [pidgin signed English] is "contact signing"--used to smooth the way when two separate cultures come into contact. Mind you, that PSE is not an separate language but rather it is a system of communication. Some might consider it a creole or a bridge language. Watch out though, some people run around claiming that ASL is the only sign system out there worth knowing.
Sandy: Well, PSE works for me now -- I'm finding it difficult to "think" in ASL - I'm afraid I'm not giving signing enough information.
DrVicars: I tell my terp students not to worry about it so much right now. Just do your best. Later on as you hang out with Deaf you will "pick it up."
DrVicars: I look at it this way. Becoming skilled at ASL takes many years of practice. It also requires someone to practice with.
Many hearing people simply are not in a situation in life where they can "hang out" regularly with a variety of Deaf people, nor can they afford to take many years of expensive classes. Does that mean hearing people should just forget about learning sign language altogether?
Rather than teach our hearing friends a little-bit about Deaf culture and a couple hundred signs in an eight-week course, should we just hand them a pad of paper and sharpen their pencils for them? I think not.
Each new sign they learn, each viewpoint they broaden becomes one more rivet in the bridge of understanding between the hearing and the Deaf.
DrVicars: Aww. Gee. Listen to me wax philosophical. It's about time we wrapped this up. I have enjoyed having you as students.
Sandy: Can't thank you enough for putting this together - Thank Vince and David, too -- it's been so informative
DrVicars: Vince is here with me since I'm borrowing his machine. We'll tell David.
Lii: I agree with San. How do you like teaching ASL online?
DrVicars: I feel very fortunate to have had such neat students. Also I have had great support from Vince on the technical side and David with his art.
Lii: I think the only problem is that you can't "see" when signs are being made. It makes it a little harder, but I've really learned a lot!
DrVicars: Great, glad to hear it.
Tigie: I've really enjoyed this course, thank you!
DrVicars: You are welcome.
Art: Will your site be available to brush up on the signs?
DrVicars: Yes, you can access it at www.lifeprint.com
Art: OK, thanks for all your efforts.
DrVicars: Okay then. Class is over, I'll stay for a bit and talk with anyone else who has comments or questions. Take care everybody.
Tigie: Bye now
Crazy: Thanks so much, bye .
Lii: Thanks for everything. Wish you well. :-) Bye.
Crazy: ( ^_^ )
Monica: Thanks for a great class. Sure will miss attending every Monday :-(
Sandy: Gee, hate to say good-bye -- see you soon in the advanced class! :-)
DrVicars: Okay, I'm going to sign off. Feel free to stay in touch.
Closing "Chat Log February 24."
I've had many requests to include the following article in this book. The article
is one I wrote for
a Sign Language Club newsletter.
HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL ASL ACTIVITY
If you have five or six people and about a hundred flyers and each person has some tape
A good time to do this is after the breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Such flyers, in addition to advertising the Hogle Zoo trip, should include an ad for
A final thought in regards to hosting successful activities:
The presidency and board of directors of the Club should subscribe to the local and
Good luck. Work hard. Have fun!