ASL University |
Language: A few hints
1. Occasionally practice your signing in front
of a mirror.
2. Use a video recorder to videotape yourself signing a bunch of ASL
phrases. Have someone voice the phrases as you sign them. Don't
voice the phrases yourself because, in general, it is impossible to
sign ASL and speak English at the same time. It is possible to use
Contact Signing and voice English at the same time--but that isn't
your goal is it?
[Note: Some linguists feel that a more accurate term for Pidgin
Signed English or PSE is "Contact Signing." This is because contact
signing doesn't seem to fit many of the characteristics commonly
associated with pidgins.]
Wait several days then watch the video. Turn the sound off. See if
you can interpret your own signing. See if your friend can. Write
down what you "think" you are signing. Play the video again with the
sound on and compare your interpretations with the voicing on the
3. Go on "Deaf Dates." Even if you and your partner are
hearing...turn off your voices for the afternoon or evening and
communicate everything in ASL or fingerspelling.
4. An organization hired me to train their
interpreters. At the completion of the training they asked me for
any additional advice. Here is a copy of my response:
If you all really want to become
skilled interpreters and learn this language, I suggest
promoting the concept of "using the language at every available
It has been my observation over the past few months that many of
the workshop participants would immediately shift to voicing as
soon as the breaks started. Additionally, when I would first
arrive to set up, if there were participants already in the
classroom, they invariably would be sitting around voicing, not
Then, afterward, as I'd drive away, they'd be standing together
out near their cars voicing.
Your organization could develop its own culture of preferring
to sign whenever two or more signers get together.
-- Dr. Bill
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