Monday, April 1, 2013

Blogging from A to Z: ASL

Today is the first day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!  Here I go....

If you know me in real life, you may know that I am a fluent Spanish speaker.  I started studying Spanish in high school, but it was my college semester in Ecuador that really cemented my facility with the language, and I have enjoyed speaking it ever since.  What you may not know, though, is that Spanish is not my second language, but my third.  When I was twelve, I took some "communiversity" type classes in American Sign Language, and even now, I am still conversant in sign, with a vocabulary of probably two or three hundred signs.  When I first moved to DC after college, one of my roommates had a deaf sister, and I was excited to find that even after years away from the language, I was still able to effectively communicate with her in Sign.

That said, I estimate that my sign language skills are probably at the level of a two or three year old.  This is especially apparent to me when I see people signing on the Metro (as often happens here in DC) and I have no earthly idea what they are talking about.  Just as Elijah is quite able to make himself heard in English, but really only understands that which is directed at him or someone his age, I am a toddler to ASL.  (I imagine this is why Elijah can only let Kurt and I talk for a minute at the dinner table before he butts in with, "What are you talking about?")

I would love to return to ASL someday, to have a chance to really learn the language, particularly the receptive part (also, my finger-spelling is atrocious).  For now, though, I am content to sign to myself from time to time, and I am grateful for the language that kick-started the part my brain que me dejaba hablar español con fluidez.  American Sign Language was my first linguistic love affair, and as such will never quite be forgotten.

Keep reading to see who else is blogging from A to Z!


  1. Good morning! I'm so delighted to meet you, and learn you speak Spanish! How cool is that? I know this post is about ASL, but hey, Spanish is my first language, so I thought I'd get all giddy over that little detail :-)

  2. I took a course in ASL a few years ago. Last year in university there was an interpreter for a girl hard-of-hearing and I found myself tuned into the signing more than the speaker! I wish I had more people to practice with, though. I could make some easy money as an interpreter!!

  3. In my last job my Project Officer was hearing impaired. When we were at lunch one day we were talking about our personal lives and she asked what my husband did. I said "Range Con" as in short for Range Conservationist. The interpreter laughed and was trying to think of how to sign con since his first thought was convict.

  4. WOW! I didn't think of copying the list into my A to Z! Fun and thank you. My sister signed her wedding vows as her husband's parents are both deaf. It was a surprise to him, she studied without his knowing. Really moving.

  5. A is for awesome! I really wanted to learn sign language but there's no one to teach me so I just watched video tutorials on youtube. I took an interest in sign language after watching a Taiwanese movie about a boy falling in love with a girl who is a hearing impaired. You can watch it here if you like :)