Sign Languages Study Group ✋

An area with study groups for various languages. Group members help each other, share resources and experience. Study groups are permanent but the members rotate and change.
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arthaey
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Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby arthaey » Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:19 am

There aren't very many of us studying sign languages, so rather than make a separate study group thread for each language, I'm creating one combined thread.

Who's out there studying a sign language? Why are you learning it? What resources are you using? Who are you practicing with?
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arthaey
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Languages: EN (N); ES (adv receptive, int productive); FR (false beginner); DE (lapsed beg); ASL (lapsed beg); HU (tourist)
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby arthaey » Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:31 am

I'll go first!

I'm learning American Sign Language (ASL) as opposed to a different sign language because it's what's spoken in the US, where I live.

I find all languages interesting (as I'm sure many of you can understand ;)) but I think signed languages have a couple additional advantages even for hearing people. For one thing, many people lose their hearing as they get older. Knowing a language that doesn't rely on hearing seems like a good way of avoiding having all of one's communication eggs in one basket, so to speak. ;)

Sign languages are also useful across larger physical spaces, when there's glass between you and your interlocutor, when you need to be quiet for some reason… I'm sure if I gave myself more time, I could list even more practical uses for sign language.

I also enjoy learning about different cultures and making connections with people I wouldn't otherwise be able to in the same way. The same is true of the Deaf community in the US. There is a lot of history and culture there, which most hearing Americans are entirely unaware of.

As for resources, I'm using the Green Books, Linguistics of ASL, LifePrint, YouTube channels by Bill Vicars & ASL Stew, and in-person community center classes. Plus ASLwrite to be able to write down ASL, even if this is use by a very small sub-community.
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Teango
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby Teango » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:50 am

Mahalo for starting a sign languages group, arthaey! I know there are several members on the forum currently studying (or proficient in) ASL or BSL, and there are so many other sign languages out there to learn. It will be very helpful to have a place to share notes and links to resources, as well as receive support and motivation when things get tough.

As for me, I'm studying New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) from scratch and would ideally like to reach a basic conversational level by the end of the year. I'm studying NZSL to gain new perspectives in language learning, communicate with my baby daughter earlier, and in preparation for supporting the deaf community in New Zealand (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a teaching position at a university there after my PhD).

I'm studying grammar and learning baby NZSL signs at the moment (this is my first day!), but can't wait to dive into a long list of other resources I've accumulated once I'm done with these (I'll post some more links and recommendations in my blog later - Ka upane! 2017). My wife and little baby daughter are my current practice partners for now, but I'd be interested in finding conversation partners or tutors in NZSL further down the road.

I wish everyone here the best of luck in their sign language studies for 2017 and beyond!
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jennybenny25
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby jennybenny25 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:58 am

Hello

Im currently studying bsl level 3 - love it so much! At the moment im practising with my study group :)

Great to see a sign language thread!

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golyplot
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby golyplot » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:21 pm

I'm currently studying ASL. I'm learning by watching videos online (mostly The Daily Moth) and going to local Deaf events whenever I can, but it's very slow. I wish I had more opportunities to learn and practice ASL.
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LanguagelJ
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby LanguagelJ » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:03 pm

I love the fact that there is a forum for sign language. I am familiar with BSL.
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vogeltje
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I can speak: Dutch, German, English, Spanish and understand Italian, Portuguese, Wallonian, Afrikaans, but not always correctly.
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby vogeltje » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:53 am

I'd love to learn sign language. I live in London, so BSL, but I don't know how because I haven't got a friend who knows it.
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Steve
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Re: Sign Languages Study Group ✋

Postby Steve » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:40 pm

I had taken a signing class in college many years ago using Exact English rather than ASL. It was a good start, though I never used it much.

My wife and I studied ASL together for a year or so. We used the Bill Vicars site and had a few books. I also ran into a deaf forum that had some very useful threads on signing. We had a good friend (who has been an interpreter for many years) and a Deaf friend at our church who inspired us to start. For a time, we had a small Deaf section going with a few different interpreters. Hearing the words and then seeing the signs for entire services and "singing" in unison was very helpful. We got together with them weekly to practice. My wife and I would spend some time practicing each day. I was getting to the point where I could hold social conversations with (patient) Deaf people. Unfortunately, our friends moved away a few years ago and we let things lapse. We still use it occasionally when one of us is on the phone. "WHO?" "Finger-spell initials" "NOT HERE". :)

Learning ASL was unique for me because it forced me into interactive listening/speaking mode because that's the nature of it. It was the first time I learned a language primarily from interacting with people. It was also interesting to observe some of the range of ASL dialects (since our interpreter friend was from a different part of the country).

Between some basic signs and lots of fingerspelling, I can still hold a minimal "Hi, how are you?" type of conversation if a Deaf person is patient.
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