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ASL rec's?


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I would like to learn ASL. I need something that discusses grammar, etc. in a real-world (not academic) setting, if possible. A systematic approach would be nice for learning vocabulary, such as daily lessons, so I won't get overwhelmed. A book will be just fine, although if you know of an especially good DVD, that might be interesting.

 

Thanks!

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A book won't be fine. You can't learn a moving language from a book, and I think you'd need a certain amount of familiarity with the language before reading journal articles about the grammar will make much sense anyway. I'm not hugely familiar with American literature, or ASL really, but from what I can tell from online reviews, Bravo ASL! is best, but too expensive so try to get your local library to buy for you. Rocket Languages also sounds good, since they mention those magic words: "grammar" and "classifiers" and they are much cheaper. You can learn vocab for free from online dictionaries. Eventually you'll need to take a class or find other ASL users. Online dictionaries are often not clear on dialects. I don't know what sort of dialect differences ASL has, but there are a few over here and the online dictionary definitely isn't 100% correct.

 

Good luck with it, it's fun :) Remember to practice your fingerspelling, since it takes ages and ages to become fluent at both reading and signing it, and never underestimate the importance of classifiers. They are more important than your basic lexical items in producing ASL rather than some sort of manually coded English.

 

Rosie

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Good luck with it, it's fun :) Remember to practice your fingerspelling, since it takes ages and ages to become fluent at both reading and signing it, and never underestimate the importance of classifiers. They are more important than your basic lexical items in producing ASL rather than some sort of manually coded English.

 

Rosie

 

Once again, Rosie, I think you got the nail right on the head. Really, if I were teaching ASL to beginners, I'd begin class day one with classifiers and never let up.

 

And no, I don't think a book will help much.

 

On the flip side, if you live anywhere near a school for the Deaf, you're in luck (maybe). These days, though, who knows . . . alas.

 

I have a BS and MS in Deaf Ed. It took my a long time to decide on my major and since I had been a one-time spanish, one-time Romance Languages major, I didn't need any language credits (unlike my peers in the Deaf Ed. dept). I did take one class but really, I didn't feel it was the best way to learn. I quit taking ASL while my peers, who needed the credit, couldn't. I spent every free moment volunteering at the school f/t deaf: as dance chaperone, schlepping hot dogs in the concessions stands for football/basketball games, taking tickets at games, bus/field trip chaperone, et c. I'd do anything they asked. The games were perfect b/c they were mostly at night so they worked out with my school sched. Anyway, the point is that I would volunteer for everything. They needed the hands and were willing for me to volunteer. In the end, I graduated with "native-like fluency" while my peers were still struggling.

 

If you live near a school for the deaf, great for you! If you have time, give it a whirl! However, that was years ago and frankly, with the security climate that it is today, who knows if they'll let you in. My bet is that if you're willing to fill out some forms and submit to a bkgrnd ck, as you do with most volunteering anyway, they'll be glad to have you.

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I think it helps to take some basic classes or something, even if that is just learning vocab online and to fingerspell before you jump into volunteering. My experience with the Deaf is they say they want people to learn to sign, and to find deaf friends to learn from; but in practice they spend enough of their lives dealing with hearing people and rather resent learners attaching themselves and expecting free tutoring. If the OP wants to take the volunteering route, at the very least, learn to fingerspell and practice at home. If you can do that, you can communicate with anyone. Slowly and painfully ;) but it can be done. The more willing you are to look like a "newbie" who doesn't know anything except how to fingerspell, the more likely the Deafies will decide you are a good sort and will be willing to slow down and answer your questions. If you are too embarrassed to exercise your poor skills, no one will bother with you. The last rule to follow is NEVER to tell anyone that you want to teach the language, heheh.

 

Rosie

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