Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Real deaf people

Tonight was the first class for Sign 2. It wasn't quite a normal class. Instead of just having Steve teach us, he brought his good friend Joyce with him. We did learn new words. First we went through and learned how to sign some cities, such as Bloomington, Champaign, Springfield, Peoria, Normal, Chicago, and St. Louis. Then we learned a bunch of words related to Halloween. That was pretty cool. Steve and Joyce were throwing so many words at us that I couldn't write fast enough to capture what I had to do to actually do the signs. I love sign language because I get to move my body to add that extra level of memory to the signs, but if I don't have it written down to study, I will forget it. At break time I told them that they were going way too fast for me. Thankfully after the break they slowed down enough for me to take my notes.

This is the first time that I've ever actually watched two deaf people sign. I've seen interpreters signing with deaf people, but there's a whole new level of signing speed when two deaf people sign. They would both be signing to each other at the same time, and I couldn't follow either one of them. I've often wondered how deaf people can communicate with each other easily, because signing is so much slower than talking, but it's really just that my singing is so much slower than talking. They were both even fingerspelling some things as fast as I can say the whole word, it was awesome.

It just goes to show, that even though I have learned a lot of words, I've got a long way to go in being able to communicate efficiently with deaf people.