Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sign Language Update

Sign language has taken a large chunk of my time recently. I am spending time practicing it. Tuesday nights are almost completely devoted to sign language. And I blog about it.

Class last week was great. We learned cold, warm and hot, then we learned warmer. It was followed by a 20 minute handwaving argument over whether or not we can say hotter. Since the teacher can't hear, whenever someone else wanted to speak they would start waving their arms and banging on the table to try and get his attention. I spent the entire conversation sitting back and laughing. The final conclusion, we can't say hotter because he's the teacher and he said so. The guess from the students is that Cold and Hot are the extremes, something can be warmer than something else, but if it's hot, that's like saying it's at it's max, nothing will be hotter or hottest, it will be warm, warmer, or hot. Similarly it will be cool, cooler, or cold. It may not be correct, but that's why we think it is the way that we learned.

Jonas has been given the book "The Joy of Signing" by one of his moms friends who interprets sign language. There's a few really cool things about this. First, I'm told Jonas loves to sit and flip through this book and practice the signs that are in it. Second, his mom has a good friend that can help Jonas with learning sign language if he continues to show interest in it. I'm really excited that Jonas has gotten so interested in sign language this far. I was worried that first night in class he may be bored, but it's been entirely the opposite. At home, Jonas will get our attention with a sign (he knows how to sign dad and Erin), then he'll wave his hands around or spell something and look at us expectantly, waiting for the interpretation as we act accordingly. Unfortunately his signs are too often, still not signs, but he's learning. I think the spelling games that I've played with him over the years are going to start helping him with sign language and reading all coming together, he'll get a good feel for the makeup of words.

Jonas is not alone in the sign language department in our family. Jaden has learned how to sign "more" and is very aware that using it gets him more of what he has. Ady doesn't use signs the same as Jonas, but I ask her how to do some of them that we've shown her. She has a good memory for the signs, but does not seem very interested in trying learn more of them. It's not that she complains when we show her new ones. She doesn't, and she learns them very fast, it's just that she doesn't ask us how to sign something, or make some random thing and ask what sign it is. It's just another example of the learning style differences that Ady and Jonas have.