Hi there! I’ve decided to capture some important ideas that I feel will benefit you all.
I’ll be sharing various tips, free videos from online and fun updates with Ziggy, my hearing service dog in training.
First of all, for those who want to interact with Deaf children or teaching a hearing infant/toddler sign language, follow this lady’s example of storytelling in ASL:
For advanced ASL students who wants to watch a different Deaf signer – watch:
Here’s another hard-core ASL male signer – it has open caption – try to cover it for the first few times just to see how much you can grasp. Then watch it with captions if you want or feel the need to. Then after a few days, watch it again without it.
As always, it’s great to learn by mimicking the signer – no need to capture every single sign, but feel the native movements being practiced in your muscles.
HOW ASL SHOULD FEEL IN YOUR BODY
This is something that majority of ASL teachers rarely ever think or talk about from my years of observation – how does a fluent ASL signer body feels? Let’s first talk about how non-fluent signers’ body tend to behave:
Non-fluent signers’ bodies feel:
1) Emotionally tensed, afraid or defensive
2) Muscles are tensed in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers – nearly clenching in each sign.
3) Habitual holding of breath
4) Mentally fatigued, bored, or the mind wanders off in the middle of a signed conversation or thinking in the past or thinking ahead in what to sign next
Fluent signers’ bodies feel:
1) Emotionally calm
2) Muscles relaxed: neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, fingers are all relaxed
3) Breathe evenly when signing or watching signs
4) Curious, mentally alert, and in the present
Everyday check how your body feels and gradually release each habit that you want to rid of. Eliminating any form of stress will greatly improve your learning journey.
American Sign Language (ASL) Classifiers:
What is ASL Classifier? It’s hand shapes that describes a person, place, or thing (nouns). Mastering ASL Classifiers will save you time, energy, and have people stay interested in your ASL stories that are a lot more fun to watch.
One really has to study other native signers to get all the tiny gist of details that makes stories captivating. I realized that it’s good for advanced students but what about novice, intermediate level students? How does one string complicated action-oriented stories into ASL?
Pay attention to what physically is used to use ASL Classifiers in ASL conversations, stories, poetry, etc.
ASL Classifier uses:
mime (also called ‘body classifier’)
ASL classifiers for far away scenes use the fingers.
If fingers cannot describe what you want to explain in details, you use the hands and if you want to emphasize minute details, you can use your arms.
The trick is knowing when to use the up close scene, moderately up-close scene, or far-away scene.
Study movies in how they capture scenes in films to capture audience’s attention.
A fun clip to watch is Ace Ventura – a scene from a mental hospital… see how they film the characters up close, far away…. Replay this clip over and over and see how much you can sign ONLY in ASL classifiers (no conversations, just pure ASL classifiers only). If you’d like, send me your video results and we can talk about it in our next meet.
Remember describe the environment first, then the people’s actions And then lastly whatever they’re talking about. I made an acronym E.A.T.
Action – A
Talk – T
In ASL, it’s a visual language and realize that without the “stage” to support the props, backstage scenic canvas (of whatever environment they’re showing) --- the story is half-missing. So, become a director and designer at the same time --- and then become the actors. Here is where you’ll need to stretch your creative imagination and think, act, feel, be 3-D. Build a foundation, per se, and then your audience has an idea in their mental movie of what the place or people or things look like.
For beginners and intermediate levels – start small with short descriptions until you’re fluent and then work your way up to longer descriptions.
In my next blog, I will share more tips in improving emoting to convey obvious and not so obvious emotions that can eliminate a lot of unnecessary signs to save you time and energy. Emoting makes your story telling fascinating to watch.
Fun Tid-bits about Ziggy:
As most of you know, but for those who don’t, 2 months ago I adopted a rescued dog named Ziggy who is 3 years old who is a mixed breed of poodle and wire terrier. I am dedicating a year of my life to bond and train him basic commands so he can pass the Canine Good Citizen test. All service and therapy dogs must learn these skills prior training full time in hearing dog or therapy dog skills. For the next 8 weeks I will train Ziggy how to sit, stay, wait, stand, get down, come here, lay down, settle down, go under (table, chair), alert me, sit between my legs, etc. He has anxiety issues in new places as he’s been quite sheltered and neglected from the past 2 families who never taught him anything at all. He is getting better everyday as we bond more. Last week, however, as I got my new car, Ziggy accidentally punched me in the nose as he wasn’t sure to wait inside the car before I could pick him up. I laughed as I never realize a small dog could really hurt people! Ziggy and I now go to dog parks few times a week and he loves to run with other small dogs. Last night however, I learned a powerful lesson with nature – never to go late at night as he encountered a large rattlesnake! It’s day time only from now on. I look forward to when the next 8 weeks he fine-tune his skills and I mine as I must consistently form good habits to ensure he’s on the right track. The more time I spend with Ziggy, the more I fall in love with him and his cuteness.
Someday when I have time, I will put up little video clips in YouTube to show his skills. J So, that’s about it with Ziggy news.
One last thing, Ziggy made this picture frame (see at top) for his grandma (my mother’s birthday this month). We hope she likes it! The top says “I love grandma” --- on the back has his paw print “signature”. Then he literally sealed it with his kiss-licks. ;)
Until next time, have a safe, happy, cool rest of the summer.