I just moved to New Jersey two days ago - due to the high cost of rent in Colorado (apt rental is the 3rd highest in the nation!) --- there was just no way I could keep it up anymore. Now I'm currently living with my hearing mother, Giovanna Dazzi, who kindly let me move in back with her. I miss my family and I hope we'll enjoy our company together now that I am back in NJ.
This week, I hope to get stabilized soon as I'm dealing with a silly chest cold - coughing, sore throat, ear aches - the whole shebang. Obviously, the insane stress of suddenly having to pack, downsize, clean the apartment, tie up loose ends and move (fly red-eye on two different planes is NOT fun) in 2 1/2 weeks took a huge toll on my body with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My older brother, Peter Bellanca, kindly got me an airfare and will fly to CO to pick up my packed car and drive it back to NJ. I'll pay back every penny I owe him (and a little extra) for all the trouble he went through.
My other goal is that I hope to meet new local Deaf and hearing fluent-in-ASL - I plan on providing a once a month ASL Coffee social at Starbucks in Sea Girt, NJ. But first, I will need a few months to get settled in.
ALERT: Due to working more hours for Convo Relay - I may have to reduce my hours with my private ASL students as with thyroiditis & FMS- I can only physically and mentally handle so many work hours per week.
Today's ASL topic I wanted to cover was to recognize a pattern in our ASL conversations. I'm hoping that by presenting a different angle will give you some insight in what to expect when learning to become fluent in ASL.
In observing certain Deaf friends' signed conversations with their partners/spouse and children, friends or family - I noticed there was a usual pattern.
Basically, it's pretty much goes like this:
13. Affirmative Declarative
15. Negative Declarative
16. Neutral Statement
18. Conditional (if, suppose word)
Now here's an ASL dialog copying this pattern of types of sentences I used above:
1. Hi. Your name what?
2. My name RaVen, your name what?
3. My name Ziggy. What are we doing now?
4. Hi Ziggy - please sit down.
5. Why do I need to sit down?
6. Because I need to teach you new ASL vocabulary.
7. I wonder if I can learn ASL if I stand up?
8. Please pay attention now - this sign means "toy".
9. Yes, it's a purple stuffed toy and I love it.
10. Yes, the new toy is a purple stuffed smiling dog given to you by your aunt.
11. How do you spell my aunt's name again?
12. Your aunt's name is V-E-R-A, Vera.
13. Right, she gave it to me few days ago.
14. Did you get to thank her?
15. No, not yet, but I will write her a thank you note!
16. Good plan.
17. Do you have note paper and pen?
18. If my brother brings my car over with all of my belongings in it, then I will get my paper and pen.
19. Remember when Vera drove us to the airport, happen that a mail delivery truck had a sign on its back door saying "New Jersey"?
20. Yes, it was a weird coincidence.
This isn't the greatest dialog, mind you. However, I wanted to show you from one angle, the grammatical view of what a basic dialog would look like and then another angle of a typed out dialog (in English format - would need to translate it in ASL when you sign it of course)...
So, this should give you a little glimpse of what to expect when a Deaf or a fluent ASL signer is trying to converse with you. Expect that they're going to use any of these common sentence types. Learn to predict with awareness --- that there are common patterns when conversing with signers.
It would be not normal if a person would constantly be asking you questions - one after another - unless it was like from a detective or a reporter. Or it wouldn't be normal if a person kept stating information unless it was a lecture. Or it wouldn't be normal if a person kept giving commands all the time, unless it was some military commander or a police officer or any authoritative figure spewing commands. Use your common sense and make honest educated guess. At the same time, don't think too hard and yet don't blank-out either. (or what I like to call "the-deer-in-the-headlight-syndrome").
Notice gestures - if a Deaf person points something out and smiles and mentions something -- it's usually a statement about that particular place/person/thing.
If a Deaf person or an ASL signer - uses their eyebrows and looks at you expectantly - it's usually a question.
Everything in life has a pattern -- learn to recognize them and soon everything will gel.
Have a great spring season everyone!