Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ASL class starting and Christmas vacation stuff

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I am getting excited because my ASL class is starting up again in like 3 weeks. I swear I will post a vlog before the level 1 class ends in June. I am on vacation until the middle of January, so I will probably catch up on reading vlogs. My oldest daughter really loves the way ABC tells stories and jokes.

Cheers everyone!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The use of AND and OR in ASL?

Can someone help me out with a curiosity I have please? My ASL class has been going now for about 4 weeks and I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I don't understand the use of AND and OR in ASL (or if they are omitted).

Are they used, or is the meaning conveyed otherwise using non-manual markers or different syntax? For example, in English I would say something like "Would you like coffee, soda, or tea?". In ASL would I sign somthing like "You want coffee soda tea which?".

Can any native signers tell me how you would phrase this in sign please?

I appreciate any help!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

ASL class started tonight!

I was really happy to see so many people in the class tonight--I think 16 total. Teacher seems very nice, with a good sense of humor. My penchant for learning ASL over the past couple months made tonight basically one big review, but I am very sure I will be much more challenged in the coming weeks. I was happy to see that she incorporated signs that were not in the text and then found ways to explain them--after all, this is what a class is all about.

So fun, so exciting! Cheers!

Monday, August 6, 2007

ASL and SEE - a continuum?

In the past couple months, I have been watching an increasing number of vlogs with variable hit rate on comprehension. At the same time I am studying a couple books, one which delves heavily into ASL syntax.

One thing I notice is that there SEEMS to be quite a bit of acceptable syntax variability between signers. Do signers all fall somewhere on a continuum between ASL and SEE? Or is there a certain amount of variability between ASL signers and a huge chasm between ASL and SEE? (i.e. two distinct groups with variability within themselves only)

Maybe an example. Seek Geo's Hell's Kitchen recaps seem to me to be in a somewhat English word-order. Do I just notice this because he captions his vlogs and my high comprehension of his ASL then seems to come more easily/naturally to me?

I'm really confused here. Can't wait for my ASL class to start in 5 weeks!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Could air travel be any less HoH friendly??

I had to travel coast-to-coast yesterday returning from a very short-duration trip. For this reason my packing was extremely light and not well-thought-out. When I first arrived at the airport, one of my ear batteries died...doh. Oh please please please don't let the other one die. I checked all the stores in the terminal, and of course they don't carry ear batteries.

Of course, security cannot be bothered to have any written instructions posted anywhere. Do they want your shoes on or off this week? The people calling out boarding instructions couldn't be more unintelligible as they scream into the microphone they are presumably trying to eat (why else would they cram it against their mouth?). When exactly are crucial places like airports going to become more friendly to those of us who cannot hear?

I won't be forgetting spare batteries for future air travel, that much is certain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why can't captions look pretty?

I use captions for TV and home movies. That being said, I was truly shocked the first time I watched a DVD on my Mac--the captions were utterly beautiful. Nice, anti-aliased font, partially transparent font background, and all of this is customizable!

Technology is sufficiently advanced at this point that there is really no reason not to expect pretty captions, but why isn't it the norm? Is it greedy to expect pretty captions when they are so obviously possible? Surely a company today pitching a 255-color computer would be laughed out of the market, so why is my state-of-the-art, big screen HDTV showing me such crude captions? Think of how much time and effort are put into making things aesthetically pleasing these days--why not captions?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What does equal communication access mean to ME?

I think it's a very hard question to answer. I believe Deaf, deaf, and HoH must make a united stand on this issue to ensure that we ALL get equal communication access, but I know the access needs differ for each of those groups. The hearing population is obviously by and large ignorant of our needs, so I believe a united front gives us the best chance to making progress for ourselves.

From a HoH standpoint, I am not yet fluent in ASL, so my needs focus more on the ability to read or otherwise understand spoken language. For this reason, I find captions, email, IM, etc are useful tools while interpreters are completely worthless to me. Being aware that there are differing needs in the larger group, though, I personally would rather help further the cause for all involved subgroups rather than just those that help me.

Clearly another issue we face is the huge population of deaf and HoH people who have no idea the Deaf world even exists. I fit into this category just a short time ago. The more general awareness we gain, the more chance we have in presenting a united front. I believe infighting and fragmentation of the larger group will end in less access for all of us, and the general appearance that we simply cannot decide what we want. Like it or not, I believe the hearing world sees Deaf, deaf, and HoH as a single group.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ASL progress!

I am loving watching vlogs. Favorites so far: pickled-relish, SeekGeo, and ABC. I definitely feel progress in how many signs I am able to catch, which is very encouraging. We bought a video camera to film our baby, so maybe I will post a vlog introducing myself in the next month or so--still very shaky on ASL word order so I will work on that a bit more before even attempting a vlog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Caption frustrations at work

So my company, who shall remain nameless, rolled out a mandatory training video about respect in the workplace, discrimination, and harassment. The video had no captions, and no DVD with captions was available to borrow. I asked for a transcript and was told one was not available.

I watched the video at my desk, which must have annoyed my coworkers (high volume), and then sent another email to my HR people chastising them for presenting a video that dealt with discrimination against protected classes of people that was entirely inaccessible to hearing impaired (yes, I intentionally used this term in my email even though I find it mildly offensive). Gee, I'm glad we don't employ anyone who is more deaf than I...

Yet another example of Deaf issues being ignored by a company large enough to know better.

ASL class!!

After searching every local college and university, I found a local Deaf organization that offers very reasonably priced ASL classes. Hopefully it fits into my fall schedule.

I am really enjoying watching peoples' vlogs. Between Signing Naturally, Lifeprint, and ASL Pro dictionary I feel like I am actually "getting" much more over the last month. I am still amazed at how fast Deaf fingerspell--usually by the time I realize they are fingerspelling, the word is complete and I have missed it entirely. Ouch.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Random curiosities

I use captions on TV/cable for basically everything because my speech discrimination isn't all that great at normal volumes, so I know how invaluable they are. I also wish there were more open-captioned movies in theaters. But, having recently learned that some portion of the Deaf community isn't completely fluent in English, I have to wonder how beneficial the captions are to them. Are captions basically for HoH and bilingual Deaf??

I also was wondering, if you are driving, is it possible to have a meaningful conversation in ASL with the passenger?

Monday, June 4, 2007

A new hearie in the Deaf world

So I have been toying around with learning ASL for quite some time now. I tend to be a very busy guy, so I make sure I am fully interested in something before I commit--doing something half-ass is not my style.

I was born with hearing loss that has progressed more rapidly than I would have liked. I have had hearing aids for 8 years now and they are a tremendous help. I started with CICs and then moved to ITE because I needed more power. Without them I surely would be have to be more fluent in ASL, or else I would be really non-functional and isolated. I have been researching the Deaf community lately and am really astounded how much I never knew about. I honestly thought ASL was just English words in sign form using English grammar. I think this misconception is really widespread among hearies, and probably furthers false stereotypes that deafies aren't particularly intelligent (since they can't even write proper English). Can't be any dumber than the average American who isn't fluent in more than just English!

It does kind of suck to be stuck in between the two worlds, too. I love to watch ASL vlogs, but cannot understand them because they aren't captioned. And I don't know anyone who is fluent in ASL, so I am going to have to be very committed to learning until I meet some. I bought Signing Naturally with the DVD because I am finding it difficult to make out what some of the signs should look like using a couple frames of pictures. Anxiously awaiting its arrival in a couple more days!

Cheers to all. I looks forward to learning more over the coming weeks, months, and years. Hope I find some people to talk to, and maybe will find the courage sometime soon to post my first vlog.