and it's actually american sign language

anonymous asked:

I love this blog. It is everything I have been looking for. However I have reached the post that says "21 pages" and am giving up. Just consider, aliens with minimal body language or some telepathy being perplexed but sign language. "Sure, maybe with your lack of thought share it is a way to communicate without making your presence known, but why do some humans use it as primary? There is nothing wrong with speach

But! The cool thing about American Sign Language (the one I know most about, albeit still very little) is that it’s an actual language unto itself, not just a mimed version of English! It has its own grammar, and is a “complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body.” And ASL is distinct from other sign languages–British Sign Language is not the same and (from my knowledge) is not mutually intelligible to ASL-speakers [signers?] and vice-versa, even though British English and American English are.

What I think is more likely would be aliens having the same confusion a lot of humans have: not understanding ASL/other sign languages as a separate language and not understanding the importance of gesture, facial expression, and other body language in the language itself (rather than as a sort-of secondary way to emphasize/modify spoken language).

Edit:// As some have pointed out, ASL is related to/descended from French Sign Language, although they’re not the same language. I meant to explain that the different sign languages are not all the same and not all mutually intelligible–there is no one worldwide sign language, just as there is no one worldwide spoken language.

lampintheheadlights-deactivated  asked:

hi so im writing a non verbal autistic character, and im planning to have her special interest be learning different sign languages. im just wondering if this would be realistic, and would love any insight and tips you can give me

Learning sign languages can definitely be a special interest. It’s certainly one of mine. I became fluent in Czech Sign Language in less than a year because I was so motivated and focused. I went to two different teachers, both of them deaf and native signers, and there was no speaking during the lessons at all, so there’s no reason a nonverbal person couldn’t learn just as quickly as long as they were able to control their hands and face.

I have learned bits and pieces of International and American sign languages as well, but they didn’t draw me in the same way. Czech sign language is based on spoken Czech, which has far fewer words than English, and therefore there is a specific sign for almost every word in the language, including names. In ASL, half the words end up being finger-spelled, which I absolutely HATE. It requires a different skill to parse American finger spelling, especially at the high speeds native signers use. Czech finger spelling is rarely needed, usually goes relatively slowly, and the letters use both hands so that they actually look like letters and are easy to parse. Also, letters aside, Czech can be signed entirely one-handed (as long as everyone involved in the conversation is fluent enough to understand without the supporting hand - the chest or a leg can be used in its place), whereas ASL seems to require both hands and more of the body to be used in most cases. ISL is not even a proper language, just a system for people who don’t use the same sign language to communicate essentials, and it’s extremely basic and unable to communicate anything subtle.

I once found myself in a situation where a German deaf woman came to visit and I was out with a group of deaf friends for a drink, and I was unable to communicate with her without someone interpreting because she used ISL, but I just can’t bring myself to learn it. I find it aesthetically unpleasing and annoying.

There are also many dialects of each sign language. Depending on where someone lives or grew up or went to school, they will sign a bit differently. Even in the Czech Republic, a very small country, people sign very differently from region to region. I live in Prague and have trouble understanding a deaf person from Brno, for example. They have different signs for colors, months, and many other words. And there are three schools for “hearing impaired” students in Prague - and at each of them, there are many slang signs that only students of that school know and use. And each generation adds more!

One of my teachers was about 40, and the other about 30, and they taught me very different things. I would use something the younger one taught me with the older one and he would rant about how his language was deteriorating; I would use something the older one taught me with the younger one and he would laugh at how old-fashioned I looked. Sign languages evolve even more quickly than spoken ones, so generational gaps are important to recognize.

So there are a lot of factors for you to consider with your character. Every sign language has its own grammar, style, and quirks, and she may like some and not others. She may simply learn as many as she can, but have preferences. She may even invent her own for fun, and maybe try to teach it to others. I recommend learning at least the basics of a few sign languages before trying to write about them, or at least talk to some deaf people who use different languages, as they are really very, very different.

Another important factor that most non-signing people aren’t aware of is that most sign languages do not just use your hands. Some use more of your body, and most include the face. Facial expressions and mouthed words form a part of the meaning of each sign. For example, in Czech Sign Language, the eyebrows indicate whether something is a statement or a question, and the signs for “don’t know” and “plastic” are the same - the only difference is the accompanying mouth movement. This happens with many, many signs. So if your nonverbal character has trouble moving her lips or forming words, she might struggle with this aspect. It is possible for native signers to understand sign languages without these mouth movements, but it is more difficult and fewer people will understand her.

There are some nonverbal people who can’t sign for various reasons. They might lack the control of their body to do it effectively, or they might be unable to process language at all (I can’t sign when I go nonverbal due to stress or overload). But some people can and do use sign language, so it is realistic for your character.

Finally, thanks for your ask which touches on one of my special interests and brightened my morning! :D

Good luck and happy writing!

-Mod Aira


Star Trek + Languages

I have decided to cosplay Shouko the deaf character from Koe no Karachi (a Silent Voice) for an upcoming small anime convention this fall.

 I am so determined to make a simple costume with a small budget this time. Not just that, but I never pretend to be deaf because I am actually deaf and grew up with American Sign Langauge. Deaf characters as lead are very limited in media. Especially in comics and cartoons with any sign language. I am so happy for mute characters who only communicate via writing and texting like Celty from Durarara. I was filled with so much joy when I first saw Celty trying to communicate. I almost fell off a couch during the first episode. That’s why representation is important. I almost finished reading Koe no Katachi and looking forward to watching its movie with subs that just released last month.

Cosplay representation matters!!!

Originally posted by kaoris

So, you want to know more about sign languages?

Wait, what? Sign languageS? I thought there was only one, universal sign language!

Nope! There are many different sign languages - usually every country with a deaf community has its own sign languages, sometimes even more than one.

Okay, so how many sign languages are there?

No, seriously, not even linguists know exactly how many sign languages exist. The estimation is that there are approximately 300 sign languages.  

In some countries, different signs are used in cities and in rural areas - but we don’t know if they are just dialects/variations of one language or two different sign languages. Some countries share one sign language. New sign languages emerge quite frequently (and some are dying out.)

But hey, linguists don’t know exactly how many spoken languages are there either. ;)

Why don’t you just create an universal sign language? Wouldn’t it be easier?

Why don’t you create an universal spoken language, hm? But we actually did create an universal sign language - it’s called International Signs! However, it’s not really a sign language, since it’s man-made, it’s just a comunication system. It’s mainly used during international meetings, conferences, etc. 

But majority of deaf people don’t know it - usually only those who often travel abroad do.

So, you said that every country has its own sign language - are they based on spoken language? 

Nope! Sign languages are very diffent from spoken languages. They have their own grammar, rules and idioms.

Also, they don’t follow the same “borders”, so to speak. English speaking countries, for example, don’t share one sign language - USA has American Sign Language/ASL, UK has British Sign Language/BSL, Australia has AUSLAN, etc. And those sign languages are very different… ASL is more similar to French Sign language than to BSL! 

What about fingerspelling/manual alphabet, that’s the same everywhere, right?

Wrong again! Actually, every country has it’s own sign language alphabet. Some are for one hand, some are for two hands. They really look different, so don’t count on using fingerspelling when you meet someone from a different country.

Some examples: 

(ASL, BSL, Czech Sign Language)

Also, don’t forget that lot of countries don’t use latin alphabet. For example China. Then the fingerspelling looks completely differently or doesn’t exist at all. :) 

Do sign languages have a written form? 

No, they don’t. But it’s not that rare - lot of spoken languages don’t have a written form either.

There are some notation system used for writing the signs down - for example Stokoe notation. They are mainly used by linguists or in dictionaries. Mostly because they are complicated, not easy to learn and use and it takes a lot of time to write one sign.

There is also SignWriting, which is probably the most well known system for writing in sign language. 

There is also ASLwrite, used for ASL.

Honestly, there are numerous systems to write signs down, but not one is widely used and nobody can agree on which system is the best. They are definitely not used on everyday basis by deaf people (with some exceptions).

Deaf people usually use written form of spoken language of their country for written communication.

(Stokoe notation/SignWriting)

How do you know all this?

Well, I am Hard of Hearing. But mostly I know this stuff because I study sign language linguistics at university. I can still be wrong, though, so if you don’t agree with something written in this post, send me an ask and we can discuss it. :)

If you have any more questions, please send me (slecnaztemnot) an ask, and I will do my best to answer it! :)

"Are you wearing your hearing aids?!"

This question I get maybe… 5 times a day from every person I can think of when I am around them for more than a few hours. Communicating with them in a noisy environment then coming straight to a quiet area or just in general.

Imagine wearing a bra all day, it can get annoying am I right? So what do you do right before you go to bed? Take it off. Now, don’t you feel lighter? Little breezy for letting them free… but it feels good right? Or having a long day in tight/uncomfortable shoes, running around from one place to the next feet aching. But once you get home you take those shoes off, your feet feel so relieved that “Aah I can finally stretch my toes and let them breathe!”

This is an idea on how it feels when one wears hearing aids all day or most of the day. Its itchy, bothersome, uncomfortable. Some situations or areas get too loud, loud to the point where we cannot hear anything or its too loud it overwhelms us. 

Even though one have hearing aids it doesn’t mean they are “magical cures to restore hearing to make us Hearing” No. Hearing aids amplify sound… sometimes to really uncomfortable levels in certain situations. Even with hearing aids we may have issues understanding someone. Especially understanding someone in noisy environment.

This is why we still need accommodations. Now I assume you are asking “What accommodations? You have hearing aids, you should hear fine!” Wrong. So wrong. I still cannot hear you with my hearing aids. I still need you to face me when speaking, talk slowly and clearly so I can read your lips. Since I do lip read its best to have facial hair, hands, food, away from your face/mouth area, make sure you are not chewing anything while talking. Facial and body language is crucial for understanding someone. While watching tv, video we still need Closed Captions to understand what is being said and the volume to be slightly louder. Also, Sign Language. Even though one may wear hearing aids, sign language can be VERY beneficial. I personally use ASL more than I do actual listening. I get tired very easily when lipreading all I use ASL because its less (a  lot less) straining on the eyes ears and brain. 

We can’t just wear our hearing aids all day everyday. We need breaks. So when we take them out its not because we are wanting to ignore you (even though this may actually happen … occasionally) it’s because we are needing a break. We need our ears to BREATHE! To have silence for just a few minutes. So no, we aren’t being rude we just need a little peace and quiet. 

Autistic Jane Foster explaining to Thor about infodumping in a way that ends up…a bit like infodumping actually

Thor realising he enjoys doing this too and enthusiastically telling Jane about his interests

Jane needing quiet time sometimes so Thor learns American sign language (its different in Asgard) so she can still communicate what she needs and finding it very helpful himself

Thor stimming with mjolnir and accidentally breaking a few things in Jane’s house, after which he profusely apologises and pays for all of them, Jane, after the inital shock and worry, is quite happy when she realises he;s copying some of her own stims

Autistic Darcy and Jane teaching Thor about the social codes they’ve had to learn and encouraging him to still speak as he wants while being aware of how not to hurt people’s feelings, Autistic Darcy explains she had therapy as a kid to try and make her ‘normal’ and it took her a long time to realises she was allowed to be a bit odd and matter of fact in her way of speaking

Autistic Jane slowly and carefully helping Thor figure out that he’s autistic too, worried how he’d react, only to have him boom that they have even more in common than he thought and he is proud to share her neurodivergence! (he likes that word)

Cochlear Implants
  • Teacher Me: Wow! Cochlear Implant technology is so amazing!
  • Wife of a Deaf Man Me: Yeah, technology is cool and all but it's a rather invasive surgery.
  • TM: But don't forget that 90% of deaf babies are born to hearing parents. These parents just want to be able to talk with their children.
  • WDMM: But what about American Sign Language? All the parents have to do is learn ASL and they can talk to their child anytime they want. No surgery needed.
  • TM: ASL is great and all but how many of the parents you met have actually learned ASL?
  • WDMM: Not many.
  • TM: Exactly. With a Cochlear Implant, kids can hear and talk with their hearing families.
  • WDMM: The CI doesn't always work. Actually, it only just reached more than 50% success rate.
  • TM: At least it's on the higher end for success now.
  • WDMM: CI's aren't attached to a culture though. There is no identity. The kids become stuck in a limbo between the hearing world and the Deaf world.
  • TM: The kids who are successful go on to lead very normal lives.
  • WDMM: What is normal anyways?
  • TM: Hearing is normal.
  • WDMM: Your husband would disagree. He's Deaf.
  • TM: Are you saying you married someone disabled?
  • WDMM: He can do anything he wants to do.
  • TM: Except hear. With a CI, he could do everything including hear.
  • WDMM: He doesn't want it. He has ASL. He has friends and people who love him. Including me. So, shut up, you!