Last night I knocked out another item on my 30 Before 30 List by attending my first American Sign Language (ASL) class. That’s right. I said, “American.”
ASL Fun Fact #1 (Excuse me while I act like Ted Mosby at the Empire State Building): Every country uses different sign language. Except for Canada. They use ASL. Thank you, Canada, for making my life a little easier.
The first hour of class our instructor had an interpreter, but the last hour and a half, we were on our own to communicate.
I immediately started waving my hands around to act like I already knew some sign language.
Not really. I sat there afraid to move because I didn’t want anyone to think I knew what I was doing.
Ever since I remembered that my class was on Monday (I remembered on Sunday), I was scared. I took Latin in school, and I rocked it.
I rocked Latin because:
- We also learned a lot about mythology and the culture from that time. I love that stuff. If my parents would have paid for me to major in Greek and Roman mythology, I would have.
- I didn’t have to speak it. I was shy and preferred not talking.
- The language was written and writing things repetitvely is one of the best ways I learn.
How was going to write ASL? I can’t even draw a stick figure! How am I supposed to draw hand signs and movements? I’m going to fail!
Calm down, I told myself. You have an English degree. Although the English language is a little weird, you ‘ll do fine because you know all the parts of a sentence and know the difference between passive and active voice.
And then I learned these fun facts about ASL:
- Facial expressions relay the grammar of a sentence. For example, raising or lowering my eyebrows indicates the subject. Sometimes my eyebrows have a mind of their own. What if one goes up while the other goes down?
- You determine the tense by how far away your hands are from your body. For future tense should my hands be 8 inches or 2 feet away from my body? What if I’m feeling lazy one day and don’t stretch my arms out far enough?
- And the signs for bathroom and Tuesday are almost identical! I already see my future on this one. I’ll want to meet the teacher for tutoring on Tuesday and I say, “I’ll meet you in the bathroom.”
And then she’ll fail me.