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ASL classes finally started this semester! I could not be more excited. 🙂

I’m taking:

  • ASL Essentials
  • ASL 3
  • Intro to Fingerspelling

ASL Essentials is pretty much a hodgepodge of grammatical lessons from ASL 1-4. I’ve only had one class so far, and it involved a lot of facial expression drills, so that’s a taste of what I’m learning. Basically, our teacher is taking simple concepts from ASL and expanding on them, giving us more nuance and really pinning down meanings. Also, we get to make complete fools of ourselves by making incredibly exaggerated facial expressions. Part of the learning process, I guess!

ASL 3 is about what you’d expect. Just the next level on the path to fluency. We’ve started by going over how to describe floor plans. Apparently, this section is going to take quite some time, actually. We’ve had two classes of it thus far, and we may have two or three more after that, plus a presentation. Seems like a heck of a lot on one subject. My boyfriend was like, “When do people ever talk about floor plans?” I thought, sure, he had a point. The funny thing is, we went out with some friends the other day, and what did we talk about? Floor plans.

Intro to Fingerspelling is also what you’d expect. Lots of drills of letter combinations. First “ab, ab, ab,” then “at, at, at” and all other possible two-letter vowel/consonant combinations, and then you move onto “cab, cab, cab,” “cat, cat, cat,” and so on. It’s not so tedious if you do it while watching TV. We also have physical exercises to do before and after we start fingerspelling. They’re pretty important — I don’t want to get any repetitive stress injuries.

Overall, I’m really loving my classes, even when I’m doing basic exercises. It’s a safe environment where I can sign awkwardly, correct myself, and be fine. It’s much less embarrassing to participate in class than when I’m around native Deaf signers. When I’m at my meetups, I try to participate, but sometimes I just lapse into silence. Or whatever the ASL phrase for that would be. “Sometimes my hands just fall to my sides…” I’ll always respond to the things people are signing about, but usually by using facial expressions or very simple sentences. I’m thinking next Monday, though, I’m going to make it a point to tell at least one story.

Also, take a look at the awesome turtle art I used as my featured image. That’s the ASL sign for turtle!

1 Comment

  1. Very cool to hear about these classes, and what to expect beyond my current ASL1a. We are practicing fingerspelling words in our environment, and I recently noticed how easily some letter combinations elide. I started practicing two- and three-letter combinations, and spelling longer words three letters at a time. How cool to read here about fingerspell drills—I didn’t yet know they existed.
    I look forward to reading about your further adventures. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

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