Here is where it all began…
In middle school, each student would receive an agenda for the year to help keep you organized and on top of school work (side note: this must have been where my agenda obsession began). Step one of my receiving an agenda was to flip through and see all that it had to offer! Monthly calendars, weekly spreads, a place to put your name, plastic pockets for loose papers, the works! However, these agendas also had an additional component that was unique. At the back of the agenda, tucked amongst pages of other seemingly random information, was the alphabet. However, not just any alphabet, but the alphabet, represented pictorially, in American Sign Language (ASL). From that agenda, I learned to sign my name which, in turn, sparked a desire to learn this beautiful language of movement.
So, fast forward to “x” number of years later and here we are! For my semester-long learning project, I am taking on the challenge of learning American Sign Language (ASL). It has been an interest of mine for many years but unfortunately, I have never really had the time, or rather taken the time, to fully engage with the language and learn more! So thanks to this wonderful opportunity, I get to invest some of my time in developing what I would consider both a personal and professional skill.
So where do we begin? Well, in all honest truth, I can still sign my name, but that’s about it. The basic sentence I have is “Hello! My name is Kayci” (as seen in the video above). However, even with that, I still struggle to remember correct hand shapes and occasionally have to stop and process before I continue on. This is my starting point.
Looking ahead, I am going to try and learn this language like one would learn any new language. I plan to start with the basics: the alphabet, numbers, and simple questions. Then, once I have “mastered” a certain skill, I will build upon this with more complex skills such as combining simple signs into sentences and asking more complicated questions as the weeks progress. Each week I will be attempting to build upon the previous skill(s) learned, however, if I have not mastered the skill before, you may find some repeat. The goal for the end-point, meaning the end of the semester, is to be able to sign a developed “paragraph” of my personal background or maybe tell a story! However, overall, my personal goal is to be able to have fun and learn something new that may be useful in the future, whether it be for professional or personal reasons. Everyone deserves to have someone to talk to, even if you don’t “say” a word.
Next Week: Update on the alphabet, numbers, and basic questions.