Good afternoon everyone!
So here is my first update for my #learningproject where I have committed to learning American Sign Language (ASL). In my first post, I mentioned that I planned on learning ASL in a similar way that children would learn to speak English (in my experience). In order to construct a tall building, we need a solid foundation and so I began with the basics: the alphabet and numbers 1-20.
The alphabet was first and I was very excited to refresh my memory on the letters that I had learned long ago (ah the good old days of middle school!). Honestly, it was less of a refresh and more of a re-learning. The only letters that I remembered were those that spelled my name and that wasn’t going to get me very far. I was able to find many valuable tutorials on YouTube all of which were useful, however, I chose one titled “ASL Alphabet Lesson and Slow Alphabet Song” posted by My Smart Hands. I found that this young lady did an excellent job at slowly going through each move and providing little tips and hints along the way to help learners like myself get the signs just right! She was very easy to follow and I was able to pick it up right away! One difficulty I had while learning the alphabet was knowing exactly how to place my hands for each sign. Certain signs, for example, the sign for the letter “G” would occasionally throw me off because I would misplace my thumb. With some practice, I am able to get it right but in addition to knowing the sign itself, I will mention that it is tiring on the hand muscles! I never thought about having to “workout” one’s hand but for ASL you sure do! I have now discovered that there are muscles in my hand that I never knew about! After a while, it does get better!
For learning my numbers, I chose to stick with the same channel that I used for the alphabet. Now, in full honesty, I thought learning the numbers was going to be a breeze! I mean, how many times have I counted on my fingers since I was little (and I still occasionally have to use my fingers to do math, try not to judge me too harshly, haha)? By golly was I wrong! Signing the numbers is not the same as the typical counting we do! There are certain ways that you need to position your hands and you do not use both hands to sign, you instead use your dominant hand only! Once I watched the videos and signed along with my teacher, I was able to get the hang of things and made it all the way from 1-20. I chose not to go farther than that for now, but there may be more numbers in the future. If you would like to begin learning how to sign numbers as well, please check out the video linked below and check out the channel “My Smart Hands” for more great lessons!
“ASL Numbers 1-10” – My Smart Hands
Next Week: Colours and Days of the Week.