I started to study sign language before I knew there was more than one. I learned the alphabet for British Sign Language when I was about ten. I still remember it, even though I never had a chance to use it. (There wasn’t much call for British Sign Language in Dublin. Besides, I didn’t know any D/deaf people.)
When I lived in America, I took classes in American Sign Language. By then I knew at least one (very small) deaf person. I loved the classes, but failed to make much progress.
Undaunted, I started studying Irish Sign Language when I came back to Ireland. Years later, I can just about say hello, but don’t ask me to interpret what other people are saying. People sign fast in the real world–way faster than in the classroom.
Still, I’m a great lover of sign. It’s a language of beauty and grace; of meaning made visible. I still hope to become fluent, but have years more study ahead of me. Meanwhile, I offer a little Christmas treat. Here is the choir of St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls (Dublin) performing Fix You by Coldplay.
Happy Christmas everyone!
3 thoughts on “Words in the Air”
That was such a moving concert! It brought tears to my eyes. The girls were all so angelic, swaying to the beat and vibrations of the music. I loved it! Thank-you.
Interesting that you learned how to sign and want to get better at it.
I love your words,”It’s a language of beauty and grace; of meaning made visible.”
When I was in college, I worked as a hostess in a restaurant. A group of deaf people came in and I felt sad because I couldn’t communicate with them. In my lifetime, I’ve often thought about learning.
I finished reading Rachel Stolzman’s book: The Sign for Drowning. It’s about a teacher of deaf children. You would love it!
Happy Christmas to you!
Hi Ellen, I know Rachel’s novel. Enjoyed it very much. Glad you enjoyed the clip. You should think about taking a class if you’re interested. It’s a great experience, even if it’s difficult to master.:)
Hi Aileen – I often wonder if we mouth-only communicators look awfully stuck and static to sign language users. Their language, or at least the one that they have developed themselves – rather than the spelling out words on your hand version – is beyond the best of mime, isn’t it?
I saw a fascinating article on Gay Signing, written by a Radio 4 interviewee. It’s here http://zoecormier.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/gay-signing/