Teenage Curiosity Sparked: Learning Sign Language Through Music

Categories: Language

My curiosity about sign language began as a teenager for me. I watched as my older cousin signed ever so gracefully to songs she managed to learn herself. Thinking back, I clearly remember how beautiful and unique I thought signing looked, and how I wanted to learn this language myself one day. In my second year in college, I finally took the act of signing up and taking an American Sign Language course. Throughout this paper, I will explain my experience with learning the many different hand gestures, fingerspelling, and facial expressions that are connected to this unfamiliar language.

Starting this class instantly brought my attention to the many gestures two hands are capable of making. I quickly learned there is a tremendous amount of memorization that is involved when it comes to learning American Sign Language. This leads me to where I experienced some struggles progressing along the way. My memory has never been the greatest, so as expected, trying to remember how to communicate properly with only hand movements has been quite difficult for me.

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American Sign Language involves various rules, like any other language. Due to my lack of understanding onofcan this particular subject, this allowed me to focus on the material being taught and motivated me to perfect the many mistakes I continuously made. Therefore, I made it a priority to get an ample amount of practice and be as knowledgeable as I possibly could.

I found fingerspelling to be quite intelligible in my personal experience because it only consists of twenty-six letters of the alphabet, that are held in certain positions, followed by certain movements.

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I often used fingerspelling when I did not know how to sign a certain place such as a city, town, or state. In addition, I have been taught to use fingerspelling for personal names as well. One important key I learned while taking this class is to make sure whatever is being spelled is clear and sharp. This way, whoever I happen to be signing to can understand what is being communicated to them. The only issue I recall having with learning how to fingerspell is being able to read it when someone else is signing to me. It has been a little overwhelming, mainly due to how fast-paced fingerspelling is. Eventually, I found it is easier to sound out letters being signed instead of saying them. This allows one to better address the word that is being said to them. This technique helped me immensely and I continue to express to others I know who are taking this course that it is ideal to use it as well.

Finally, as I reflect on how my experience has been when learning to use facial expressions while signing, I have to say I did quite well with mastering this portion of the class. I say this because I’m surprisingly good at expressing my emotions in general. Facial expressions play a significantly important role in American Sign Language. In comparison to talking to someone in person, it is ideal to express one’s emotions through the face. This allows the deaf community to better see how the other person is responding, whether they are upset, surprised, happy, or sad. They want the other person's face to look like what they are talking about, otherwise, it does not make any sense. I felt a little funny and embarrassed at first making these facial expressions with no words but once I began practicing in the mirror I realized it is not so bad after all.

To conclude, my experience in learning American Sign Language has been surprisingly quite interesting. I discovered new learning techniques that I never encountered upon taking this course. Above all, I found this experience to be a personal growth for me. Though I have struggled with learning this language I have overcome many of the obstacles that stood in my way. To become fluent in signing, I plan to continue taking additional courses shortly to advance my understanding of how this language is spoken. My ultimate goal is to reach a point so that I can communicate with patients who may be hard of hearing when I land my career as a registered nurse. In addition, I intend to inspire others along the way. With plenty of practice, patience, and time I know anything is possible in the event of achieving my goal!

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
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Teenage Curiosity Sparked: Learning Sign Language Through Music. (2022, Aug 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sign-language-2-essay

Teenage Curiosity Sparked: Learning Sign Language Through Music essay
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