Signing Saturday, Episode #3

signsat.jpg Back because I said so by popular demand, it’s another episode of Signing Saturday! (Filmed live before a studio audience.)

Let’s get started with some Deaf culture!

Let’s say you want to meet some Deaf folk. And why the hell wouldn’t you; they’re fantastic people!

When you’re introduced, the first question is going to be, “Are you Deaf or Hearing?” and then they’re going to want to know your life story, the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version. Deaf folk are rilly rilly big on sharing stories. What brought you to a Deaf event? Where did you go to school? Are you single or married? Do you have any kids? How old are you?

Which brings me to the next Deaf culture point. Deaf folk are BLUNT. They’re going to ask how old you are, if you’ve gained weight, if your significant other broke up with you, and they’re going to want an answer and be a little put off if you’re not forthcoming with the goods. In the Deaf community, everybody knows everybody’s bidness.

And get ready for some physical touch. Deaf folk are touchy. There’s more physical expression than Hearing people are used to; hugging, patting on the arms and shoulders, and tapping on the leg. Hearing people can sometimes be uncomfortable with how much you touch yourself when you’re signing. You’re just going to have to get over that, because you have to touch yourself a lot to sign properly.

Don’t stare at a conversation you’re not involved in. That’s the Deaf equivalent of eavesdropping.

The first time you go to a Deaf event, you might be surprised by how loud it is! Signing is noisy! When you’re signing, your hands make sound when they hit each other or other parts of you. Deaf conversations are punctuated by grunts and other sounds you won’t be used to. Someone else’s attention is attained by slapping on the table, or stomping on the floor, or really loud outbursts. Laughing can get very enthusiastic. It can be kind of overwhelming the first time.

Want to find Deaf events in your area? Google “Deaf [your town]” and see what pops up. If your local community college has an interpreter program, contact them to find out where the Deaf events are.

I’ve got more flashcards for you! I picked out what I think are really basic words that you need to carry on a conversation. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t start you out with colors and farm animals. I want you to be able to sign with Deaf adults right away, not a roomful of Deaf pre-schoolers.

You’ll find the ‘W’ question words in there; who, what, when, where, why, and how. Here’s a tip: when you ask a ‘w’ question, scrinch your eyebrows down. When you ask a yes/no question, arch your eyebrows. It’s like punctuation but with your face!

Download an eight page PDF for your flash cards here. Page one looks like this:


The most important thing is to print it double sided so you end up with the sign on one side and the answer on the other. Then you can use the flash cards with your signing buddy either way; one holding up sign side and other naming the sign, or one holding up the word side and other doing the sign. So you’re going to have to print this double sided. If your printer only does one side at a time, load only one page at a time so it doesn’t zip through them all one sided. Put one blank page in, let it print. Here’s the tricky part: when you flip the paper to the other side, flip it like you’re turning a book page, NOT like you’re turning a calendar page. So, load a blank page, print, flip (like a book not a calendar!), load, print; do this until you have printed four double-sided pages. Next, cut the pages. Here’s page one with cyan colored cut lines on it.

cut lines

So cut the page in half, in half again, etc. until you’ve got 16 flash cards from one page. Repeat for other three pages. You’ll end up with 64 flash cards total.

I’m going to be watching who’s downloading the PDFs, and don’t be surprised if those people end up getting an email with some naughty signs! Who’s the coolest signing teachah evah?!

I ran into a little snag. Rocky took my camera outside to take video of him and his friends skateboarding and DROPPED IT. So I have no way to make you video of the new signs. And no extra money whatsoever for another point and shoot. And my dSLR doesn’t have video, of course. I’m extremely bummed. Rocky better get a freakin’ ROCKIN’ band together and get big QUICK because Mister Man owes me a damn camera.

Alright, that will conclude the third episode of “Signing Saturday.” I’m taking suggestions for what signs you want to learn, as well as any ideas to make this more interactive.

If you really like it, take a badge and put it on your blog by copying and pasting the code in a widget or post.



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Want to know more signs but you can’t wait for the next episode? This is my favorite ASL site.

Want more about Deaf culture? Google Deaf Culture.

Rip it, roll it, and punch it, dude. Word. T’yaw mutha. In sign, of course.

3 thoughts on “Signing Saturday, Episode #3

  1. Interesting. “Don’t want” looks rather like “finish/done”. I sign that with the sign for want (drawing in, palms up) then throw out and away. Hard to do with static pics, though.

    “to do” — I do only with index and thumb fingers touching…

    “Have” ha ha ha, did you add those little pics in there to see if we were paying attention??

    I like the “please” with the clenched fist…?? 🙂

    “Why” starts more at temple then draws out and away to Y shape…

    Fun 🙂

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