Learning American Sign Language (ASL)
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: tiffanyflr-ga
List Price: $10.00
23 Feb 2003 17:59 PST
Expires: 25 Mar 2003 17:59 PST
Question ID: 166177
My partner and I are very interested in learning American Sign Language (ASL); however, I am unsure of the most effective way to go about doing so. I've done some research on the Internet and there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there - there are many books on the subject, for example, but quite a few educators state ASL cannot be effectively learned from a book since it is a visual language. In addition to the written material, there are advertisements for videos, community college classes, online courses, library resources, tutors, etc. The choices just boggle the mind. I would like some direction on the best way to learn ASL; our goal is to eventually become interpreters at our church and to better be able to communicate with our friends there who are deaf. Plus, it is just so beautiful to look at! Neither of us have any previous knowledge except for knowing a few random signs. As far as the method, we want to know the most effective way without any constraints, but our eventual choice of education would most likely be influenced by the following: my time is very limited, as I work full-time and go to school, so an onsite class at a set time might not be possible. We know people at our church we can practice with "live" several times a week, so we would have the opportunity to sign outside of the actual education times. We would both be learning it at the same time, but we only have one computer, so I wonder if online education might be a bit awkward if we end up learning at different speeds. I realize that becoming fluent will take time (I've read it takes an average from 1-2 years), but we would like to become proficient as quickly as possible. Thank you very much!
Re: Learning American Sign Language (ASL)
Answered By: journalist-ga on 23 Feb 2003 20:31 PST
Greetings Tiffanyflr: I am in agreement that ASL is best learned through a visual medium as I learned what I know of it first-hand during my three years as a counselor at the state Easter Seals camp. After contemplating the best time-efficient and visual way for you to approach your learning, I believe what will best suit your needs is to first purchase or rent a video (or series) that teaches ASL for church/religious use. Because that is your immediate goal for learning, then by starting there you can do the deaf church members a more immediate service while you continue to expand your general ASL knowledge. The first thing to do before purchasing investing your money is to inquire at your local library if there exists such a video in the state library system. The library will send a query to the regional library headquarters or the state HQ if they don't have it and you should have an answer within a week or two, depending on their system. (And, if they don't have it, you might consider gifting your local library with your copy when you have finished with it - that way, many people could benefit from your generosity and it may also be a tax-deductible donation). Also, query the following organizations to find out what they feel is the best video series for you to use to learn church and general ASL: National Association of the Deaf 814 Thayer Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20910-4500 301-587-1788 Voice 301-587-1789 TTY 301-587-1791 FAX email: NADinfo@nad.org http://www.nad.org/ Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and hard of Hearing AG Bell 3417 Volta Place, NW Washington, DC 20007 Telephone: 202-337-5220 TTY: 202-337-5221 Fax: 202-337-8314 http://www.agbell.org/ Online contact form at http://www.agbell.org/information/contactus.cfm Here is a list of ASL videos that I discovered in my research: Religious Sign Language Video $19.99 http://www.cerformedia.com/religious.html Interax Video Sign Language Course $199 for six-video course http://www.signcourse.com/home.html http://www.signcourse.com/products.html http://www.signcourse.com/demo.html (download a clip from the vidoe) Sign Language Made Simple - video course from http://www.signlanguagemadesimple.com/ From a link at http://www.lighthouseministry.org/sign.html - also has other links that may be of interest to you Language Learning: American Sign Language CD http://www.cdaccess.com/html/pc/asl.htm Sign Language for Everyone - 2nd edition CD $39.95 http://www.higherlearning.com/signlang.html Heartland Ministries videos http://www.learnsignlanguage.com/signmark2.htm From a link at http://www.learnsignlanguage.com/ which also offers a CD course for $29.99 - this looks very interesting - please check it out at http://www.learnsignlanguage.com/ASL.htm Bring ASL video collections to your library and a list of libraries that have them http://www.aslaccess.org/location.htm ASL Video Series http://www.debee.com/videoproducts/asl.htm $39.95 each for videos 1 through 5 of a 12 part series [the website states that 6 through 12 are not available] I'm sure you've seen most, if not all, of these but the CDs look promising. You and your partner are lucky to be able to practive "live" and with a video or a CD series, you will be able to do it at your own pace, on your own schedule and in the medium I found the most educational in my own learning - the visual medium. Related to your topic, I located an interesting article regarding the use of a television with closed captioning during services. It's located at http://www.robson.org/gary/writing/church.html and reads in part "Closed captioning is a way to expand your ministry not only to deaf people, but to many hard-of-hearing people (especially the elderly) and to people just learning English as a second language. This article will describe how closed captioning works, and why it could be right for you." I wanted to include it for your ministry's consideration. I hope my suggestions and research are of assistance to you. Should you need any clarification, please request it and I will be happy to respond. SEARCH STRATEGY: sign language video church religious sign language video ASL video church religious SE video church religious learn signed english religious video american sign language and signed english video deaf association deaf organization
rated this answer:
Journalist, thank you very much for the information you provided. It has given me an excellent basis to decide what my next steps should be. Thank you!
Re: Learning American Sign Language (ASL)
From: journalist-ga on 19 Mar 2003 10:40 PST
Thank you for asking such an interesting question and I appreciate your rating and comments. Godspeed with your ASL studies!
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