Home Forums Fiction Writing General Writing Discussions If You Know Anything About ASL

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Aislinn Mollisong 9 hours, 20 minutes ago.

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    Anne of Lothlorien
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    So, in my new book, Firefly Town, there is a younger teenager, Josh, who’s deaf. He communicates with ASL, American Sign Language. The second main character, Clay, is hearing, but learned ASL to talk with him. Felicity, the MC, when she comes into town, meets Josh. She knows a few signs, from a deaf girl at college, and learns some more.

    I know a fair amount of ASL, from my mom who took it in college, and from a summer course, and I could have a very basic conversation. But I’ve never met anyone deaf or been able to sign to a deaf person. I’d really like to make the interaction with Josh and Felicity real, so if anyone knows about ASL, speaks it as a hearing person, knows anyone in the deaf community, if you could just give me any advice about learning ASL, learning while signing to a deaf person, what it’s like to talk ASL to someone who knows it when you’re just learning, etc., that’d be awesome.

    I have absolutely no idea who would know about this… Ima just gonna tag random people and see what comes… If you know anyone who knows about ASL, please tag them for me.

    @kate-flournoy @ethryndal @sierra-r @dragon-snapper @aratrea @daeus @brandon-miller @graciegirl @delightinlife

    ENFP - "One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."


    • Rank: Wise Jester
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    @anne-of-lothlorien Have you ever heard of Rochelle Barlow? She’s got quite a few resources on ASL. So, there’s something you might be able to look into.


    Anne of Lothlorien
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @skredder Thanks, I’ll check her out.


    ENFP - "One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."


    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
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    @anne-of-lothlorien I don’t actually know anyone who is deaf, but I have interacted with and observed several deaf people, and my mom took some classes on ASL in either high school or college, so she’s told me a little bit.  Here’s the compilation of my knowledge. 🙂

    1. Deaf people do make sounds and move their lips while signing.  The sounds and lip movements do not make any sense, but they are noises, and from far away if you can’t see their hands signing it can look like they are speaking aloud.

    2. Many deaf people learn to speak.  They learn this by touching the lips and throats of others and feeling the way the words are spoken, then imitating it themselves.  Because they can’t hear and imitate the inflections and accents, their speech sounds stilted and harsh.

    3. My mom went to see a musical at a deaf school as part of the course she took.  She said when they played the songs, they “sang” the words by signing them, and they could stay on the beat because though they could not hear it, they could feel it.  The deaf school turned the beat up really heavy, and as you have probably at least once felt the heavy beat of rock music vibrating your chest, so the deaf students were able to keep in time with the music.

    4. Those who are deaf can do almost anything with practice.  My brother was on a high school age homeschool football team, and his team was one of the top homeschool/private school teams across the country, but when they played a deaf school team as an extra game (not counting towards the championship), they were always crushed.  I would have thought hearing was essential to playing football – but I guess not! 🙂  The deaf school had cheerleaders, too, but the cheerleaders were silent.  I watched several of the younger cheerleaders from the middle school team interact and they were just like normal little girls.  They giggled, told jokes (through signing), ran around, and talked to the teachers and parents.

    Well, that’s about all I have.  I hope this helps a little!

    “Sylvester – Sylvester!”


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    I actually am hard of hearing and have worn hearing aids for 13 years.  Two of my brothers also wear hearing aids.  We don’t actually sign ASL and can hear pretty well with our hearing aids, but I do read lips.   🙂

    I am available if there is specific questions you want to ask.  I don’t know how much help I’ll be, but I can try! 😀



    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    I’m not deaf, but I have previously learnt Auslan (Australian sign language). I don’t know any deaf people, but I’ve been several times to Hillsong where I spent a tthe service sitting very close to the deaf section and watching the deaf and the interpreters interact with each other.

    The thing I noticed most was that they weren’t just standing still and making signs with their fingers. Just like speaking people all talk differently,  with different accents and pronunciation and tone of voice, so do sign language users. They still use body language, maybe even more than we do,  they make the same signs differently, and they converse exactly the same way we do, just without speaking. I noticed one interpreter during the worship songs who literally looked like he was singing with his hands. That doesn’t make sense, but its true. I think body language contributes a lot to the conversation and takes the place of voice tone.

    I’m no expert though. Maybe you could see if your area has a deaf association or a sign language association. There’s plenty of opportunities to learn and interact with sign language users if you look for them.

    Sorry this ended up so long!

    INFP with an army of origami cranes and a sabre from Babylon.


    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
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    @anne-of-lothlorien Not much I can add to what they said except… There’s a show Sue Thomas F.B.Eye where the main character is deaf, but she has learned to read lips. You might want to look that up. I think the actress who plays her is deaf too. It’s an intresting show.

    Ambassador of the Kingdom of Allore
    Writing a Catwing Christmas that is as madder as the hatter.


    Aislinn Mollisong
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @anne-of-lothlorien I know a slight bit of ASL, because I have two friends named Hadassah and J.P. in my homeschool group who are deaf.

    One thing to think of is, even if Felicity learns some basic signs to “talk” to Josh, she’s not going to understand a single thing he signs. Clay will have to interpret for her for quite a while. I know this from experience, because I have learned a fair amount of signs, but I still desperately need Hadassah and J.P.’s mom to tell me what they say back to me. They just go so fast

    Also, if they decided after a while that communicating by writing in a notepad is faster and easier, ASL has a different grammar structure. You’d have to look it up, but sometimes when I talk to Hadassah in a notebook, the sentence structure is completely different.

    Signed, Aislinn of Aethasia.

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