Sign Language Course – 2nd Lesson Report

Almost we forgot to upload Sarah’s report of our second lesson at the sign language course.
There it is:

We got so far that time, Raoul could tell us a joke at the end of the lesson. It took a while, he needed very much space, but most of us understood without knowing every word he signed, what he was talking about. We laughed…

Before that we went deeper into learning how much we have to watch out for precisely signing, precisely mimic and how precisely we have to move our mouth as if we would actually say the word or express the feeling of the word what we want to sign.

In german signlanguage (DGS – Deutsche Gebärden Sprache) we deal with 4 parameters:
– form of hand/hands
– positon af hand/hands
– area of where hand is/hands are
– movement/action

There were mainly four things I recognized this lesson.
One is how different words or actions are related to each other in both languages.
Some words in DGS are related to each other which are not related in german spoken language at all.
That could lead, from my point of view now, to a different understanding about relations of words, feelings, things and actions in our world.
The verb “eating”, for example, needs the same form of hand as “buying”. The position of the hand, the area it is carried out and its movement though differ and make the difference between those two words.

Another thing I also recognized as very important in DGS is the dimension of speed of the handmovments. Words become the right or more significant meaning according to the speed they are accomplished. They only become meaningful when they are accomplished in the right speed or slowness. The speed also expresses and emphasises – very clear to our common way of communication by physical expressions, not knowing much about sign language – what is meant by the sign or movement.

The third thing that came to my mind while learnig and watching our teacher Raoul was the continuous expression of exert and relaxing. Once a word is signed, the signer needs to unmistakably show the word or sentence is ending, and a next may come. So beginnings and endings have to be signed out.

The last thing – for this session – I found special about DGS is the actually playing and expressing of feelings when only “talking” about them.
Facial and physical expressions are important to make words meaningful and unmistakebly understandable.
Deaf people have to imitate feelings by mimic highly to say what they want to say, even if they are not actually feeling it.
These implementation of real feelings is much different to our way of “only” using words to talk about feelings or saying words that describe feelings using “only” our voice to express them, give them more tragic, make them more funny or whatever felling we want to describe.
Also, the four parameters explained above, sometimes relate to areas of the body, which in common use are understood as areas where those feelings take place. For example the sign for “being disappointed” takes place in front of the heart, with a movement just like someone is breaking together.
Right now the part of implementing real feelings by playing or expressing them while signing a word seams to me a very difficult thing to do. It feels to me as if I am showing something from deep inside of me. Obviously I am not a good actor. It is a kind of playing a role for a very short moment, and then move to another. I guess it is a question of getting used to it. What I learned from that is facial- and physical expressions is important and (actually)shows me to new impressions of feelings and words.
I wonder how that works when one feels very sad and has to talk about happiness. Or what about lying? Is it not shown in facial expressions? How hard could that be?

Therefore we have to learn how, where, when and how fast we sign our words with hands body and our whole face expression.
Now I found DGS even more interesting for us to learn and may transfer to other communication patterns.

To be continued…

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