What´s your name?
My name… I can´t write it down anymore.
My first name looks like I´m putting something into my hair and saying my name without voice (very important!).
My last name looks almost like I´m rowing, also combined with saying my name without voice.
This time in our class in DGS (German Sign Language), we all figured out what our names could be in sign language. Deaf people don´t spell their name by finger alphabet when getting to know each other, only if misunderstandings come up. They come up with signs for names which they find mostly in facial characteristics, features or name relations to not have to spell each name in conversations.
Therefor it is important to become sensitive for visual details in other people and yourself. Last time we learned to describe visual details in a persons as neutral as possible. The next step was now to find these characteristics, not value them, but use them for further expressions, like finding our name.
Then we got to know and use different categories of mimic, gesture and signage to either question, negate or affirm a statement, which were:
– short head nodding, at the end of a sentence
– head nodding, within the sentence
– head shake, throughout the whole sentence
– image of your mouth
– finger alphabet
– eyebrow rising
Very difficult in this exercise was to coordinate all these categories the right way, to not say something completely wrong, which can easily happen if you mix up one of these categories. If you want to e.g. negate a statement, you have to repeat the statement the way it was signed and shake your head to say it is not so and maybe use the finger alphabet. Of course in practice deaf people shorten their signage to only affirm or negate a statement, but still you have to learn to combine signing, mimic, gesture, finger alphabet, image of your mouth, movement of your head and eyebrow rising to say what you want to say. It´s almost like learning a new sport…
At this point, sign language is oppositional, it offers a very complex and difficult structure for communication as well as in some aspects a very easy way of use and understanding.