09 March, 2007


Had a fun Sign class today. Our tutor Terry is witty and always tries to illustrate his lessons with a few anecdotes, such as today's one, where he told us about driving from work on Monday, struggling to control his motorike against 60mph winds on the flyover, then getting home, driving his bike through the garage doors and being knocked off by the gate blowing shut and tipping him and the bike over. Six months ago, I wouldn't have got half of that. 'Motorbike' and 'wind' probably.

We've been learning direction verbs - that's verbs that change slightly to indicate different things, such as showing action to or from someone [I ask you / you ask me], an action that's distributed in various directions [ask upstairs / ask everyone], or repetition [keep on asking - ask, ask, ask] - all using the same hand-sign but changing the direction or position of it.

I need to practice more than I do, but it's good to have something to look forward to each week, and they're a nice bunch of people who all seem keen. I've signed up for the advanced course, so I hope I don't get out of my depth, but I seem to be coping okay so far.

18 March marks the fourth anniversary of the recognition of British Sign Language as a proper language with its own idioms and structure. Princess Diana did a lot of work to promote BSL, as its patron, but it took a long time for BSL to get any proper recognition.

I've just found this video on YouTube. As with most vids, there's no guarantee it'll be up for long, but the gist of it is that this guy is encouraging everyone who can speak BSL to celebrate the anniversary of it's transition into a 'proper' language.

I asked my pal Neil, who writes 'I Love London... Honest', why he learned to sign. One of his reasons was that more people should know how to, which works for me. We're both hearing, but Neil's very confident and articulate in signing, and he's been very encouraging to me.

Here's another YouTube video. This time, it's a very straightforward and patient guide to fingerspelling - the BSL alphabet, in other words. At the very least, I think everybody should know this:

Two posts in one day. Must sleep now...

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