Sunday, October 7, 2012

see wot i'm sayin'?

[If you stay with me there is some fun at the end of all this].

An email friend recently wondered just how different AUSLAN [Australian [deaf] Sign Language] is from ASL [American Sign Language].

Some readers may recall one or both versions of the movie The Miracle Worker, about the life of the American Helen Keller [1880-1968] who became both deaf and blind as a little tacker after contracting what was probably meningitis.

Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan 1888

A very dramatic turning point occurs when Helen finally twigs that the signs her teacher is making have meaning. The signs were letters of the alphabet which, in ASL, are all signed with one hand.

YouTube is awash with some very, very, boring videos about signing, but here are two extremely short vids showing the different alphabets:


Auslan, BSL and NZSL [Oz, Brit and Kiwi] versions

As anyone who has ever delivered or been on the receiving end of a rude gesture will know, spelling something out letter by letter is not practical, and there are quick gestures for just about anything you might need to say.
YouTube, no surprise, is awash with clips providing the first words we like to learn in any new language. 

It seems "F.U." is "F.U" in any language.

Until today I'd never heard the song Forget You [by Cee Lo Green] which has been released in 3 different versions, one totally uncensored, one with key word such as "fuck", "shit", "ass" and "nigga" removed, and one which is very pretty indeed.

I love this song, and the spunky version Anna [amrobi314] has posted on YouTube.
Exams were never this much fun when I was at school.


  1. Replies
      "I CAN'T DAD... I'M STUDYING !"

  2. Signing is very political, an area I dare not tread. My partner is not bad at Auslan.

    1. I'd love to know why it's political, but respect your dursn'ts.

    2. Well, there is, or was, a battle over Auslan v. another method and something to do with literacy and also whether people needed to learn to speak or not. Long time ago. I can't remember the details. I was rounded on once for agreeing that deafness was a disability.

    3. You're a brave man for speaking your mind, and a more impressive man for even having one.

      I've heard [mere gossip, perhaps] that there is some kind of schism within the deaf /signing community - that some politicised faction wants to control the teaching of Auslan etc.

      It would be silly to think that being deaf in a speaking world is not a disadvantage, because the world is not always a fair place.

      And it would be hasty and unfair for anyone to misinterpret "disability" to mean you would value deaf people less - but that's what happens when people feel unfairly disadvantaged.

      Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, and I hope it doesn't cause any trouble. [Let me know if it does, we have a troubled dog who can torture anyone with ceaseless yapping if she detects tension in the air.]

  3. It seems like a very cool sign language class.

    And...I like the song.

    1. It sounds like every everyone was having a good time - and I'm sure the choice of song had a lot to do with it!