Learning ASL

It has been somewhat of a dream/goal in my life to learn at least five languages before I leave this earth. So far I have been able to learn English and well I still speak my mother language, which is Spanish. French I have taken at school but I am ashamed to admit that due to the lack of practice I have been reduced to just being able to pronounce things and catch phrases. I do want to start practicing French again and really learning it. But this post is about something even more important to me.

Even though ASL (American Sign Language) might not be considered a language when you first look at it, it is recognized as such by colleges in the US and taught as a foreign language. Even though it is a matter of linguistics, I also consider ASL a language. I have not decided if I would count it as one of my five for my goal, but that is a thought.

How did I first become interested… during high school I had a lot of people I knew but only one real close friend, Luis aka Chino. I spent countless afternoons just hanging out at his house, attempting to play basketball (I am horrible). I had the opportunity to meet some of his neighbors, one of who had a sister that was hearing impaired. We talked a couple of times, and she was a very sweet girl. I actually got to talk to her using a TTY service on the phone. Those experiences have opened up my eyes to this other world.

Then came my interest in translation and interpretation, which I have done in a freelance basis for extra cash here and there. In researching things I found out that there is a huge need for ASL interpreters, as well as just being a good thing to know. It opens the door for you to communicate with a new group of people. So now I am once again itching to learn ASL. I have been looking around the area and found some leads but nothing concrete yet. I will however appreciate if anyone has any information on schools that might offer it in the area.

I have read that it takes anywhere from 2 to 3 years to become proficient, I am looking forward to the challenge because it might be one of the most rewarding things I do in my life.

5 comments on “Learning ASL

  1. We were encouraged since we were kids to learn English at home. My mom was a Bilingual Secretary and my dad traveled a lot, so we grew very fond of it. I caught every single piece of paper written in English, listened to a lot of 96.5 (that radio station in Cali) and eventually when we got cable I was hooked to Cinemax and HBO, especially to the movies that had caption. I learned a lot that way! Then I moved to a French-speaking province in Canada and had to acquire the official language. I’m now down to three -Spanish, English and French- but I want to learn another one. Probably Italian, Portuguese or German.

  2. I am deaf and I speak Spanish and English fluently. Spanish is my primary language. Ha ha ha. I know sign language, and I am not proficient, but I can understand it well. I only need to use it to become comfortable. I dont’ know ASL, just signed English. I learned free through an interpreter for about 6 years in school. I would like to learn Italian because heh that’s one of my background, too.

  3. I am a certified sign language interpreter in California and I would be happy to give you general advice on the profession.

  4. If you are interested in learning ASL from the Web, at least in part, I have lots of mostly free resources on my page. MyBraincells ASL

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