Thursday, 17 May 2012

Visual listening

I feel a little nervous sharing these three videos, due my own woeful lack of knowledge about the issues of American Sign Language (ASL) vs Signed Exact English (SEE).  I do understand that ASL is not English, and has a completely different syntax.  I think I understand that ASL is generally used in Canada, but that there is a variation of British Sign Language called "Maritime Sign Language" that may also show up here.

These three videos are interpretations of popular songs done by hearing persons learning ASL.  Not being conversant in ASL (I took a YMCA course and was rubbish at what I now think had to have been SEE), I'm not certain how much this first example ("Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago) veers into SEE.  It's certainly entertaining:

You may need to watch this one at YouTube in order to see all the women performing here. The other two videos are by the same fella, Stephen Torrence. I suspect his signing is closer to true ASL, and he has thoughtfully provided a gloss of both the English lyrics (of "Fireflies" by Owl City) and the ASL signs he's using. (If there's a short commercial in this video or the next one, I do apologize and it is very brief): I plucked up the courage to read the comments for this one (YouTube comments in general make me despair for humanity), and noticed that a number of deaf viewers appear to have enjoyed this. Stephen apparently had his loyal viewers vote on a song for him to sign before bowing out from video-making for a while. The winner was, predictably, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen: I notice in the comments for this one that an ASL interpreter doesn't feel his translation goes "deep enough" for the true ASL experience, but I'm in no position to judge.

1 comment:

Larissa T. said...

That is so so cool! This would be really fun way to learn ASL. All I know is the alphabet and a couple of words here and there... But not enough to communicate. Unfortunately classes are expensive and online courses just never happen. *sigh* Maybe one day?