While looking for language-learning tips I stumbled across the brilliant idea of learning conversational connectors. I should copy that list and get translations for it into the languages I want to learn. Brilliant, when your goal is to start having conversations as soon as possible and you don't have enough of a vocabulary to do much...
Other phrases I need to learn proper ASL for: Help, anyone? I can stammer these out but I know I'm using awful grammar:
- Nice to meet you! (Okay, I'm lazy, this should be easy to find - I'll go look for it.)
- I'm (deaf/hard-of-hearing) but mainstreamed, so I'm really just starting to learn about deaf culture and ASL now.
- How did you learn to sign? (Is this just "ASL-learn-you-how?" That's my best guess at grammar.)
- Do you have any tips on how to learn or practice ASL? OR: what was the most helpful thing for you when you were starting?
- I'm an engineer and work on open source software. What do you do [for work]? (Also, it would be helpful to have a one or two sentence explanation for what open source is in ASL, but I don't even know where I would start with this one.)
- I'm also trying to learn some spoken languages - the listening and speaking are hard. I can't hear, so I need to learn how to lipread the other language, but most materials and classes and teachers don't understand that since they're used to students who can hear. For speaking, I need to sit down with someone who can help me get the lip/tongue/throat movements into muscle memory because I can't give myself auditory feedback - but sometimes I don't know where to find these sorts of people. Do you have any ideas? (I can say "writing and reading are easy" but don't know how to talk about lipreading, and don't know if there are particular words or phrases one can use to describe the process by which completely deaf people learn how to speak English - you learn sounds by the feeling of the tension of muscles in your throat, by the way your mouth feels when it's vibrating "correctly" because your lips are placed in the precise positions that they need to be in - this is how I learned to speak Mandarin, with my tutor listening to me say "zh/ch/sh/r" etc. over and over again and telling me whether I'd got it right or not, until I could consistently nail it. It's a weird thing for hearing people to think about, apparently.
- Thank you for being so patient with me [and my bad signing]!
If I can get some help in translating this list, I'll make a video of myself signing each phrase so other people can have it for future reference as well. I'll also try them out at the next local ASL meetup I can make it out to and come back with the results of asking these questions. There must be more deaf polyglots of spoken languages out there.