(Are you a new signer? Start with ASL Snippets #1)
This is my variation of a very popular old Deaf joke. I use several classifiers (descriptive handshapes) and NMS (non-manual signals – or mouth movements). I also demonstrate “role-shifting.” This is where I shift my shoulders / upper body back and forth to represent more than one person.
American Sign Language is a very rich, complex, and unique language. To accurately learn ASL takes commitment and motivation. YouTube is FULL of videos by individuals who make “cutesy” little videos that show random signs and claim to be teaching “sign language.” Most of them talk, talk talk, sign, talk, talk, talk, sign…. as a result, they are spreading wrong information about what ASL is and how it is used. Some examples – Melissa Schenk, Ryan Moriarty, Kate Maria, etc. Each of their videos have a lot of views, but for each one of them, the information they are spreading is wrong. And because each one of them gets paid for their videos, not only are they “teaching” a language that they know nothing about, they are also making money at the expense of the Deaf. Is it really that big of a deal? What do you think? A minority culture that is often discriminated against and their language treated like some “cutesy quasi-thing” that’s not a “real language.”
If you have watched and voted thumbs-up on their videos and subscribed to their channels, you’re helping to encourage them to continue to take advantage of the Deaf and to wrongly profit off a language that they are teaching wrong. Please, UNsubscribe from them, vote thumbs-down, and leave a comment to encourage others to look for and support accurate sources. Then, take the time to find accurate videos. Ask the video makers where they learned and if they are qualified to teach.
Take a moment to vote thumbs-up and leave a positive comment on videos made by individuals who truly KNOW sign language. Subscribe to their channel and share their videos with others. Please help to actively spread the accurate use of ASL.
On behalf of the Deaf community and those of us who look to have our language, community and culture get the respect they deserve, I thank you.