Life as a Hearing Signer

Man, I love JSL. And I love signing.

For a few days this week and last week, I spent some time with a Deaf guy for work. I learnt a lot of signs, and even learnt some Deaf culture. My signing has been challenged, which is good. Context clues are very important. And one thing about sign languages like JSL and JCS: mouthing can be a huge clue as to the sign and its meaning. It’s helped me in a pinch. Even though I can’t read lips very well…

Monday, as I was heading to work, I got 2 missed calls from an unknown number. I was confused. And then when I heard a pair of feet on the gravel and turned around. There he was. It turns out that when Deaf see each other a far off, they just ring each other’s phone. And that’s the trigger to look around and find their friends.

Some other fun things happened, too. We laughed when a friend (hearing, doesn’t know JSL) called to me and asked me a question when I was talking with my Deaf co-worker, and I answered her in JSL. Heh. Slightly embarrassing.

And on Monday, the Deaf guy was talking with a girl via typing on phone screen. It was so funny when the girl found out I am hearing. She said, “Why didn’t you say something from the start?!” Haha! The fun thing about this is that I interpreted for them with no problem! A huge smile is in order, if I do day so myself.

Just a few minutes before that, I watched him buy his lunch, and sort of laughed at the confusion as the lady tried to understand what he wanted. She said, “You can talk, don’t?” And she asked why I didn’t interpret. He said he doesn’t want to be spoiled, and that’s good. Deaf people need to show the world that they can survive without auditory function, and hearing people should learn how better to communicate with Deaf, especially when it comes to Deaf customers.

And gee… I see again that my fingerspelling production is much faster than my reception. I can sometimes spell ‘interrogative’ at the speed of light, but you have to spell it slow for me to understand it. Non-spelling signs are a lot easier for me to understand. I have to remember to use and hope it helps my fingerspelling reception to improve.

So, I had a good time. I really did.

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One Response to Life as a Hearing Signer

  1. read.robin says:

    Learning is so much easier when you have fun doing it. 🙂

    I love these insights into Deaf culture that I get from your posts. You’ve become one of my repositories of knowledge. 🙂 Keep ’em coming!


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