What CAN we do with JSL?

This weekend, I happened upon a video that thoroughly entertained me:

Amidst the nostalgia that the video evoked, and the outbursts of laughter from watching a grown man shimmy (okay, not really shimmy…), the old question popped into my head again:

What can hearing people do with sign language?

I mean, in the sense of… performance, I guess you could say. We all know the typical manifestation, I think: signing songs, like above. (You remember “Church Sign”, of course, right?)

I don’t really like the idea because usually it reduces signing to just entertainment. And people who do this often think they know “Jamaican Sign Language”, but, of course, they don’t because it’s usually Signed English. (I have one or two funny stories about that.) That, and the white gloves irritate me.

So… considering most audiences would probably consist of exclusively hearing people who know basically zero JSL, what could be done? Signing a song’s pretty; hearing people love it. (And Deaf people do ‘sing’ through signing.) But what else…?

I’ve been pondering this for some time. My only idea: With JSL, a hearing (or Deaf, for that matter) signer can play Deaf character in a play/skit. It’s sad that I couldn’t come up with any more. Can you guys come up with any?

There’s always my favourite use for JSL, though: Communication. That one’s awesome.

That said, though, this young lady did a good job, I think:

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