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How To Learn Sign Language

ASL Grammar Without the Frustration Part 1

Hi Guys, many of you are learning
sign language for various reasons. I wanted to tell you a story about
a girl who from a very young age, was very driven, very determined
to learn sign language. This was, you know, asylum was caught her eye very early and
was just something she really wants to do. What she studied and learned
all she could. She got dictionaries, read books about people that were deaf, people that were deaf and blind,
um, just learned as much as she could
and any opportunity that she could. And she practiced and she practiced
and she practiced all the time. She was practicing sending when she was
always looking up new signs to learn, always trying to get better and better
and better and I should became a more advanced in her sign language. She
was worried, am I doing this right? I don’t have anybody to practice with.
I don’t know if I’m doing this right. Am I putting the signs together correctly? She didn’t even know that there was
a right way or wrong way to put signs together. It was just like,
Whoa, this is how I speak. Let me just put these words together in
this and the science together in this way and hope for the best.
Right? Cause that makes sense.
English was all she knew. So it came to a point where she
just really wanted to push further, do more and learn more. Make sure that she ever
got the opportunity to
communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing,
using sign language. She wanted to make sure she was
doing it perfectly, doing it right, doing it the best way she
could and not look ridiculous. And so her mother got, since there were no really class options
for this girl’s age and there wasn’t really this widespread
growth of sign language, her mother hired her,
a private tutor. So she would go there and she would learn
and she learned that there was a right way and a wrong way to
put sentences together. And then we’re so much more to sign
language than just knowing the signs and knowing the right word order. And so this girl is love and knowledge
and experience in sign language grew and grew and grew. Now I want you to realize
that knowing signs, like knowing the sign for dog,
knowing the sign for name, knowing the sign for have is only
half of what you need to know. You need to know so much
more than just the science. There’s so much more that goes into it. And I want to talk about that isn’t
that just knowing the science, but you want to have a real
conversation, an easy, natural, enjoyable conversation and you want to
do it the right way and you want to do it without looking foolish. So I want to
talk to you about that right now. Okay? First let me talk about the assignment. Which continuum are you have heard of?
Asl. Asl is over here. I don’t know
if you can see that. And here is, see this is signed exact English. This is like I am.
Go into the store, you’re signing each word. Each sign goes along with
what you would say. Okay? And Asl is not like that at all. It’s
it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s pure language. C is based on English. Well,
ASL is its own language. Okay? So there’s this continuum.
So we’ll have our little rectangle here and let’s see.
Okay. And so in between ASL
and C is called pigeon, okay? The pigeon sign English and a lot. So if you’re not using
correct ASL grammar, you’re gonna fall into the PSE. You’re using some initialized
signs from C and you’re, and you’re using more ASL signs, but
you’re using it more with English grammar. And a lot of us hearing
people tend to be here. We might try and be here
closer on the ASL continuum. And that’s okay. If you’re over
here, you can work your way this way. If you’re in the middle, you can
work your way this way. Okay? So we’re going to talk about ASL
grammar, okay? And there’s many facets. Most people think, Oh, when they think
ASL grammar, thinking just a word order. But that’s not the whole story. Let me talk to you about the ASL model,
okay? Okay.
The ASL model is first, okay? Your facial expressions,
okay? That’s the first one. Second is your body language. Third Classifiers. Okay. And fourth is your vocabulary.
Okay? So when you are going to be signing, the first thing you want to ask yourself
when you’re trying to communicate is this clear? Is this easy to understand?
And when you’re practicing on your own, on translating your sentences from English
to ASL or practicing on your own or practicing with your friend, when
you’re evaluating yourself, you ask, is this clear? Is this easy to
understand? Because that is ASL. It’s over here. Okay, first up today
we’re going to talk about, so these three, these four things make up ASL. This makes up good ASL, strong
sign language skills, and good, clear, easy communication. Okay,
so today we’re gonna talk about, we’re going to have three videos and I’m, we’re going to be talking a
lot about facial expressions. I know a lot of people will say,
well, they know that they need to work
on their facial expressions, but they think that comes later.
No, it comes now. It’s number one. It’s number one. You can’t just
sign and be dead. Number one. It does make your communication clear.
It does not make it easy to understand. You use your faith not only
to express your emotions, but to actually act as punctuation,
to act as your grammar. You pause or raise your eyebrows would
tilt forward when you’re as if it was a comma. If you’re changing subjects,
are you changing directions? If you’re making a comp, a compound
sentence, you’re gonna pause. You’re going to use your face
to do those things. Okay? So first we’re going to do some
exercises together, alright? To get you used to this concept in union, just start working on your facial
expressions as soon as you start signing, okay?
And hmm. As you build upon it with each thing, as
you build and build and build and build, while learning that sentence structure
and all the things that go into sign language, these four things
that go into sign language, it’s going to be become more natural,
faster. It’s going to become easier, faster, and it will
make sense faster. Okay? So let’s work on the eyes first
because these are so important. Her eyes are so important in signed, like
which, you know, when you’re talking, you’re talking with someone in your both
hearing and you’re both speaking with your voices. It’s so easy to look away,
you know, just to kind of, you know, Oh yeah. You know, look down
while you’re talking to somebody. And while good communication skills in
the hearing world is to make eye contact, it’s easy to let that slide.
However, in the deaf community and deaf culture,
eye contact is so important. You have got to use your eyes and
you use your eyes to convey messages. So enough blabbering.
Let’s talk, let’s do a couple exercises and I have
included down below this video a pdf for you to download that has some practice
sheets that have more exercises that I’m going to be doing. They’ll have
more for you to do on your own. And I urge you to download it. It’s
free, download it and use it today. It’s not long. It’s very
short, quick, easy to do. Okay. But this is all about learning
to use your face. Okay, so we’re starting with the eyes. So let’s
do like, what would you, I think about, what would your eyes do if you’re
watching something going by? Like if you’re sitting here in your chair
and you’re on your porch or something and you see a car drive by, so you
just follow it with your eyes. Right. Let’s do it. Okay. Now, what would you, what would your eyes look like if you’re
looking up at something tall? Like, oh my gosh, this is a huge guy. Walks
in the room. He’s like seven feet tall. You would look up, right? Or if
you’re looking up at a big skyscraper? No. Okay. Or what if it’s super short?
You would looked at, whoa, look down. Okay. Um, are you see something? What? Double take. Okay. Um,
how about, let me think. Oh, what if you’re super
nervous about something? Yeah. Okay. Or if you’re watching a
Ferris wheel, so they’re always, maybe you’re watching your little brother
on the Ferris wheel and he goes down and he goes up and you
guys down and he goes up. Okay. So practice using your eyes when
you’re telling stories. If somebody, if you saw something, you’re gonna use your eyes to show how
you were when you saw something or how that person reacted. Okay.
Now let’s use the face. Okay. Oh, okay. So now we’re going to use
the whole face, not just your eyes. Oh, if you just ate and you’re super full. Oh, oh, oh. You know, it could be anything.
Okay. If you are bored, okay, what if you are falling asleep
ratings? So here’s my book I’m reading, right? Okay. I’m not an actress, but
we can all do that, right? Uh, what did he tastes tasted
something really bad. Oh, okay. Now I, you
know, I’m sure my face is, none of them looked beautiful when
I was doing in my weird faces. But if it’s something you need to let go
of when you’re using sign language and you’re doing your thing,
you might not look pretty. It’s like one of my friend’s
shoes, this jazz singer, she says, if you look pretty what you’re singing,
you’re not doing it right. Okay. So don’t worry about what you look
like when you’re doing sign language. Just use your face.
Okay. That’s important. It’s just as if you’re writing and
you’re using your punctuation. Okay. Um, now let’s talk about our eyebrows. That’s an important part
of your facial expressions. You need to use your eyebrows.
Okay? So if you’re angry, how are your eyebrows looking?
They’re looking name. Great. Now when you’re asking questions,
you’re going to use your eyebrows. Your eyebrows are going to be the
biggest indicator of your question, okay? And the general rule is up for a yes
or no question down for a wh question. Uh, Debbie or a question that requires
a response outside of yes or no. Also, along with that is when
you have a question, sometimes you need to still express a
certain emotion. Okay? So, so it’s not, you can’t really have a hard
and fast rule, yes or no. It was always eyebrows raised.
Okay. That is true in the general sense,
but however, when you are actually trying to be clear
and communicate more than just that question,
you need to show in your eyebrows too. And so it doesn’t always have to be
straight up. Okay. Um, let’s see. So if you’re angry, you know, if you want
to ask somebody a question, you’re angry, are you going, you know, you show with
your eyebrows. If you’re confused, um, I don’t get it. So you’re, you’re going to show your confused.
Okay. So let’s see. So when you sign, you don’t always have to
have like question mark. I’m going to ask you a question or what
or who or where or when or why or how. You also can just sign it and ask.
Okay. So go. I have one side and I can ask a question. One sign I got to go. I’m concerned.
Are you going to go to sleep? Sleep. Did you sleep well, it could be
anything. Sleep, one word, one sign. And I raised my eyebrows and it’s
a question. Okay, another one. Okay.
What about this one? Okay. All right. Now here, let’s do two works. Are you going to the store? Do you want a drink?
How about a three word sentence? You can share your candy. I
hope so. I Love Candy. Okay. So that is just the first part of what
you need to practice when you’re trying to sign clearly and effectively
and naturally and have
an awesome conversation. You’ve got to start using that
face of yours. Download the, um, download the PDF that I’ve
included for you and I get to it. It’s very short.
Use Your eyes, use your face and then practice
your questioning eyebrows. Okay? And then come back, I’ve got, um, the next video is going to give you even
more of what you can do to begin your journey towards having excellent grammar, excellent natural and
enjoyable conversations in
sign language with anybody. All right, please comment down
below. Ask me your questions. What is, what is, so what is the
hardest part for silent would with you? What are you most want
to know about grammar? You can’t just say [inaudible]
everything cause I know you want to learn everything. I get it. I totally
get it. I was totally there. I want you to learn everything.
I want you to have grammar down. What is the hardest part or grammar,
especially with these four things. What are you, what is the hard part? Okay. Let me know what you’ve struggled with
so I can address them in the coming videos. Okay. And I’ll see you later.
Download the PDF and get to practicing, and we’ll talk the next time. Okay. Bye.

94 Replies to “ASL Grammar Without the Frustration Part 1”

  • Hi Rochelle, I'm new with sign you are such a great teacher i've learned so much with just this one video…. thank you.

  • I know how to fo the first two, cause I know use facial and body language. I need to work on the last two. I'm scared if I'm doing it right I do see but I would like to know how to do asl real bad

  • I know how to fo the first two, cause I know use facial and body language. I need to work on the last two. I'm scared if I'm doing it right I do see but I would like to know how to do asl real bad

  • I know how to fo the first two, cause I know use facial and body language. I need to work on the last two. I'm scared if I'm doing it right I do see but I would like to know how to do asl real bad

  • I know how to fo the first two, cause I know use facial and body language. I need to work on the last two. I'm scared if I'm doing it right I do see but I would like to know how to do asl real bad

  • This is something that never really comes up in general searches when I have some time to look into learning SLA Very good video and did you see my question on the practice group video?

  • I'm sure it's something I'm doing, but I can't figure out how to download. I clicked the link in the description but it just took me to your website. Sorry if it's a dumb question with a simple answer! 😛

  • Am I the only one who thought the captions were a mess? It starts out, "many of you are running something which for various reasons one to tell you…"

  • I think one of my biggest problems is with idiomatic expressions. I usually just try to use the literal meaning instead, but I kind of feel like that takes away from the sentence. :/

  • This girl has plagorized her information. The ASL Model is not hers! A lot of the words she uses is word for word what myself and 2 other teachers used in teaching High School ASL 10 years ago!

  • I know that in the future videos you're going to teach it, but I haven't gotten there yet, so the thing that I really want to get better at is sentence structure and facial expressions

  • Great video! The hardest thing about learning ASL for me is learning vocabulary. I'm always worried I'm not doing the sign exactly correctly and I won't be understand. It's also really frustrating when there's more than one way to sign a word. It's like, well which one should I use in different circumstances.

  • I am not deaf, but have many deaf friends and family. This video is not accessible for the deaf or hard of hearing due to no captions. Why would they need to watch this video if they already know it? Well I can answer that. What if the deaf and hard of hearing would like to learn proper asl since they did not grow up learning proper asl? Next time, please use captions as well. ☺

  • I am deaf and trying to learn ASL, since I grew up with only English. This video is not accessible to me and the many other people like me who are both deaf and trying to learn ASL. If you look at the transcript of this video, you will see that the automatic captions YouTube does is not very helpful. Please caption your videos. Thanks!

  • Thank you for the video. I'm learning ASL and have only been building my vocabulary. I was going to save the facial expressions and body language until later. Your video makes total sense in how important it is to start those things now. So I appreciate your help in my progress to reach my goal of one day becoming an interpreter.

  • hey there!

    Just for the heads up some of your closed caption words are wrong. Its hard to learn when your not reading the right stuff, just so you know.

  • Hi, in one of your videos on your memory work, you were doing scriptures and you said use your palm toward heaven or up and to the right. If you are left handed, do you do to the right still or is it correct to go up toward left in reverence to the Lord?

  • The thing I need most is PRACTICE. Do you tutor at all or know someone who does? I'm wanting t find a private tutor to help me learn more and become more confident with signing. Thank you for these videos! It really helps a lot.

  • Thank you for making videos like this Rochelle ! You are so informative!! I related to the beginning story sooo much!

  • Amusingly, your subtitles are a little off from what you are saying 🙂 at least i HOPE you're not saying "a cell grandmother"

  • It's good the captions are here now, but they aren't very good. For example it says C when you mean SEE. I am happy to help if you'd like a volunteer. More deaf will be able to learn from you with good and accurate captions.

  • Why no subtitles on an ASL video? I'm sure there are newly deaf people who don't know ASL and want to learn and are watching this video. I put on the CC and they are not accurate. At :25 for example it says something about a "coochie cup" ??! I would be happy to help translate it …

  • I never see things like this when i try to search about asl grammar and rules. This video is awesome!! Thankyou!

  • I know intermediate asl and I spend time with the deaf regularly. This video is not informative. It annoyed me a bit

  • Great job. Great video, but too long.  The point should have been made by 2 minutes… Video wayyyy to long, but good information.

  • I just want to say thanks to you. Cause this video might now helpful for deaf people but very helpful for hearing people who wants to learn ASL so much. This is so helpful for me. Thanks for your efforts

  • I think the hardest part with me learning sign language is going to be the eye contact because I'm hearing and I don't do well with eye contact so I might need to work on that your videos are great by the way I'm a beginner

  • I noticed you signed "how" different from what I've seen in books or online. Is there a difference between the two?

  • I am interested in grammar for complex sentences. Simple sentences are easy, but how about this example that I copied from the internet: "With his bright orange Crocs and matching hair, chef M Bis a beacon of light among the world’s culinary pioneers."

  • With so many people asking for captions I just submitted some for this video. I relied majorly on the auto-generated subtitles and just fixed the missing words or broke up sentences when it was unclear.

    Everyone, if you speak and hear English well, captioning is really easy and, with Google's newer speech recognizer, much faster. I swear to you, it's maybe 5-10 extra minutes on top of what you would normally spend watching the video normally.

    If you click the gear then Add Subtitles/CC you go to the subtitle creator. At the top click actions then auto-generate. Then all you have to do is watch the video like normal, read the subtitles, and correct them when they are wrong. You could spend hours rewriting all of them with perfect grammar and punctuation but you are much more likely to just give up. Correct and clear is more important. Give it a try.

  • I am in the same boat. I can google "sign for __" but i see different people signing differently the same sentences and things and I dont understand.

  • I heard deaf people find PSE insulting. I saw someone give up learning asl completely because she got so much hate for using PSE (she was in highschool, teaching herself with no access to asl lessons but wanted to major in asl)

  • I would like to apologize for the people out there who can't appreciate what you have provided, and worked hard to share. There are not enough THANK YOU'S!! I am learning ASL and so far you are my number one source. You are an incredible teacher!!!

  • this is disappointing, if you are going to explain asl grammar on a video you should be signing yourself or have someone standing next to you using proper grammar. None of the gestures you use even indicate you have any fluency in the language itself. This is a discussion of the components of a sign and the "intonation" of the language but you have not touched on the actual grammatical structure of a sentence. In asl ,

    the topic is always first, then the any descriptors relating to the topic. and then locative information, English: the red ball is on the shelf.ASL Ball-red- "where" (raised eyeborws) then indicate shelves.

  • I dont get this, why are you teaching in spoken English? This is HUGE RED FLAG!!

    I teach ASL at CSUN,  ALWAYS USE ASL in classroom and outside of classroom, and especially when teaching about ASL…

  • As someone who studied clown arts, all this was covered in great detail in mime class. True Story, though I was a White face clown, and not a mime. 🙂

  • Hey! I'm totally hearing and have always been interested in sign language but I'm only just now beginning to dedicate myself to learning. I've come to depend on your videos and other content to help me learn. I lucked out, though, at work we just hired a guy who has been an interpreter for five years, so every day I go to work and he is always happy to help me improve and point out the things that just aren't right. It's you and him, you guys are teaching me ASL! Thank you!

  • I'm autistic and struggle with extended eye contact. I know how important eye contact is for ASL. I learned very basic ASL as a child when I couldn't speak, and now as an adult I'm relearning.

    Is there a way to indicate that my lack of eye contact is not intended to be rude? I know that in deaf communities lack of eye contact, especially by hearing people, can be seen as rude. I'm trying to learn to use more eye contact, but it's habit for me to look away.

    I'm trying my best to learn facial expressions too. I'm putting extra focus on that, and on learning to copy them exactly. But I'm afraid my face is not always as expressive as I want it to be. How can I sign something like "I'm autistic. I'm doing the best I can with my face. Please don't laugh at me."

  • Nice little intro. Great tips to get started thinking about. Love your tutorials. I would like to share a speaking tip. I have done presentations for decades and think this may help you with your presentation style with hearing folks. Too many hand movements when you are talking to hearing people are distracting. Like sign language your hands have a proper place they help you illustrate what you say. Check out some popular speakers and pastors. You will see their hands add to or punctuate what they are saying. Focus on you hands here you are just waving your hands/arms. This is not adding but distracting. This is just some feedback because I appreciate your work and I want to support you. Can't wait to check out the next video lesson.

  • Oh my gosh it makes sense. You have to convey your emotions through your facial expressions because your voice can not be heard.

  • Wow i’m learning so much about invisible disabilities. As a disabled woman myself I thought I knew every thing about being disabled. I do not but I’m learning. It helps me understand so many different things, about myself and about people who struggle in life. The reason that people don’t interact or participate in life is because something is holding them back beyond their control.

  • This is so amazing to me I hope to use this in the future I really do. Aside from all that this helps me understand more about myself

  • God bless you keep up the good work you’re doing. I wasn’t even searching for this this morning. I feel such a sense of enlightenment. Answers to questions that I’ve had for over a decade.

  • You're very good at grammar and explaining it as well at teaching it! please continue to make these videos?

  • The hardest part for me is sentence structure. Figuring out what words to leave out and what order to put them in.

  • Hey Rochelle!! Great video thank you!!! Yes I know these comments are supposed to be grammar related BUT (oh isn’t there ALWAYS SOMEONE with a BUT 😂😂😂) so I’ve been thinking (which if you know me 😂😂😂😂 RUN!!!) but is there an app or a ‘program’ or something where ‘newbies’ (like myself) can ‘get on’ idk something like Skype or similar with a HoH or Deaf person(s) for interactive learning?? I have only recently began learning signs (& I’m pretty sure I’m more closer to the SEA side 😩😩😩😩) and I live in a VERY RURAL small town (less than 6,000 ppl) and I do not know of any HoH or deaf folks anywhere near by..just thought something like an interactive ‘program/system’ would be real neat for those of us learning!

  • That girl sounds a lot like me. I have no one in my life who is deaf/heard of hearing or knows sign language, I just kinda wanted to learn it. I’ve been looking up words, and I’m doing my best to do the most i can, but I realized that I might not be doing the grammar right

  • I'm not even deaf, there are no deaf people that I know.
    Even if I met a deaf person, this won't work, because he would be using Arabic sign language.

    But still, this is really great and I think every human should learn sign language as it shows a lot of emotions and deep meanings and expressions.

    It would even make spoken communication deeper and more vibrant.

    And I think that an ASL learner won't be able to find a better teacher, your enthusiasm and skills have absolutely reached me, so: thanks a lot.

  • As someone mentioned… Grammar with complex sentences. I'm still learning basic grammar. I've had a terrible time with word order with small sentences, but this is helping.

    I'm still confused with using an active "voice" VS a passive "voice"

    An example from lifeprint:

    A.    If you use the subject as your topic, then you are using an active voice.

    BOY THROW BALL.                   The boy threw the ball.


    B.     If you use the object as your topic, then you are using a passive voice.

    BALL, BOY THROW.                  The ball was thrown by the boy.

    They both mean the same thing to me. What's the real difference?

    Also, when talking about someone who isn't there, or taking about more than one person or thing… how do you distinguish between them?

  • Wow just this video helped me so much thank you!!
    The hardest part about asl is having 4 sisters and still having no one to sign with… I think I wanna take classes somewhere I'm 13 is there classes for that age? Also I'm home school I'm afraid that might effect trying to get into a class ughh..

  • My sister signs and explained sentence structure and expression. ASL amazes me and I've tried to learn but it's so hard. You're video was so helpful. Subscribed

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