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How To Learn Sign Language

How to Become Fluent in Sign Language (3 Tips) | ASL Basics Interviews Courtney at the Chaffee Zoo


Hello everybody! This is Chris Gorges from ASL Basics. Last week I posted a video of myself and my
family going to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and we walked around and we showed you how to
sign 17 different zoo animals, like, elephant, giraffe, lion, cheetah. And I thought it was a lot of fun and while
we were there, we actually came across somebody that worked there that knows sign language. So since we were already there on location,
we decided to do a quick impromptu interview with Courtney Hall. And this is what today’s video’s going
to be about. If you have happened to miss out on the previous
video where I show you how to sign 17 different zoo animals, you can get to it right now by
clicking the card in the corner. So let’s go ahead and take a look at that
interview, but please stick around until after it’s finished, because afterwards I’m
gonna tell you three of my takeaways from that interview, that are really helpful for
those that are just beginning to learn sign language or those that maybe are struggling
with learning sign language right now. So let’s go ahead and check it out. Hello everybody, my name is Chris Gorges,
I’m with ASL Basics and we’re taking a trip to the Chaffee Fresno Zoo and I’ve
met Courtney Hall who works here and she also knows a little bit of sign language. So I figured we’d introduce her and ask
her a few questions about learning sign language. So Courtney, how are you doing? I’m doing good. How are you? Good. So how long have you been working here at
the zoo? I’ve been working here now for almost 4
years now. Wow, that’s great! And you mentioned you have learned some sign
language too, uh? Yes, yeah. So, can you tell me about the process of learning
sign language? So I discovered a few years ago that, um,
especially working here at the zoo, I noticed that there are a lot of people that speak
a lot different kind of languages like um, Spanish or Hmong, or things like that, but
I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of people that knew sign language. And I figured since I’m working my way up
to be a zookeeper, that would be really cool to be able to have at least one or two zookeepers
that work here that also do know sign language. Not only for the deaf or hard of hearing community,
but also for like the autistic, like non-verbal and everything kind of community as well. Um, I figured that’s not a language that
a lot of people know, so it would also, kind of, you know, put me ahead of the pack as
well. That’s great. So have you found yourself using sign language
so far? I do sometimes, yeah. I do use it a lot with um, I noticed especially
during the school semesters there are a lot of school groups that come in, and it’s
a classroom of deaf children, or like I said, autistic children that are non-verbal too. And I’ll use it occasionally, and a lot
of times their very happy that I know even just a little bit of sign language, that I
can, like, even just have a small conversation or tell them where to go. Yeah, absolutely. That’s cool! Since you work here at the zoo, do you have
any favorite, uh, animal signs? I have a couple, yeah. I do like tiger. Not only are tigers one of my favorite animal,
its just kind of a cool thing to do. And also I like lion. Very cool, yeah. Probably one of my favorites would be elephant,
for the trunk of the elephant. Yeah, that one’s cool! Hippo I think is kind of a cool one, for this,
big tusks. [laughter]
Um, so have you found it, learning the language challenging sometimes? Occasionally, especially since we live in
such a world where its so necessary to constantly be speaking, and especially in the job that
I have, where I’m constantly talking to people all the time. Um, it is a little bit difficult to try to
learn it and kind of switch back and forth sometimes, um, between you know, signing and
speaking. Especially if I’m just talking to somebody
that I just signed with and then turning back around and having to speak, it’s a little
bit confusing. Also, sometimes I’ve noticed that it’s
a little bit hard because there aren’t a lot of direct signs. So there aren’t a lot of things that go
directly into sign language, so it’s a little hard trying to learn the new syntax and everything
like that with ASL. That’s a little challenging. Yeah, I found that to be true too. Especially when you’re just beginning to
learn the language. Of course, as you’re learning the language,
you come across challenging moments, maybe you’re feeling discouraged. Have you felt that in the past, and if so,
like what have you done to get past that? A little bit, um, I found that I know quite
a few people, even just here that know a little bit, and I’ve just known that like, I’m
feeling a little bit discouraged, I’ll just go practice with somebody that I know that
I feel comfortable signing with, and then they can tell me like, “Oh, your signing
it wrong” or “Hey, you’re actually signing pretty well today” or something like that. Because I know it’s a little bit challenging,
especially because you get so nervous trying to sign with somebody, and so it’s really,
I’ve found it’s a good thing to help, it helps a little bit to just kind of practice
with somebody you’re comfortable with. Yeah, that’s something that I defiantly
have found is, just using the language that, even if you don’t know a whole lot, just forcing yourself, coming
forward and using what you know, really kind of makes, uh, progress a little bit easier. It helps a little bit.

12 Replies to “How to Become Fluent in Sign Language (3 Tips) | ASL Basics Interviews Courtney at the Chaffee Zoo”

  • Great video. Awesome for Zoo Lady employee. Excellent Zoo having someone like her.Thank you for having her in video. It helps us Deaf to know where to go.

  • Thank you for these videos we really enjoy them. My husband and I started learning sign language when my husband started loosing his hearing. We have been able to learn sign even though we’re not youngsters. Anyone can do it. Keep the videos coming, great job.

  • Practice, practice practice… only hard thing I have experienced is in my area not a large deaf community, so no Deaf clubs or activities.. Louisville is about 30 miles so there I can go.. In Tulsa there is Happy Hands childcare, but I've found nothing here to get involved in outside of school and all..

  • Oh.. I did recently join a Deaf Sunday school, not only does this help my interaction and receptive skills but now I have learned a lot of religious signs too. I suggest others to be look for the same in their areas. To me, immersion is the key

  • My biggest takeaway from this video is to not be discouraged with the language you are learning and to keep pushing forward at it πŸ€ŸπŸ‘

  • I want to learn ASL for 2 reasons:
    1) run into people occasionally that communicate with ASL.
    2) And my main reason for wanting to learn ASL. And that is that I am developing hearing loss. And while I can still hear well enough for people like you to tell me what the word is that your signing. I want to learn so I have all the communicational advantages I can have just encase I do lose my hearing enough. Thank you for the videos.

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