Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Sign Language Basics : Sign Language: Etiquette


Now, I’ll teach you a little bit of etiquette,
some appropriate ways to communicate with a deaf person. It isn’t like communicating
with a hearing person. Speaking and signing are entirely different. The first thing that’s
very important is that you maintain eye contact. It isn’t rude to keep that eye contact in
the deaf community. A deaf person doesn’t appreciate if someone looks away because they
need to make sure that they’re maintaining that communication with you. American Sign
Language is a visual language, so it’s okay to maintain that eye contact. If you need
the attention of a deaf person, you wouldn’t yell. You also wouldn’t throw something. It’s
okay to tap a person on the shoulder or give them a gentle wave. But I would say the best
way is to tap someone on the shoulder if you need their attention. Facial expressions are
also vital in communicating with a deaf person. A deaf person can read a person’s expressions
very well. If you sign with very flat emotion on your face, they might not understand what
you’re trying to say. The last important thing is not to nod as if you’re bluffing. I know
that hearing people typically do that often. But with the deaf person, if you’re nodding,
when you don’t understand, that’s not appropriate. So you want to make sure that you’re showing
when you understand, but don’t pretend to understand. Okay? Good job.

14 Replies to “Sign Language Basics : Sign Language: Etiquette”

  • I love these videos. The woman in the video is WONDERFULLY expressive and signs so fluidly. I also love the interpreter's voice. Thank you so much!!

  • you can also flicker light switches to get their attention. you should make a video on how deaf people (students) prank one another.

  • then is it not ok to look at there hands while the other person is signing? sorry if thats a dumb question I'm very new to all of this.

  • I am deaf hard of hearing and do not sign because my parents did not want me to. I lip read and can speak. What I find rude is hearing people assuming that I sign. Or being yelled at for not hearing them or not understanding them. And being considered hearing by the deaf community is also frustrating. I am truly stuck in both worlds. I know some signing but not enough to really communicate. Wish there was a place for someone like me to fit into.

  • She is right that people do nod and pretend they understand. I admit that I do that a lot with both hearing and now deaf community. It's a very bad habit but I'm learning not to do it and I'm really enjoying learning ASL. 🙂 I've even taught my family a few signs and I taught them what I learned about the deaf community. I encourage anyone to learn it, it's really fun! 

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