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How To Learn Sign Language

Why Some Deaf People Speak And Don’t Sign (American Sign Language Vlog)

[pencil writing] [Pokemon game sound] Hello, it’s Rikki. First, before we get to
the main part of the video, I wanted to share news about
the #NoMoreCRAPtions t-shirts. If you want to get one, they’re
available through June 21st. I’ll have the link to the shirts below. Okay, so, today’s topic: Recently, I watched a video from…
let me spell her name right. Cheyenna Clear- Cheyenna Clearbrook. I can’t spell names, I’m sorry. She’s a fantastic YouTuber. You should go watch her. She signs in her videos. Cheyenna talked about YouTube and deaf YouTubers. About how some deaf YouTubers
speak, and some only sign. Some deaf YouTubers preferring to
speak instead of signing in videos. I’m one of those speaking YouTubers. I know this.
It’s fine. But I want to discuss, explain something. A lot of people talk about how it’s
hard to find deaf YouTubers who sign. I understand that. I think more signing deaf prefer
to use Facebook over YouTube. I see them post more on Facebook. But on YouTube, there are
more speaking deaf YouTubers. Maybe there’s an equal amount,
I don’t know. Most of the deaf YouTubers I’m
subscribed to sign in their videos. I want to explain why some deaf
people speak, or simply prefer it. Not a lot of deaf people are the same. Deaf people aren’t a monolith. We all grew up differently. I mean, I was mainstreamed growing up. I had my diagnosis when I was 11. Maybe I had crap hearing
before then, I don’t know. But I was diagnosed at 11. I didn’t start learning ASL until three years ago. I’m still kinda a bad signer.
Yeah, there, I said it. My vocabulary sucks.
My vocabulary list is crap. I need to improve that.
I know that. My goal for this summer is
to expand on my vocabulary. I want to study a little
more every single day. So, yes, I speak for most of my channel. I try to sign when I can,
but sometimes, I won’t. Most of the time, I won’t because
I’m used to and most comfortable speaking. It’s just like a fluent ASL signer who
is used to communicating that way. I always say you should use the
language you’re comfortable with. Of course, I practice on here and
other platforms across the Internet. And I practice in person as well
when having face-to-face conversations. But I can’t always because
of the lack of fluency. The risk of uploading in a language
that you don’t know is that if what you say is wrong,
or the translation is off, people might put you down,
especially in the comments. I know this.
I’ve experienced it. Sometimes, the best thing to do
is to use your language. The language you’re comfortable with. And then, you know,
maybe caption the videos. Of course, not all deaf people
can read English fluently. That’s the way it is. So, sometimes, captions aren’t helpful, but that’s still more accessible
than no captions at all. For me, the language I use
depends on the video topic. If I’m talking about stuff like this,
I’m comfortable with using ASL. It’s not perfect, but I try. If I’m talking about technology or mental health, I don’t have the vocabulary for all of that. So why would I prefer to sign a video like that? That would be wrong and a bad idea. So that’s when I need English.
That’s how I communicate best. I say what I want to say best using English. If I was making videos in other languages
I don’t fully know, it would be wrong. I remember last year when I had
an interview withTim Cook. I cannot fingerspell O-O-K. I voiced and I had captions for me. I voiced and there were people
who ended up angry with me. There were comments saying
that I wasn’t deaf, asking angrily why I was speaking
and not signing at all. And I’m like… dude. That’s how I grew up. That’s what I know. The event wasn’t about how
one communicates- It wasn’t about how one communicates. It was an event about accessible technology. If I’m working, I’m going with
what I’m comfortable with. If I don’t, then I can’t do my job. But yeah, we’re just not all the same. Just like people with other disabilities are not the same. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s why I encourage everyone,
deaf, disabled, whoever, everyone of different experiences to share their stories. Upload a video, write it, whatever. We need to talk about these different experiences. That’s important. I use both ASL and English in my life, but I’m still going to be most comfortable with English. I mean, I’ve only been using that
language for about 26 years now. I’ve been using ASL for only about 3. But I’m also in a hearing dominated environment. Very few deaf people around me all the time. That’s just what I’ve been thinking about. Again, the point is to use
whatever is comfortable. If you were mainstreamed and only speak, that’s your story and your experience. You should share that if you want. Don’t be scared to share that. If you use ASL or whatever sign language- there’s a lot of different sign languages- then use that! We all need to share our stories. Not everyone speaks,
not everyone signs. Share your stories. Thank you for watching.
I’ll see you later, bye.

45 Replies to “Why Some Deaf People Speak And Don’t Sign (American Sign Language Vlog)”

  • This video is significantly less of an actual and direct response video to Cheyenna and more of a general discussion that has been in the making since the opportunity with Apple and Tim Cook and even before that. Cheyenna’s video was more of the light bulb moment that I needed in order to finally make this video. This is something that has been on my mind for years now, dealing with people telling me and other deaf people that they should be signing, not speaking. I wasn’t able to do it in time for this video launch, but I will be writing an article/blog post about this that will go more in depth. This just adds to my list of why ASL videos are hard for me- I repeat too much of one thing and don’t get all of my thoughts down correctly because I can’t express myself as well as I would like and I actually end up forgetting what I say more when I’m signing it.



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  • Ahh, am I the first one?! I love you so much!! You've inspired me to sign again, I stopped signing after a friend of mine who was deaf had passed away in a crash, but now I'm signing and making new friends. (I can hear but prefer signing.)

  • Hey, Im so happy I found your channel!! we need more people like you on YouTube. I started learning sign language last year. I used to have a deaf friend at primary school and she taught me the abecedary, since then I have been in love with signing but never had the chance to learn it since now.
    You are incredibly beautiful, keep on with your wonderful work. I send you many many kisses from Argentina <3

  • Before I start I am 100% a supporter and cheerleader. You are probably aware this. I can see that you are not a disciplined signer, aka you are signing lazy. an example is when you sign year. Thats something else that you should work. I can be lazy too. And totally work on building vocab. Thats something I am working on as well. When comparing your signing to the captions I can think of different way to sign things that make it a bit more accurate. With that said. Your doing awesome keep up the hard work. Go Rikki, GO!

  • Love the bottom line: share your stories in whatever way you are most comfortable. As someone who's been following you for a while and appreciate your drive to increase accessibility on YouTube I'd say you're doing a wonderful job with it. Best of luck increasing your vocabulary. As I say in a lot of my videos "English is hard guys."

    Do you suppose there's a reason why signing deaf YouTubers prefer to create content on Facebook? Is their captioning system a bit better than YouTube's?

  • I wish people transcribed captions in every video, including hearing. It makes it easier to register in my mind.

  • I learned two languages Tagalog and English as a kid
    As of now I use Taglish(Taglog & English) to communicate with my friends
    (Even tho Tagalog is my first language my still bad at it, speaking and writing)
    But with new people I met, I often call out or FAQ Why you do talk like that(on Group Chat)
    I find it demoralizing

    Ok I didn't knew about "Not all Deaf people can read English Fluently"
    Know I fully understand why ASL Grammar is not the same as English

  • You are doing so great while you are comfortable by speaking English and I still read caption when you speak but I need to improve my English language , I am proud of you that you still continue to learn ASL as well as you can . I think you should have sign language books that they help you to understand better . I hope the galluadet ASL book is good for you . Have a great day .

  • If I lived nearby, I would be more than happy to hang out with you so you can be better at signing. 💕 I am more of a PSE than ASL, though.

  • I'm brazilian and lost my hearing (moderate to severe) when I was 14. I also growed up mainstreamed so can speak very well, just like you. I prefer to speak only in portuguese (our language) and I dont know LIBRAS (our official sign language), maybe a few words. I dont have any deaf friends and everybody who I met is hearing. it's difficult to learn because I'm very busy at all and I cant practice to use with anyone. I feel more comfortable speaking english than sign language, it's weird, unfortunately.

  • Love this. I think it's important to encourage everyone, deaf or hearing, with whatever THEY want to learn. I've heard of deaf people being criticized for wanting to learn to speak. I love both your speaking and signing videos! Need to push myself to caption all my videos though I really dislike how YouTube's system works.

  • This was a really interesting video for me. I'm so interested in making sure my daughter has both spoken and sign in her life so she can grow and be a part of whatever culture she wants.

    She has no desire to sign though. It's hard. We got a cochlear for her because she was so anxious not hearing things. She could hear when she was born and was losing it and that made her upset that she couldn't hear us anymore. Signing just wasn't what she wanted, but now that she has a cochlear she wants less to do with learning ASL.

    I still try but I'm alone in learning it. I'd force her to sign sometimes and take off the cochlear but I never want her to feel like she's being put in a situation she doesn't like.

    Hopefully more people will share their stories so people can understand and support one another.

  • I like this post a lot because I grew up Mainstream as well didn’t learn ASL til College so I use English and ASL but since my family is Hearing I use English but when I am with Deaf I sign pretty good so don’t worry abt people judging you , you use what you prefer eventually ASL vocabulary will grow but it take time

  • One of my professors in grad school was deaf. She grew up speaking because her parents had very recently emigrated from the Philippines and were just learning English when they had her. It was a lot to ask for them to learn two new languages at the same time. She didn't feel like she missed out at all, but she agrees that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone.

  • I recently signed into twitch not sure what's your account… but I followed a few ppl there already–still new there as well.

  • Love your videos my friend showed you to me because is wants to be a interpreted and I am not deaf but some how I am really good at reading lips so she will sign and I will just read her lips and I a the only friend that can read lips good

  • Just wanted to say thanks Rikki I follow you here on YT and on FB. Thanks for sharing your story.
    I'm one that speaks. I went deaf overnight (SSHL) almost 2 years ago. I had one sided deafness before that and was told I would probably lose the hearing in my better ear from Meniere's disease. Just finished my first ASL class last month, will be taking another class this fall. Hoping to expand my vocabulary over the summer also. Bought some ASL flash cards and will be using the web to study up (lifeprint, Hand Speak, Signing Savvy) and of course keep following my fellow deaf youtubers.

  • Im actually learning ASL currently it's really a beautiful language and it sometimes remember all the different movements and how not to confuse them so i agree go with the language your comfortable with

  • Until watching this video I thought I kept alot of what I learned in my ASL class in High School, I didn’t. Unfortunately the teacher was unable to even finish the year and the school did not replace her. I would love to relearn and advance further as well. I am hearing, but always had a distinct interest in learning this language.

  • Interesting thought – do you think it’s easier to find speaking deaf youtubers because they end up better promoted by YouTubes algorithms?

    I can see how it might happen. Turning on the captions needs you to know how (and people are lazy). Reading is more difficult (and people are lazy). When you’re reading you can take in less of everything else in the video, I suspect you get a similar effect watching a film although I think with more practice people could work out how to better read the captions and watch the video. All of these together could lead to reduced video interaction and therefore less focus from the YouTube algorithm. Any thoughts? How could you even it up if it was an algorithm based issue?

  • YouTube gave me the notification for this 3 hours ago when it was uploaded 2 days ago…. thanks YouTube!

  • I just finished my first year of asl and i know a few signs probably about 50 but i still cant just sign to people right off the bat. Unless i have a quick reponse in mind. I starr my 2nd year in 2 more months and im kinda nervous because my asl teacher next year will be fully deaf so i cant explain to him or her what i need to do sooo imma keep practicing… wish me luck & i do to you

  • Are you going to VidCon later this month? I would love to see you do an in person collab with Jessica Kelgren-Fozard! You two did a distance collab on Christmas signs in ASL v BSL a year or 2 ago 🙂

  • I actually love the signed videos because it gives me a chance to see ASL – I only know Auslan.
    On a different point, my government has reduced the cost of sign languages courses from $2500 to $250! So excited to actually take official courses that may lead to interpreter status.

  • Very nice video! But I have a question… How do you speak, I mean, emmit sounds if you can´t hear it?

  • Hi Rikki, I love your video!, I'm not very good at signs either, but I am currently learning ASL to focus work on my improve signs. My parents does not know signs but a bit. they give me a cochlear implant and speech. ( I don't like speech therapy )

  • Rikki,
    I am so glad I found your channel. I am hearing, but I have many deaf relatives. I have been signing and finger spelling since I was very young and continued my ASL education through college. I have both speaking and non verbal deaf family members. I have been involved with a deaf community ever since my grandparents (who are deaf) joined. I love the culture and I love learning new things about the deaf community. I am currently teaching my boyfriend ASL so he is able to communicate with my family. Thank you for making these videos. <3

  • Thank you for creating this video. I just started learning how sign even though I was diagnosed deaf at the age of 2. I did received hearing aids but that didn’t work so I got a cochlear implant at 4 instead. I never really considered myself as a deaf person because I lived all my life as a hearing person. I’m so thankful for the support I got or else I wouldn’t be where I am. But sometimes, I do wonder what I would be like if I was in a deaf community. Because at the end of the day, I don’t hear like a average person. I still have trouble having conversations with people in a loud setting or sometimes at home. I misheard so many things at college and work. I just feel like I’m constantly putting extra work in everything I do just so I can try to live like a hearing person. People say I talk like a normal person but idk, I just don’t feel like I connect with anyone that I know that I can relate too. I’m so glad to find this channel and hopefully I can find some relief in my time.

  • Question, I'm not deaf but the sign really fascinates me.. I'm bilingual and sometimes I think in another language, my question is.. For people how sign at most (so no your case) they think in sign as well? That really interesting

  • Captions are amazing on videos. I'm hard of hearing and deaf in one ear. I never got taught in ASL. I was mainstreamed my whole life so I never got to learn ASL.

  • I don't know if you'll respond, but for the deaf people that do speak; how do they know which sounds they are emitting is what they want to say?

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