As these past few days the weather has been rather inclement, with a pale sun shyly peeping out of the clouds’ layers for just the blink of an eye before being engulfed once again in a leaden grey, I have barely moved from my on campus accomodation.
So, I happen to spend most of the time in the Reading Room, where some of my Singaporean friends are busy studying for their upcoming exams. As I have finished all my assignments, I try to lend them a hand with memorising the tons of information they have to cram in. I say ‘try’, because only now and then I actually manage to understand what they’re racking their brains over. My own Humanities and Social Studies mindset versus their Health Sciences one causes my brain cells to endlessly bump into each other or get lost into “looping” streams of thought in a mad scramble to try and find a “neuron-hold” strong enough to help me help them. Therefore, sometimes or, as soon as someone finds an allegedly plausible reason, in this Room full of chemistry, biology, psychology formulas and notions flying around, a break is frantically welcomed. Now, when break time comes, we have different “activities” on our pastimes list. The ‘Five Stones’ game (see previous post) is only one of these while learning the American Sign Language (ASL)* is fast becoming a popular one.
I don’t exactly recall how we came up with it, but before we knew it we were practicing ‘fingerspelling’. As for myself, I have always been fascinated with sign language in general. As a child I would find hands motions, fingerspelling and suchlike both mysterious and funny. Then, growing up, I really understood their significance. Coming across movies with ‘deaf’ characters** has further stirred my interest, but I never found the “right” time to have a go at learning it. Now, I finally have the time to do so (a tiny, silent little ‘thank you’ to the bad weather) and, a true bonus, likeminded friends to do it with and I’m truly enjoying myself.
This is not the place to write a dissertation on the subject but, if anyone is interested, the Wikipedia page on sign language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_language) is really well done and, if you want to start learning ASL on your own, Doctor Bill Vicars website (http://www.lifeprint.com/) is a gold mine for beginners.
*American Sign Language (ASL) : is one of the various sign languages used around the world; it is mainly used in the U.S. and Canada but to different degrees is present in other countries’ sign languages (Hong Kong, Singapore, Ghana,etc.). ASL is completely different from the British Sign Language (BSL) and is instead related to the French Sign Language (FSL). For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Sign_Language.