Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Everyone Should Learn Sign Language


I've thought this before, but it hit me again this morning. Every Tuesday this summer, I've been helping my dad work on their backyard. Today, we cut big landscape blocks in half. (BTW, 12-inch concrete saw with diamond blade? Awesome.) Being good little workers, we wore safety glasses and earplugs.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone while you're both wearing earplugs? Better yet, while a power saw is running? How much easier would it be if my dad knew sign language?

And that's not the only situation where it would be handy. Other times, my dad's been down in the walkout from the basement while I'm above in the backyard, and the A/C is running nearby. Very hard to hear what he's saying.

Then there's my favorite: restaurants. I love going out with deaf friends and colleagues. Doesn't matter how noisy it gets, conversation is still just as easy to follow. One time, there was a full mariachi band in the room, but we kept chatting away. No problem.

When I'm out with non-signers and the restaurant's noisy/the acoustics are lousy? All I can think is, "If only!"

Oh, and if you make the acquaintance of a deaf person (who signs)? Bonus! Easy communication.

To my international friends, though, sorry. Your sign language isn't my sign language, unless you're in Canada (but not Quebec). Yes, different countries have different sign languages. (I know this is a shocker to some.)

Can you guys think of any situations where it'd be nice if everyone involved knew sign language?


greenwoman said...

All I can think of is being a kid in church and wanting to talk but not being able to. That's probably not what you had in mind. :D

R.C. Lewis said...

Hehe ... Not in church, but during school assemblies, some of my coworkers and I will "sign in our laps" now and then. :-X

Denise said...

Rock concerts, plays and movies... basically any place that requires you to be quiet when you have a comment to make.

Since my parents are getting older and are losing their hearing from said rock concerts, it would be nice for them to know sign language so they aren't yelling at each other for misunderstanding one another.

R.C. Lewis said...

So very true, Denise. But movies are sometimes hard--so darn dark.

My mom's getting the same way. Not from rock concerts, though. Probably just age, genetics, etc. Definitely an "If only!" situation at times.

rc's dad said...

It was a 14" concrete saw...even awesomerer.

R.C. Lewis said...

I told you I'm terrible at spatial estimation.

Leah Petersen said...

I don't know sign language but my mother does. She taught us all the alphabet and we did use it during church, mostly. Like asking can I go to the bathroom when mom's on one end of the row and your four siblings are between you and her. ;)

It's great for across a room, too.

I've always wanted to learn sign language and have made several starts, but I don't live near anyone who uses it (that I know of, and it's a small town.) So I've learned a few things but never got very good at it since there was no one to talk to or practice with.

Tracy N. Jorgensen said...

I can only spell and do a few toddler level signs (did nursery for a child with deaf parents though the child was hearing). But my husband cannot spell at all. It's weird to me, because I try to spell a word to him when he can't hear and it's no use. I have to try to air write. And that's even worse!