Since Autumn I’ve been enrolled in a British Sign Language course, every wednesday I’m learning to talk with my hands. I was largely driven to sign up (see what I did there?) because it became clear very quickly that Louis was leaving me in the dust when it came to signed vocabulary.
Oho, it’s like that is? Right you little bugger, I shall hereby be invoking the fact that I have more disposable income than you, the ability to focus for an entire evening’s nightclass and I don’t have to go to bed at half past eight.
Hah. Scoring points over pre-schoolers. Check me out.
I’m moving on, making progress and can now just about hold a conversation. As long as what we’re discussing isn’t too complex.
My first exam focussed on introducing myself and talking about my pets, my family and their hobbies.
While I passed, as far as I can tell I’m now able to hold a sign language conversation with someone along the lines of a nutter on a bus.
HELLO MY NAMES KAL YOUR NAME WHATS HELLO PLEASED TO MEET YOU MY DAD HAS GREY HAIR HE’S TALL LIKE ME THE SAME AS ME BUT MY MUM IS SHORT I LIVE WITH MY FLATMATES THEIR NAMES ARE DIGITALKATE AND DIGITALSEAN AND DIGITALLOUIS AND FLATMATEDALIAH I WORK FOR AN AMBULANCE I DRIVE AN AMBULANCE I LIVE IN EDINBURGH DO YOU LIVE IN EDINBURGH? I LIVE NEAR THE PARK IN EDINBURGH. MY SHIRT IS BLACK. MY FRIEND HAS A CAT IT IS BLACK.
Frost meets Nixon, it ain’t.
Last week I realised a few things. First of all I’ve passed the point where I need to look at my hands to finger-spell and there are certain signs are now so ingrained in my head I’ve passed the point where I have to ask “why is that the sign for this word?” It just is. That’s how you sign that word.
This has its disadvantages, however. As I learn more signs which increasingly overlap each other in their style, it leads to some difficult misunderstandings.
Such as when Alan, my tutor was discussing unemployment with us the other day and he told us that “EDINBURGH BIG UNEMPLOYMENT. PROBLEM PROBLEM. MANY YELLOW PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED. YELLOW PEOPLE CAN’T GET A JOB IN EDINBURGH.”
I was unaware of the racism that was rife through Edinburgh until I asked him, slightly shocked, to repeat himself.
And realised he was discussing how difficult it was for YOUNG people to get jobs.
SO….yeah…a bit of work to be done yet, I think.