Friday, July 21, 2006

Working with the deaf

I've been asked to share some insights of working with the deaf.
I will speak of my own experience and by no means am making a blanket statement about ALL the deaf -
People often will ask me if the deaf we work with sign English or Spanish. The thing is that we sign Sign. Their second language is English or Spanish, and their first is Sign. It is different and to sign word for word is difficult to understand and not their native language.
For example: if a deaf person read "The man with the dog is sick" the first thing they might understand is that the dog is sick. Because signed out - the syntax of that - would make the dog sick.
So when I sign worship for the deaf here on Sundays, I don't do word for word, because, even though it might look pretty, it would make little sense to the deaf.
For example: there is a song in Spanish that says "To Him that robes me in power, to Him that is my victory, only Him will I praise, only Him will I exalt"
When I sign it I sign: "You give me power, you give me victory, only you praise, only you praise".
See the difference? And this is one of the favorites of the deaf to do, because they get it!
I go for clarity, I go for the gist of it, and I go for understanding.


Rhonda said...

Great, great, keep'em coming!

Do you have to teach some of them ASL or do they already know it?

Is there a sign for "mercy" ?
Thanks and more questions come.


sarahgrace said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

Interesting explanation. My kids asked me this week if sign language "came in different languages." I told them I didn't think so, but was not sure.

Eagles Wings said...

That is like so awesome, I tripped onto your website through BooMama, through another website on the tour of homes,
Anyway was reading your profile and thought the same thing, do you sign in Spanish? Too funny how our brains think and then I scrolled down in your blog.
That has got to be so awesome. I took ASL in college to interpret for the deaf but did not follow through with it because it was so hard to interpret....

Are you there with a church or missionary group?