45 | Sign a Song

You know how when you go to buy a blue car and you suddenly start seeing blue cars every-freaking-where? It’s not that there are suddenly more blue cars on the road, you’re just noticing them more. You’re tuned in. Aware.

That tends to be the case for a lot of things, but then sometimes the universe is kind enough to pepper whatever circles you travel in with a little more of the things you need. As was the case when this gem showed up in my RSS feed last week:

Direct link for the feed readers: ASL Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know”

Isn’t that awesome?!

And if you click through to some of the other videos, there are plenty by the interpreter in the video, Azora Telford (there’s a great interview about creating the video over at Planet DeafQueer), and others that are just phenomenal. They’re also a great example of the non-fingerspelling side of sign language. Knowing the alphabet is one step, but fingerspelling everything would take a long time to get anywhere, so single and combination signs have been devised to make communication easier, though it’s truly a lot to learn!

For an idea of the types of signs that are out there, you can see video demonstrations over at the ASL Pro Dictionary. Some signs are fairly intuitive–like those that point to a part of the body or, like in the video above, the sign for “know” that pantomimes the tapping of the head (you’ve probably used a similar gesture when you’re talking to someone and can’t quite remember whatever it is you’re trying to think of)–while others might take a little more thinking to really grok. (Check out the sign for Xerox, for instance). Of course, if you’d like to learn ASL in a more formal way, there are courses available online at ASL University (including some free lessons if you just want to check them out). I’m not affiliated with any of these sites, I’m just offering them in case anyone wants to dig a little deeper on their own.

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