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Without words

Puzzling words, Soul Collage

Puzzling words, Soul Collage

If a picture paints a thousand words, so why can’t I paint you? The words will never show the you I’ve come to know,  the opening lyrics from a popular song sung by Bread back in the 70’s. Though words can say many things the true meaning may not be expressed. Working with the deaf I found that signing can paint a 1,000 words. The emotions, body language and the flow say so much more than mere words. Learning to sign was often confusing because it is a language of the self. No two people sign the same. Guess that is true of the hearing if you have a New Yorker and a South Georgia Southern Belle in the same room together, those two do not sound the same. Hearing people sometimes do not speak in the way the message was intended. It can shew the meaning. With the deaf, you know exactly the emotion behind the message. I appreciated their free flow of emotion during conversations because I was never confused about their intent.

Did you know that there are over 48 different meanings to the word, “run?” You can run for office. Run your hose. Run to the store. I think you get the idea. In sign language there are 48 different signs unless you are using Signed Exact English. I could speak the sentence in the same tone every time and the context my shew the meaning of which “run” I was using if the listener wasn’t familiar with the situation. In sign the body language and expression make if very clear which one I was using. Just got to love ASL!

If you are not familiar with Soul Collage, please investigate. It is a wonderful process of allowing the mind to grab pictures to paint thoughts. My experience with Soul Collage has opened a new world of understanding of my inner thoughts. I cruise magazines and the internet with no real intention other than grabbing imagines of interest at that moment. They come together on a card in what ever fashion seems to work. Afterwards I look to see what story my collection has to tell. Often I am very surprised because I go at it with a blank slate. The one featured came about one day after my ASL assessment. I was having a very frustrating moment with my signing. The deaf could understand me fine but the ASL evaluators who were hearing had issues. Have decided that hearing folks should not evaluate other hearing during assessments of ASL. The deaf were surprised at my score. No doubt my inner most emotions were at play when this Soul Collage was created.

Explore sign language. Babies as young as 5 months can learn to sign. It will reduce a lot of frustrations. Also, explore Soul Collage. You will be surprised how the pictures will communicate your inner thoughts you could not put into words. This too will reduce frustrations.

 

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Sassafras Mittens

For the other story:

WHERE DID SASSAFRAS GET ITS  MITTENS?
Persian and Flemish  Folklore
Long, long ago, the first people began  life as a double tree. God separated the two trees, gave them souls, turned the  branches into arms and legs, and made the crowns into heads filled with the gift  of knowledge. Other trees also wanted to become people. They tried, but didn’t  make it. However, some of their leaves, like sassafras’, are shaped like human  hands, showing our link to trees.
Just love folk

Tree Tales

lore and tales!!

What stories have been passed down in your family? Which stories do you recall from your childhood that you can share with someone today? What made hearing those stories as a child so interesting that they stayed with you as an adult?
Watching a good story-teller is a treat. I mentioned in an earlier blog about deaf storytellers and how one could understand them by their use of body movements and expressions. I think that is true of both hearing and deaf story tellers, the body language brings the story to life as well as an unforgetable experience. So, what is your story?

 

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A story without words

English: "American Sign Language" in...

English: “American Sign Language” in SignWriting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ha! Guess you thought this would be an empty blog. Is it possible to tell a story without words? Some people believe a picture paints a thousand words but the story  would be derive from the viewer’s own experiences. So back to the question, can you tell a story without words? Yes.

The most beautiful and detailed stories can be told without a single spoken word. I have been blessed over the years to work with the deaf. If you have never experienced a deaf storytelling event then you have missed out on one of the most incredible events of your life time. A good deaf story-teller doesn’t require those present to know sign language. Their body and motions engulf you in the moment transporting you to places that only a deaf storyteller can.

Sign language is a beautiful language. It truly is a language, not a few short hand signals that make up a sentence. Just like us Southerners, when certain deaf chat, they have their own short cuts. If you have ever heard Jeff Foxworthy, then you know what I mean. Southerners have a way of condensing  sentences to a mess of vowel sounding representations for various phrases. I cannot even begin to attempt to spell it. I urge everyone to take the challenge to learn a few signs so if you meet up with a deaf person you can at least have a conversation. Plus, there are many benefits to learning sign that you can use daily.

Did you know that babies can sign as early as 6 months? An infant can be taught to sign some basic signs starting at birth. I have seen 6 to 8 month olds asking for food, acknowledging pain, and even using the sign for mom and dad long before they say their first words. Babies who sign early are less frustrated, same can be said for the parents. Trying to figure out why a baby is crying is quite a task for some. It also helps develop a part of the brain which gives a child a boost later in life. Only positive gains in teaching your infant to sign.

Kids with learning challenges can learn to sign to boost spelling and reading.  Learning the sign language alphabet and using it to study spelling words has shown to improve struggling spellers. I have had personal experience with this  as a special education teacher, as a parent of a child with challenges, and for me personally.

I need to note there are various types of signing. Signed Exact English has a sign for every word and follows the same grammar rules as we speak.  American Sign Language which has its own syntax and grammar rules.  Some folks simply gesture as a means of signing. A good resource about signing can be found below in the links.

Some people think that sign language cannot be in written form but that is not correct. The picture on this blog is how SignWriting would write “American Sign Language” in  form that deaf and hearing alike can understand. Please check out the site for more information. Once you learn the basic symbols you will find it is very easy to understand. Often facial inflections and other body motions are left off when people are being taught ASL, but with SignWriting, it captures it all. I found using SignWriting an easier way to pick up the signs because it is exactly the way the sign should be. Yes, even the deaf and those that sign  can be what I call, “whiny signers” or “fast flyers.” Either they are sloppy and floppy or their hands fly so fast it is nearly impossible to understand them. Hmmm, the same as with speaking, some are just a challenge to understand. It is best to be very clear in your signing because there is a slight twist in some of the signs for naughty words. Many are often very close to commonly used signs. Many deaf youngsters will use this against newbies to signing so let this be a warning.

You can never go wrong with learning a new language. The benefits of signing reach far beyond what you might think. Give it a try!

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