Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sign Language & Hillary Clinton

My DS & DIL got to see Hillary Clinton today! Actually my DIL did the interpreting for her (sign language aka ASL), how cool is that? She interpreted for Obama a couple of months back. In the past she has had the opportunity to meet & interpret for a wide variety of famous people, everybody from Lily Tomlin to Billy Graham! It's really interesting to listen to her tell about what those people were like.

DIL and DS taught taught me a few signs before their wedding so I could introduce myself (about half the guests there were deaf and communicated via ASL) but I would like to learn a LOT more. I think it would be a handy thing to know how to do, not just when I'm with their friends but also in case the need arises.

When I was waiting for DH in the doctor's office the other day someone popped her head in and told the receptionist that there was an elderly couple outside that needed help but she didn't think they spoke English. A couple of the nurses went out and helped them. (It's a new medical office building but talk about poor planning - you have to walk about a mile (well maybe that's a slight exaggeration) to get from the parking lot to the specialist's office.

Anyway, the nurses went out with a wheel chair & brought the guy on in, his wife walking beside pushing his oxygen tank on wheels. After she signed him in & they sat down I noticed them talking to each other using ASL, so what the woman had thought was a couple not speaking English turned out to be a deaf couple.

Made me wish I could talk to them - they seemed so isolated - but somehow walking up to them & telling them whose mother I am didn't seem quite appropriate at the time. ;-) Since it had been over a year since I'd used the few signs I did know, I wasn't sure that I remembered them correctly & didn't want to screw up.

DS once referred to somebody as a hooker when he meant to say something else - just a difference in finger position can bring a whole new meaning to a sign. I figured this couple had been through enough already with trying to make it down the hall and then having to use the wheelchair and all without having some strange lady (me) come over and proposition them in the waiting room, so I just smiled and nodded and left it at that.


Brenda is SO Blessed said...

is it not just beautiful to watch though? i went to a national church convention a few years ago and could not listen to the speaker for watching the interpreter. it's like dancing with their hands or something. i did take a ASL class two years go but didnt learn enough to be usefull---just enough to want to know more. is someone in your family hearing impaired/

Sherri said...

My sister does sign language and taught my son a few things, but I don't know what he remembers. She has some deaf friends. I'm sure it is a bit isolated. I know a young girl from the theater that is going to college for ASL degree. She says she will probably interpret for a job.

VexedAngel said...

I love ASL--we have a couple signers at church, and one of them just pours her heart into it--you can tell it is an act of worship for her (interpreting the songs)... and it is just beautiful.

I am planning on taking classes in it once I am done with grad school.

VexedAngel said...
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{b r a n d i} said...

I love sign language! I took a SEE2 class in college (Signing Exact English). Similar to ASL but slightly different. I'd love to learn ASL...I have no clue who I would use it with since I don't know anyone who signs, but I think it's awesome. I remember a few things from the class I took but not enough.