It is the third week that I have been teaching myself ASL. I am enjoying myself. I think learning a new language is fun and even more so when I can do it at my own pace. I remember taking Spanish in high school and, even though it is the language of my culture, I did not enjoy it so much. Learning Spanish is not at all what I expected and it was pretty much just learning verb tenses, I never really learned anything about having an actual conversation with people.
Learning ASL, I can go at my own pace and go back if I need to. I had gone back to fingerspelling from last week because I had not quite gotten the alphabet down and recognizing them from memory. I sometimes mix the letters up, which is not hard since they can all be done on one hand. Some of the letters are easy because it is just like writing them, like the letter “C,” which would just be made by cupping your hand sideways. Others are more difficult because they are not at all what you would expect. However, I am getting faster at spelling my own name and I can remember what the sign is for each letter. I found that learning this language is not as bad as I had expected. I learned that in ASL there are not really different tenses for verbs so there is less pressure of making the wrong sign or remembering them all. I really like how the lessons are made. I am introduced to new words in every lesson and am given phrases that they are used in and shown how to implement them. At the end of the lessons I am given a story or two to practice. These stories are pretty simple to read and only use the words and phases I have learned. Sure it is easy for me to read each of these stories in about 2 minutes or so but getting through them entirely in ASL take significantly longer. These sorties also have me practicing fingerspelling and even give instructions on signing specific things. There are also discussions at the end of each lesson. These discussions are from people who are also learning to sign and have questions. I find it helpful to look through these and see if any of my unknown questions are answered. They can also sometime clear up anything I was confused about. I think my signing still needs a lot of work and I find myself needing to review a lot. I think going back and mastering the basics would help me to move forward quicker.