July's ASL Journey

Some Insights and Reflections

It's been a little minute since I've updated this, so here we go.

I'm starting my journey into becoming an ASL Interpreter in a week (Jan 22) and I'd be lying if I said I'm not nervous. I'm not particularly nervous about the ASL part, because despite learning everything I know online, it's the general education classes that I'm nervous about. But nonetheless, it's still nerve-wracking.

I had a discussion with a coworker of mine in sign, who also knows ASL, about using "proper ASL," and it made me realize something. I really shouldn't keep retaining information from hearing people about this topic. I should be learning and understanding and talking about this sort of thing with real Deaf people.

We were talking about how I tend to stick with an English sentence structure when using ASL and how it's not "real ASL" to do so. Sure, I can understand that. But I learned about OSV and SVO in ASL recently and when applying it to my coworker's argument, it doesn't add up.

OSV (Object-Subject-Verb) is what's considered to be "topicalizing" your sentences. Think of it like this:

"Do you remember my car? I sold it." "That red sweater of yours? I put it in the wash." "Your doctor's appointment? I rescheduled it."

If you topicalized every sentence in English, you or the person you're talking to would go insane.

OSV is commonly mistaken as the "true way of using ASL." Lots of students and learners tend to think of the infamous store analogy of:

STORE(object) I(subject) GO(verb), WHY? BUY APPLE.

They see this analogy used all the time and think that OSV is how you're supposed to do it for every single sentence you say, when that's not even remotely true.

It's mentioned in the Linguistics of American Sign Language textbook that SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) is the most basic word order with transitive verbs in ASL.

I(subject) GO(verb) STORE(object)

English: "I'm going to the store."

Pretty damn simple, right?

My coworker's next argument was that I was using too much PSE(Pidgin Signed English; ASL signs used in the English word order) when signing.

I learned that you can switch between OSV and SVO structures depending on the context of your sentence. If it's in the past, use OSV. If it's in the present or future, use SVO.

So if I'm talking to you face-to-face about anything that's happening right now in this very moment, or anything that will happen, what's the difference in using PSE and ASL?

To my knowledge, there is none.

I'd also like to mention that I'm still a student and haven't even begun my courses yet. So if any Deaf or fluent signers disagree with me, please let me know. (Email)

Anyways, rant over. I'm excited to start learning everything with a fresh mind on the subject and to become my dream role.

Hopefully in the next couple weeks, I'll update this blog with what I've learned so far.

Thanks for reading :)

Cited: Subject-Verb-Object ASL Sentence Structure

#ASL #journal #journey