asksilentknight

asksilentknight:

Oh, sure! I have some tips!

  1. Make sure to learn the alphabet! Some things don’t have a specific sign, and have to be spelled out. Names are always spelled out. 
     
    Not to mention, if you get stuck and don’t know a sign, you can fingerspell it out and ask them.imageimageimage(This is cat, by the way. Like miming a cat’s whiskers.)
     
    It works the other way, too! If someone uses a sign you don’t know, you can stop and ask them what it means, and they can spell it back to you.  imageimageimage(That’s “name”, by the way. Useful for introducing yourself.)
     
    If they fingerspell it too fast for you (and they probably will, if you’re a beginner), you can ask them to sign it again, or to sign it slower
     
  2. DON’T keep your face blank! Expression is everything! Sign Language uses expression the same way spoken language uses tone, or written language uses punctuation. So if you’re asking a question, you have to show it on your face!imageimage
  3. When someone else is signing, don’t look at their hands - look at their face! It might feel weird at first, but it’s the right way to do it. (Also, trying to follow someone’s hands with your eyes gets really tiring after a while…)
  4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! And don’t be upset if someone corrects you. You’re probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel really lost at first - don’t hesitate to ask to have something signed again or to have something clarified. If you get really stuck, try writing what you want to say on paper or typing it on your phone. 
  5. Practice, practice, practice! There are a several online ASL dictionaries (though typing it into a search engine will usually bring up results too,) and there are probably a few books in your library to check out (though make sure to check the copyright date - it’s an evolving language, and some signs can get outdated pretty fast.) Here’s a tool to help practice fingerspelling, and here’s 100 first signs - a good starting point. And here’s an article called How to Behave Politely When Hanging Out with Deaf Friends. 

Just be nice and friendly the same way you usually are when making friends. Good luck!image((EDIT: changed some of the word order since i apparently got it backwards, oops))