Gallaudet university, city of American Sign Language and Deaf culture (video in ASL w/ captions)

Uploaded by irishpolyglot on 03.08.2012

Hi everyone! This is Benny Lewis from Ireland - sign name [Benny]
When in Washington DC, I visited Gallaudet university.
This university focuses on educating the Deaf and hard of hearing,
classes are given in American Sign Language, as well as some in English.
When in Gallaudet, I met up with many Deaf people.
My ASL is pretty weak, but I used it to interview those here to learn about Deaf culture
They also shared the history of the university with me. Here it is!
For them, what’s your name?
My name is Beverly…. (is the camera on?)....Buchanan. People call me Bev. I’m from Canada.
So you work in the University? Can you tell us about the history--
History. About Gallaudet? Sure! I’ve worked at Gallaudet for around 18 or 19 years.
Gallaudet was founded in 1864. 100 before I was born, 1964.
So Abraham Lincoln signed the charter that set up this school.
It started with a small group of Deaf students.
From there it expanded to the approximately 1,500 students that is now. So it’s really growing.
I think many people live (their lives) in ASL.
At the restaurant, people eat and sign together. Gallaudet is like a Deaf city!
Yes, we have a word for that. Sometimes we call Gallaudet the Deaf Mecca.
You know, where all the Muslims go to pray?
Well Deaf people come here to interact with each other. It’s the Deaf Mecca.
How is Deaf culture different here?
When a Deaf person comes here, it’s wonderful…the communication is so openly accessible.
The policemen sign, the doctor signs, the teachers sign, everyone signs.
The communication is open here. It’s warm.
If some people are chatting over there you can watch but hearing…..
When you go outside, it’s a different world. It’s the hearing world.
We have to write. But here, we can sign. We don’t need to write anything.
I saw in this O-F-F-I-C-E
Bell. Yeah, with the light.
Because we can’t hear the bell so it flashes a light we can see.
Then we can help people at the front. It’s summertime now so it’s quiet.
In the fall, students work in the front to help serve the community and we don’t need to use the lights.
Yes, the lights are part of our culture.
Are there different universities for Deaf people? There aren’t so many?
Gallaudet is the only Deaf university in the world. The only one.
RIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York,
is a hearing school which has a subdivision called NTID, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
But it’s different here because everyone is Deaf.
Well we have a few graduate and undergraduate, or PHD hearing students. We’re open to anyone.
What about the students?
The hearing students? Undergraduate students need to know ASL before they come.
Deaf Ed Master’s students learn it here. People like you are welcome.
Thank you! Thank you for your time.
Any time. Nice to meet you. Take care.
What is your name?
I’m Alex Quaynor.
Because our students come from different cultural backgrounds, they use different languages, different sign languages.
Then they arrive here and learn a third language, which is ASL.
And then they learn a fourth language, which is English. Wow.
But our students are highly motivated. They work hard to succeed.
That’s true. Thank you.
My name is Julianna. Sign name [Julianna] . Nice to meet you all.
She抯 a reader of my blog.
American Sign Language is not the same sign language around the world
People around the world tend to think there’s only one sign language.
That ASL is used around the world by Deaf people. But that’s not true. There are many different sign languages.
That’s a really good point. So I’m curious, why did you learn ASL….American Sign Language….and not Irish Sign Language,
since you are from Ireland, right?
So you didn’t learn Irish Sign Language but American Sign Language. I’m curious why that is?
Irish Sign Language is small….
The community? The Irish Sign Language community is small? Not many people?
I don’t know. When I’m in Ireland, I want to improve my spoken Irish.
I see – you want to work on learning a new language. You can already speak English.
So this is another language to learn when in America. Oh, I see.
I also like Deaf culture. Deaf people ask questions very D-I-R-E-C-T.
Direct. Yeah, none of this beating around the bush. They’re straightforward.
Most American people tend to beat around the bush…
Yeah, I understand. That’s true. I prefer that people be direct, honest, clear. It’s true.
Oh, did you know, in Deaf culture, if you meet someone, say a friend,
that you haven’t seen in a long time and they’ve gained weight—you mention it!
Hearing people are shocked by this. “Really? You can say that?” Sure, it’s fine, it’s acceptable. Yes, they’re very direct.
American sign language has visual words like ‘cat’. ‘turtle’...
Bird. I know these. Many words are not visual. When, what, etc.
Yes, ASL has both. Visual signs like turtle where you can see the head peeking out from under the shell,
and other signs like “where”, don’t really look like their meaning. So you’re right.
Some people think ASL only has the kind of signs that are visually recognizable. But that’s not true for all of them.
I’m more curious about…well in English we say “What is your name?” And in ASL “YOUR NAME WHAT?”
In ASL, what is your favorite sign? Which word? Maybe you haven’t learned it yet?
My favorite sign is bad.
Oh, it’s a curse word. I see.
Go ahead, it’s fine. I don’t care.
You want to see?
Sure. Deaf people are direct. It’s fine.
Good one.
I prefer people are not exposed to that first but…when people learn a language they always ask about the curse words first.
In any language. It’s very visual. Yeah.
What’s your favorite sign?
My favorite sign is AWKWARD, because it is so visually appropriate to the meaning.
You know what it means, AWKWARD? A person who is not very skilled socially or is clumsy.
AWKWARD. It’s very clear and expressive and fun to sign.
I need to learn and practice my ASL. Now I see it’s a big language.
You know, many people don’t think ASL is a language. A while back, people thought it was the same as English, just visual.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that people realized ASL has its own linguistic structure! A rich, complex structure that could be analyzed.
Wow. Many people still don’t realize it’s a language of its own, with its own rules and not just English with your hands.
Do people ask you about that?
ASL, for me, is a better language than English.
Haha! I agree. I agree. Really, there are some things I can only express in ASL.
I try to say them in English and I’m not successful. ASL is the best form of expression.
How do Deaf people use the phone? The videophone! I dial a number with this remote.
An interpreter appears on the screen, or a Deaf friend or relative and we can chat visually. It’s fun to use!
Now I’m with Victoria.
Victoria. This is my sign name.
You are a student here.
Yes, I have been a student at Gallaudet University for a while---
I started school again recently last fall. I am majoring in English and Theatre.
I’ve been here for one week and I’ve met many people. I chat with them for one minute and they hug me, it’s great!
Yes, Deaf people like hugs. Yes. They’re very friendly.
Every day when I meet other Americans, they shake hands [aloofly]. It’s better with Deaf people.
I agree.
I want to come back to Gallaudet later to improve my ASL and meet many more signers.
Great. I’m glad.
Thank you.
One more thing. I think you have communicated well with sign so far. You’re good.
You’re doing well with sign. Two thumbs up!
Thank you. Bye!