Friday, March 20, 2009

ASL Poetry Rocks! (an off topic post)

Since Wednesday's post was pretty, ahem, depressing and my other recent posts have been a little dry I decided to go off topic today. So what kind of randomness awaits you? ASL Poetry.

Ever since I first dabbled in Sign Language (which was, holy cow, over three years ago) I have been keenly interested in ASL Poetry. In my first Sign Language group they didn't have a lot of information for me. This is probably because that group used a lot of Sign Exact English (SEE), which isn't actually a language. SEE is transliterated English--which is different from ASL because ASL has its own grammar, style, dialects, and other distinct linguistic features.

Back to ASL poetry. ASL poetry intrigues me because I love the visuals of ASL. To me, hearing girl that I am, ASL seems a little more nuanced while still being explicitly expressive. Because of the way ASL incorporates the body expression and feeling are very powerful--especially in the hands of a poet.

Since I am back in ASL classes, with a real ASL teacher this time (any friends want to come? You can still join and the price is super-reasonable.), she recommended I look up some stuff on Youtube. I loved what I found so much I just had to share some with you!

The first one is an ASL version of the Beyonce song, "If I Were a Boy"--cause you all know how much I inexplicably love that song. It is set to music which is really helpful for us hearing folks, but the woman is still using ASL. Not SEE. You'll notice there are no signs for to, the, and other little English words that don't exist in ASL. She also has a lot of attitude--which is awesome.

This next one is an actual ASL poem, called "ASL Bully", written by Jon Savage. Just to give you an interpretational hint, the guy in the white shirt is using SEE and the guy in the black shirt is using ASL. Enjoy! (Oh, by the way, my ASL is still pretty limited so if any of you know more ASL than me--which isn't hard to do--I apologize if there are cuss words in this.)

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