By Juan Calvillo
The Modern Language Lab will be hosting an American Sign Language “Telephone Game” workshop today from 11:00 am to noon for current ASL students. Instructional Assistant at the Modern Languages Lab, Christine Chu said that the plan is to help students in ASL classes prepare for upcoming finals. Chu added that a secondary effect to the workshop is to raise awareness of the ASL communities culture for students on campus.
Chu said future workshops will be open to all students who want to come and experience the language and culture involved within the deaf community. Chu said that ASL gives those who use the language more connection to the people they use it with. Where normal talking is sometimes muddled with answering a phone or not making eye contact, ASL forces people to really take in the person who they are speaking with.
Chu said that knowledge and information for other types of languages and cultures is readily available on campus, but that it seems that the deaf culture and its community seems under represented. She said that if more people were to experience the language they would see it for what it is, poetry. “It’s very poetic in the way you express yourself. And to me it is the most expressive language because you have to use so much of your facial expression and your body language,” said Chu.
The workshop is being conducted by two ASL tutors, Joshua Barreras and Sandra Rubalcava. Barreras said that learning ASL became part of his personal development. He said that his first experience with ASL was somewhat by chance. Barreras said that he needed an additional class to be a full time student and retain his status as a student worker. Taking ASL introduced him not only to a new language but to entire new culture. “I thought it was really cool that you’re communicating without communicating, speaking,” said Barreras. He talked about how the workshop is made to help students enhance their receptiveness and their signing skills ahead of their finals. Barreras said, “I want to say sign is kind of underrated. It seems easy and fun looking, and it is. But it’s actually pretty difficult.” He said that the receptiveness and retention of the students is important when it comes to doing well in ASL.
Chu said that although this specific event is only for ASL students, that there are other ways for ELAC students to interact and learn more about ASL and the deaf culture. She said that if students are interested there are events such as ASL Poetry that have interpreters so that students can interact with ASL speakers.
Todays’ ASL “Telephone Game” workshop will take place at E3-170 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. For more information students should stop by the Modern Languages Lab.