In the Gordon B. Hinckley Building room 286, students gather together every Tuesday night from 7 to 8 p.m. to communicate via American Sign Language. The ASL Workshop provides a crash course for students looking to further their abilities to communicate with those who are hearing impaired.
The workshop began with Davin Glenn, a freshman studying public health, leading the class review of last week’s lesson. He used a slideshow of words to help remind the students. Glenn signed to the class as everyone else signed along with him. Glenn not only demonstrated the words but also used them in sentences and commonly used phrases.
After finishing the review, Glenn turned the class over to Christine Peterson, a junior studying horticulture, who showed the students the new words and phrases for the week.
“We begin with the ABC’s and numbers, and then we teach words used in normal conversation,” Peterson said.
The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, or the N.I.D.C, compares ASL with spoken languages, saying spoken American English and ASL are completely separate and distinct.
According to the article, “(ASL) contains all the fundamental features of language, with its own rules for pronunciation, word formation, and word order.”
After Peterson ran through the new list of words and phrases, she turned the time over for the class to practice in pairs or groups.
“There are usually two or three words I don’t know,” said Gabe Griener, a freshman studying computer science. “I come for a refresher.”
Griener picked up ASL during his mission in Rochester, New York. He noticed how faithful attendees who actively participate have learned ASL with no prior knowledge.
After ten minutes, Peterson informed the group that the last exercise of the night is ASL telephone. ASL telephone is where two lines form, facing away from Peterson. Peterson signed a sentence to two students in the front of each line. The participants in the line then turned around one by one to pass the message along. Peterson received the messages from both lines, then she read back the final messages from the two lines. The students erupted in laughter as the game repeated twice.
“I think more people should know sign language,” Peterson said.
The iSign ASL Workshop welcomes students of all levels from beginner to expert. The workshop is to help BYU-Idaho students communicate better with hearing-impaired individuals.