There have not been any new videos the last few weeks because of a trip to Costa Rica. I was there working with a deaf church and learning Costa Rican sign language.
The language is very similar to ASL in its construction. I felt like I understood the vast majority of what was said the first day I arrived. However, as time went on, I was surprised to look at a list of 400 signs and see that about 60% of them were different (I haven’t actually counted the percentage, but it was more than half). I was engaged freely in conversation and communicated very well with the Deaf I met.
I think the key to understanding and making myself understood was to not get wrapped up in the exact meaning of individual signs. I allowed my new friends to talk with me without trying to stop them at every word I did not know. Though I missed some details in what they said in the first few days, I understood their stories enough to quickly build my own vocabulary.
By the time I left I had preached in the deaf church and had spent hours in conversation with the Costa Rican Deaf that I met.
The purpose of telling you this is to encourage you to not get caught up on the details when your main goal is to communicate. Obviously you need to learn as many signs as possible when you are first starting. However, you can also enjoy the company of people long before you have an extensive vocabulary. Don’t be afraid to engage people in conversation just because you won’t understand every word. This is a good time to work on your facial expressions and body language skills.
A new video should be available within a few days. Though I am going to try to maintain a weekly schedule, I will be traveling quite a bit the next two months. The videos will certainly take on a different look. Enjoy the change of background…or at least try to forgive me if things look a little rough.