Its coming to the end of semester soon and i feel i have not understood fully the affect Sign language has in some people's lives.
I have decided to talk about each area that is outlined in my course information.
After reading this i hope you have a better understanding of Sign language and an overall picture of the contexts surrounding it.
To start of New Zealand sign Language is seen as one of the official languages of New Zealand. This is all outlined in the New Zealand sign language Act 2006. http://www.odi.govt.nz/what-we-do/nzsl/index.html
So i feel that the purpose of sign language is for communication. It is used for necessity and also for meaning. Without the use of sign language the deaf community would have no way of communicating with each others and other members of society therefore would not have much meaning in their life as they would not be able to communicate what they are doing.
Sign language is used allover the world yet NZ sign language is different from American sign.
Sign language helps the deaf community with their identity. They can identify with each other and communicate with each other. 'Deaf identify with other Deaf people because of shared experiences – communication barriers, issues, different needs and goals. As a group of people who respond to things visually, Deaf customs include various forms of artistic expression, such as signed poetry, story-telling and visual arts.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.) This language also helps them to communicate therefore identify with a wider community. There are groups and clubs for those that use sign language. Through the use of sign users can express themselves just how others express themselves through verbal words.
I am not sure how i feel I identify with sign Language presently. I am not sure how often i will use it yet i feel that once i am in the work place and have trouble communicating with a client then i will use it appropriately. I think that once i have used it in the workplace then i will identify with it in some way.
The technical aspects to sign language are rather simple. You need hands to create the signs, and rescorces to learn from weather this be a peer, book, internet or DVD.
There is no cost involved unless you are buying a book or DVD.
The main environments that i think people learn sign in is a classroom environment, weather this be at school or night classes. Otherwise i feel it would be in their own home.
'For the ten percent of Deaf children who are born to Deaf parents, NZSL is their first language. These children learn to sign from their parents; just as hearing, children learn spoken language from their hearing parents.
However, the majority of Deaf people (90 percent) are born to hearing parents and therefore do not acquire NZSL as their first language. While some hearing parents do teach their Deaf children NZSL, for the majority NZSL is learnt at a Deaf school and by interacting with other Deaf children and adults at Deaf education centres, clubs and other social or sports activities.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.)
It would be different learning in a classroom environment compared to at home as you would be interacting with others. When learning by myself at home i have not had anybody i can communicate my learning with whereas in a classroom environment you would have others interesting in learning the same skill that you can communicate with.
'A central part of the culture are Deaf clubs, where Deaf get together to pursue common interests. Here friendships are made and renewed and even romance blossoms. Deaf clubs exist all over New Zealand and provide a space in which Deaf culture thrives.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.)
Barriers and affordances. I feel as though i have faced many barriers when learning sign language but not many affordances. The main barrier i faced was time. Time is not something i have enough spare of. I would plan to learn some new signs but then something else would come up and need to be done. e.g finding a new flat. I think i may have been able to learn a lot more sign if i had set aside an hour a week and maybe gone to a class to learn therefore nothing else would be able to fill that time slot.
I would of liked to learn more sign in the time i had. i do know the alphabet so i can spell out words but it would be nice to have learn words. There is still so much to be learnt and to be able to communicate with someone else is a completely different story. I will always remeber the sign alphabet and i would love to enrol in a class once i am fully qualified to become an expert and then communicate with someone whose only language is sign.
Deaf Aotearoa (n.d). Facts about Deaf. Retrieved from http://www.deaf.co.nz/for-you/useful-info/facts-about-deaf