Study with me!
I signed up for this Gebaren Challenge (sign language challenge) on www.gebarenchallenge.nl, sign-up is currently closed but it reopens every February. This includes getting access to the online course material and receive a sign language explanation video every week, discussing 10 new signs, for 52 weeks in total.
So earlier this year I saw this ad on Social Media about (Dutch) sign language. I have always been interested in different languages (Asian languages mostly) and communication methods (like morse code, braille, etc) and yes, sign language has been high on the list as well!
I personally don’t have people close to me with hearing problems, but I have met them through business networking and work and since I am all about inclusion I figured learning sign language would be a fun activity and beautiful skill to have.
I shared it with my parents, and they got excited about it as well. The course has recently entered the 7th week, but we are running a bit behind (the first weeks got lost in my spam folder) so we plan on catching up by watching multiple videos per week.
We have finished weeks 1 and 2 which means we now officially know 20 signs (incl. synonyms we actually know 25!). And we are having fun with it already! My dad was lost for words once but could easily sign “coffee?” at my mom, and while talking to each other we insert signs for every word we now already know. With video-calling being more popular than ever before, we can easily sign at long distance as well.
I have studied various foreign languages and other subjects before but this is truly a unique experience. It is different from (i.e.) dance and different from language learning as well because you are actively linking physical movement to language. Since mouthing the words and mimicry plays an important role as well I feel like it would make you connect with what you are saying in a different way too.
I like it way more than I thought I would and look forward to the rest of the course. It is also a suprisingly fun activity to do with my parents, and it helps us connect in a whole new way!
I do not actually have a tangible reason for learning sign language, so fluency is not my goal at the moment. But I am feeling really good about being able to communicate with people who have hearing problems more easily now, I am bonding with my parents over something new, and I hope I can one day use these new skills in real life and make someone feel a bit more included and appreciated.
I am happy I finally took this step!