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Learn ASL

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2 hours ago, bigvince said:

I'd like to learn ASL, but don't see it as an option in JW Language. Can anyone suggest how/where it can be learned?

Hello Vince,

I do NZSL ... I downloaded sign languge videos from jw.org - front page further down it has a sign language option and it changes jw.org to sign language like it does other languages and just type in ASL.

I've learnt it different ways:

First thirty years ago via Jehovah's organization ... but in NZ - the powers who be- ignored the wants of the Deaf Community and introduced signs that were foreign to them - it was called 'Total Communication' aka TC. The society also introduced their own theocratic signs and that's what we learnt. It was based on a direct interpretation from the English vocabulary - which unbekown to them made it extra difficult for the Deaf Community as they didn't understand the semantics of the English language to begin with.


Since then, when NZSL became one of NZ's official languages, they listened to the Deaf Community and introduced THEIR language, the signs and manner in which they communicate and together they came up with a new SL - one that was accepted. While it still has accepted signs from TC - NZSL is a true interpretation of their language - so for me to tweak my signing I did a years course at UCOL - just once a week at night.


I also learnt from going to the NZSL official site where they have lessons for the general public - maybe they do this too with AL?

I also have a physical and online dictionary that helps me with signs I don't know. 

The rest is practice and then going through the channels of finding deaf ones, or moving to a congregation that has an established deaf community.


It's a fun language and the deaf have a wonderful sense of humour and once they accept you - a whole new world opens up.


Definitely worth doing. All the best.

<p>"Jehovah chooses to either 'reveal' or 'conceal' - cherish what he reveals and be patient with what he conceals."

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16 hours ago, bigvince said:

I'd like to learn ASL, but don't see it as an option in JW Language. Can anyone suggest how/where it can be learned?

It's not in JW language, but is in the JW library sign language app:




This won't teach you ASL, but all our videos and Bible are there.  As @Stormswift said, there are apps available to help you learn, but the best way is to be with the deaf, and, if possible, join a sign language group or Congregation.


I've had a similar experience in BSL, and it's great fun!

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I'm still learning ASL - but I find the more exposure to it, the better - for me anyway. Seems true too for my 2 girls that are learning it as well.

One of the "tips" given to me was to get the DVDs of the My Book of Bible Stories.

Play the DVD for the beginning & the 1st story daily for at least a week --- in this way:

Day 1 - Play DVD and just watch intently (do not try to follow along in the book) (do not have subtitles available & no closed captioning either)

Day 2 - Play DVD and just watch intently (as above) but take time to notice facial expressions with signs

Day 3 - Play DVD but as you watch try to put together images of what the signs are saying

Day 4 - Play DVD and begin to copy the signs - hand motion, hand placement, facial expression, body motion too

Day 5 - Play DVD repeat Day 4

Day 6 - Play DVD & keep in mind all the above; when DVD is done, READ the book & visualize the signing & all movements seen on the DVD as you read.

Day 7 - Read the book, play the DVD & see if you can sign with the video. 

If you can keep up then you're ready for the next story!

If you're not quite there, then continue repeating until you are before moving on to the next story.

By the time you're finished with the book you should have a good base for ASL in the ministry & at ASL meetings.


You can learn much from the JW Sign Language APP as well.


Beyond that, there are several decent websites now teaching ASL at no charge. 


http://www.lifeprint.com is one of my favorites


There are others and there are several secular apps that are decent too.


If you can connect with a local congregation you may learn of some local places to meet the deaf and get some real-life practice in your skills!

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Something else to note: ASL like American English has numerous dialects, or distinct signs used locally more than around the whole U.S.

Very much like Texans have their way of speaking, New Englanders have their way, the Midwest, the Northwest, the South, East Coast, West Coast, and so on.

What you're taught via most websites, apps, and even with the JW classes will be more general, but will likely have some signs that just aren't used locally without causing confusion, or worse, offense, so it's good to get acquainted with the local deaf community & culture as soon as you can.

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