That was so awesome!! Great way to end mid-terms blues! I just got back from seeing a Deaf Vietnamese Dance Team. This is their first trip to the US. At any given time there were up to four languages going on: spoken English, American Sign Language, spoken Vietnamese, and signed Vietnamese. I think I saw just about every form of translating there is. There was ASL to English, Vietnamese to English to ASL, ASL to English, Vietnamese Signs to ASL to English, copy signing, whisper translating…I could go on for a while.
One of the dance routines they did was to use their bodies and dance moves to spell their name. It was pretty tricky to guess what the letters were, but some of the Deaf kids got pretty skilled at it as each performer did their name. The six-troupe dancers brought up volunteers from the audience and showed them some learning techniques such as following: One person would be the leader, and another person closed his eyes and put his hand on the leader’s shoulder, then tried to copy all of his movements.
Some words seem to be the same in Vietnamese Sign Language and ASL, but most is different. I could understand, however, why Deaf people throughout the world are typically able to learn to understand each other very quickly.
I learned how to count up to ten in Vietnamese Sign Language. I’ll try to describe it using ASL terms, to the best of my understanding. Of course, I was seeing the numbers on the other side of a dimly-lit auditorium, so no guarantees on minute details. ;-)
1 and 2 are the same as ours.
3 is the ASL six, English three
4 and 5 are the same
6 is ASL “Y”
7 is an upside-down ASL “L”
8 is ASL three
9 is ASL “X”
10 is similar to ASL twenty, but with only the very tips of the thumb and finger touching, similar to the ASL sign for DOT (as in .com)
*Note: there are several different kinds of Vietnamese sign systems and I have no idea what the one I saw is called, so I am referring to it as Vietnamese Sign Language.