Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Deaf Vietnamese Dance Troupe

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.


purple_kangaroo said...

That sounds fun and interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hello that sounds fun,i think it would be very hard for me with my hands as i have arthritis and I also have poliomyelitis which means i do not have a lot of strength in them i suppose with practice i could manage it, one of my friends who is deaf she can also talk and her friend say there is no such word as can't i agree with them. My Grandma and my Gran you to say that too, My Grandma explained she said if you had and put a piece of rope in the can with a knot in and then came back and pulled the rope with the knot in undone you would just have the can. However we all have our limitations we also have our abilities. Do you agree with me. I am Barbara Mackay from Perth Western Australia Australia