Journaling: Why write?

The good news: New signs are always appearing and coming into wide use, and you want to remember them. The bad news: No one has recorded these “new” signs, cataloging them on video for the benefit of students, educators, interpreters and researchers.
How can you capture and preserve these glimpses of “new” signs at least signs that are new to you? Perhaps you grasp the main focus of one of these signs, but find it challenging to remember the live nuances. There are others that you seem to understand in context, and yet still aren’t sure about. What’s the solution?

Journal! Keeping a journal is one of my favorite ways to help myself mentally “record” signs or grammatical elements that have touched me or made me say to myself, “Far out!” One of my favorite times to collect “new” signs is during videophone conversations with native Deaf signers from different regions. I strongly recommend making a habit of writing sign observations down in a mini-notebook that you keep on hand, all the time. I’ve really enjoyed sharing these new signs with my friends, participants, mentors, and you! Keeping a “sign journal” not only develops a treasure of new information, but also represents an important investment in your career.

Without writing in a journal, you’ll find it impossible to remember everything you’ve had the opportunity to see. No kidding – my mind has no room for so many new bits of information. I have to keep my journal to avoid the mistake of losing my precious new knowledge. Once, I had a great time observing and “learned” many new signs, but I didn’t write them down. What happened? I lost them. Write signs down! Create several pages: New signs, Converting Signing Exact English (SEE) to ASL, Classifier Handshapes, “Far Out” Signs, and Personal Memos.

Examples:

New Signs: (new signs that haven’t been recorded) Vlog, Iphone

Signing Exact English (SEE): Credit card

Classifier Handshape: (the appearance of a new handshape, a predicate used as a verb) Pager signal, Tornados

Far Out Sign: (exaggerated or “cute” signs, such as details added by a signer for fun or extra emphasis) Licking one’s fist means “working hard!” Licking one’s fingers means “perfect”.

Personal Memo: (Dear Nobody, new terms, new Deaf words, new Hearing perspectives, signs that have personal importance to you)

“Written communication is the essence of human sincerity.”

Journaling seems so sweet and simple. The mini notebook is fabulous! I carry mine with me all the time, and when I grasp a brand new sign, I write it down, immediately. I can’t believe there are so many signs that haven’t yet been taught in classes or recorded in research projects. Whether socializing, chatting with people on the phone, or watching live ASL storytellers you’ll find chances to add fascinating new signs to your personalized journal. Keep on writing!

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