Foreign Language

It’s pretty obvious, I’m not good with languages.  It’s bad enough that I slaughter (not butcher, but slaughter) the English language, which you can attest from my blog and the lack of grammar that is present in it.  However, I also do not fair well in other languages.  Let’s just say that my cousins from Vietnam had a good laugh at the words coming out of my mouth.  As for the language of love?  Girl:  HAHAHHAHAHA.  Me: Oh… 😦  And people asked why I took dead languages in high school.

So today at work, I was helping the deaf office set up their video phone in the new building.  The technician that came to install the equipment was a young sharp man.  As I did what I needed to do, I spoke to him to ensure that he knew what he needed to do to get the video phone working.  He just smiled and nodded. I looked at him and then at the person whose cubicle we were in.  It hit me…oh my, he’s deaf and mute.

During my senior year in college, I had a few friends who were speech pathology majors take a sign language course.  I learned a lot of sign language from them.  However, there was no way signing “Poo fry” and “You make me vomit in my mouth, a little” was anyway appropriate or useful in this situation.

I smiled.

He smiled back.

The person whose cubicle we were in also smiled.

Now the last thing I want to do at that moment was to cop out and just start to write to communicate.  No, I want to communicate in his language.  Unfortunately, signing “I need sex” is not the type of communication I want to relay.  Here goes nothing!

So, what made this experience so cool was that I could pick up a few words and letters as he was trying to sign to the 3rd person.  In doing so, I was able to start communicating back to him based on what I could remember…which was mostly the alphabet.  Additionally, I spoke slowly (my friends still wait for the day I do this) towards him so he could read my lips.  He in returned, realized that I could slightly understand him and started to sign and point back at me.

I did my best not to write out what I wanted to say because I was trying to accommodate to him, whereas he would normally accommodate to the speaking world.  He saw my attempts and was very willing to help me better communicate with the deaf and mute by also withholding to write out things unless necessary.  After about 25 minutes, we were finally able to get the video phone to work.  However, that wasn’t what we were most happy about.  I was proud that I was able to understand him and sign back based on what I could remember.  He was very surprised and grateful at my attempts and was very willing to help me learn.  In the end, we weren’t just communicating or speaking of foreign language; we were talking.


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