Difference between ASL and FSL

Now that we are still under the topic of sign language, let me explain further to you the difference between American Sign Language and Filipino Sign Language.

I have already shown this image on my previous blog post. But this time, I would like to elaborate more on how each letter came about from the viewpoint of a Filipino.

Letter E

According to a first known study analyzing ethnic differences in the hand spans of pianists, Caucasian male spans are 0.3 inches larger than those of Asian males. Also in this survey,  Caucasian female spans are 0.2 inches greater than those of their Asian counterpart.

Based on this study, Asians genetically have smaller hands compared to the Americans. This also holds true as regards differences in height and build. So, since a Filipino hand is slightly smaller, touching all fingers on top of the thumb would not be clearly distinguished when viewed from at least ten feet away. The hand would be mistaken from letter “O” which also touches the thumb. The solution would be detaching all the fingers from the thumb in order to distinctly see the letter E.

 

e to o.png
Fingerspelled E to  almost O

Letter G

Again, this is also a genetic difference. Unless the reader sees the tip of the thumb protruding above the index finger, it’s difficult to distinguish letter “G” from a hand pointing to the right.

g
Letter G?
g1
Letter G as viewed from the top

So, to solve this “small” problem, Filipino deaf sticks out his thumb to show the letter “G”.

Letter T

Now this one involves culture. A thumb (male penis) sticking out between two fingers  (female vagina) symbolizes sexual intercourse. Everybody in my country understands this hand sign all too well. This was also a “secret” street sign in the old flourishing flesh trade when the American Naval and Air Force Bases are still occupying our land. A pimp would just discreetly motion this hand to the soldiers if they want to hire a hooker.

sexhandsign
Obscene sign

So, if you are a Filipino deaf, would you want to wave your hand using the ASL “T”? Unless you are referring to the “actual thing”, then go ahead! Hehehe

* – Some images posted here were copyright by their respective owners.  

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Deaf man, sign language teacher form lasting bond

Belated Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers! Sorry for not blogging for more than a month now.

Today, may I share with you a post-Valentine love story of a deaf man and his sign language teacher which was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer? I know personally the lady teacher here, Mrs. Beatriz Go.

More fondly called as Ma’am Beth in the deaf community, she has been one of my wonderful inspirations in the deaf world and at the same time belongs to one of those looked up pillars in Filipino Deaf education. Although she did not became my sign language mentor, her awesome dedication to the teaching of sign language manifests as the long-time coordinator of Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRID), a pioneering sign language training institution in the country.

As one of the products of PRID and was recently awarded as one of its Outstanding Graduates, I have observed her caring for the welfare of sign language. Well enough about me. I have re-posted the article below written by Jodee Agoncillo. To Ma’am Beth, you are truly an amazing woman. So guys! Be inspired. Be very inspired. 🙂

Love story beyond words

Deaf man, sign language teacher form lasting bond

10:32 pm | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

 16 392 354

 

ROMANCE UNSPOKEN YET ENDURING Beatriz Go with husband Alexander, children Anthony Benedict, Abigail Bernadette, Albert Noel and the adopted Jasmine

 

Beatriz Go has never heard her husband say “I love you.” She has heard no love song, no sweet nothings, from the man she has been living with for the last 35 years.

Instead, Alexander, being deaf, has loved her in ways that go beyond words.

She’s 66 while he’s 53. A former nun, she used to be his sign language instructor at the Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay City. The wide age gap being no barrier, his special needs led him to her and her special calling found a vessel in him.

Today they form the pillars of a family of 10—including three children of their own and five more who are adopted. Three of the adopted children are also deaf.

“It just happened.  He was 22 when he started making an effort for me,” said Go, whose face may be familiar to televiewers as the sign language interpreter on TV Masses and previously on the public service program “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko.”

“He would come over just to cook for me or bring me lunch. He lived on España, Manila, but would always be my escort taking me home to Pembo, Makati City. He was that consistent,” she said.

One summer, Alexander went on a solo trip to Marinduque province to see her family and ask for her hand in marriage.

There he met some stiff opposition: Some of her relatives disapproved, citing potential “communication problems” between the two. They also saw him becoming a mere dependent because of his disability. Others found the May-December romance too good to be true, and saw something awkward when a student hooks up with a former teacher.

But by then, Go was already in love as well.

Thirty-five years of blissful marriage later, Go said she still catches Alexander, now a retired electrician, telling his friends about their unusual love story—in sign language, of course.

Like any normal couple, they also have occasional spats, usually over the family finances. But such misunderstandings are often resolved especially with the help of Sarah, 42, one of their adopted deaf children, who mediates also through sign language and “interprets our conversations more accurately.”

“We complement each other,” Go said. “Our age gap and physical limitations have never been a hindrance. I defer to him as the head of the family. I guess that’s the secret of our relationship. I am not the nagging, demanding type; I’ve never even gotten hold of his ATM.”

Go currently works at the Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Inevitably, the principles that guide her at work have found real-life applications in her relationship both with her husband and their deaf children.

“Deaf people mostly feel that they are alone because most of their family members don’t get to learn sign language. They need someone to understand them,” she said.

“They are generally suspicious of other people; when they see someone laughing, they think it’s about them. They won’t give their trust unless you show that you are really interested in them.”

Alexander must have overcome these doubts, these suspicions, the day she started teaching him sign language when he was just 15 years old.

“I guess love is really a function of communication,” Go said, looking back. “Yet sometimes you just need to feel it and leave everything else to God.”

 

 

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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