pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So a while ago, I found some decks for the Georgian and Armenian alphabets on Anki.

Georgian is coming along OK, but Armenian is kicking my butt: I keep forgetting things and can't seem to remember the letters (plus they all seem to look the same!).

I wonder why the difference.

And looking back at the other writing systems I learned, it seems to me today that learning Cyrillic, Greek, and Hangeul were easy; I don't recall having had those problems with them. Even Arabic wasn't that bad. And I dimly recall having had to look up kana a lot when I was first learning them, but I don't think it was anything like Armenian is right now.

Heck, I'm also going through a Deseret Alphabet Anki deck and it's tough, but not as bad as Armenian.

Devanagari is also not that bad - I keep forgetting a third to a half, but the other ones are easy.

Perhaps I should put Armenian aside for a while. Or just practice the ones I knew reasonably well and then introduce others one by one? IDK.

Perhaps the fact that they're letters out of context makes it particularly hard? That I can't practice reading words written in those letters since I know no Armenian.

I'm also practising Zhuyin Fuhao (bopomofo) on Anki... I found one deck that just teaches the signs, and another that has all the possible syllables and asks you to transcribe them to Pinyin. I'm sure that the second one helps a lot because it means I see each sign much more often.

At first, I only recognised a few (from when I had learned bopomofo at school from a Chinese dictionary a friend had lent me), but now I can crank out those syllables like nobody's business. (FWIW, the hardest character to learn again was "ch". I kept forgetting that one the most. Next was "z".)

As for ASL fingerspelling, that also came back fairly well, except for D and F: I always get those two mixed up.

(I'm also practising English Braille with Anki. And Inuktitut syllabics. And Teeline basics. I guess I'm a masochist for having over a dozen simultaneous decks.)

pne: Dots representing "pne" in Braille. (brl)

I wonder how many native speakers of a sign language learn a second sign language. At a hunch, I’d imagine that fewer do than those who use a vocal language, if only because foreign languages are compulsory in many schools I know (which all use speech for instruction) but I don’t know whether the same is true for schools taught through the medium of sign language.

I also wonder what the situation is for readers of Braille: how many of them learn the Braille system of a foreign language. Here, I can much more easily imagine such a person learning a foreign (vocal) language at school, but I don’t know whether they would get taught the Brailly system used by native speakers of that language.

For example, would a German person learning English at school use German Braille to represent it, English Grade 1 Braille (which, I think, differs mostly only in a couple of punctuation marks from German basic Braille), or would they learn “proper” Grade 2 Braille (which, of course, has all sorts of different abbreviation rules compared to German contracted Braille)?

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I've kind of decided to try to learn some basic ASL signs to use with babysign, since one of Stella's day-care children is 4 months and the other is 2 and just starting to speak... and since I'll be speaking English to both of them, ASL kind of makes more sense than DGS, especially since I won't be signing in complete sentences to them anyway (I expect) so it doesn't matter so much if I don't have a proper handle on the grammar. (Though that's a weak justification; based on what I speak to them, BSL would be even more appropriate, if anything. But ASL seems to have the best available Internet resources.)

So far, I've found SigningSavvy as a sign dictionary.

Amy can already recognise a few signs (at least eat, drink, cat, baby) I showed her.

I think I need a signing userpic; perhaps me fingerspelling my name or something. And I wonder whether to use "duck" as a namesign based on my Martin userpic, which I use nearly everywhere one can upload one's own avatar. (He's my Gravatar, for example, and I think also my Facebook profile picture.)

ASL

Wednesday, 11 February 2009 16:00
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I wish I knew ASL.

Unfortunately, getting there is hampered by several problems:

  • Resources for learning ASL here in Germany will be limited (I'd probably have to settle for recordings on DVD or the like, rather than being able to work interactively with a teacher)
  • Resources for using ASL here in Germany will be limited (both to practise while learning, for maintenance once I've got to a decent level, and for actual "just for fun" communication), since most people don't know sign language of any kind and those who do will know German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS)
  • I'm lazy.

One way (partly) around #2 would be learning DGS instead.

I'm not sure which would be "better". DGS would probably net me more speakers here, but on the Internet, I'm more likely to come across ASL. (For example, on YouTube—or on the LDS website, which has some things, such as General Conference sessions or the monthly home teaching/visiting teaching messages, available in ASL [or [US] Braille, for that matter] but none in DGS or other signed languages [or non-US Braille].)

In summary, wibble.

(And I suspect that the biggest issue might actually be #3 rather than #1 or #2....)

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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