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November 2, 2011 2:54 PM   Subscribe

We're Going To Be Friends by the White Stripes, in American Sign Language.
posted by bjrn (19 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought the combination of music and deafness was interesting. And the video was really nice, with the movements sometimes almost like a dance.
posted by bjrn at 2:55 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"2,285 likes, 54 dislikes"

There are 54 people out there I need to have a stern word with.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:03 PM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


ASL is a fascinating language, best part was at 2:10 when the girl and the boy are sitting side by side signing the same part, you really can see how they each have a unique accent. The room the language has for visual inflection is really interesting to me.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:11 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't actually know ASL. And I never really knew (until this video got me Googling around on it) whether ASL speakers had accents. But just by watching that video, the generalized language portion of my brain tells me that I really don't like the orange-shirt boy's tone of voice. Versus, like, the lead girl. Or the little boy with glasses, whose voice I experience as just being cute, kid-like. Or e.g. ewitteborg, whose videos I also love and who I think has a great presence and personal voice.

I don't know whether it's just a facial expressiveness thing, or what. And if any of the above is offensive in its ignorance, I genuinely apologize. I'm sorry I used hearing-centric words like "accent" and "voice" but I'm not sure of the relevant equivalents. But watching this was my first experience with ASL where I found myself reacting really strongly to someone's individual voice, and I was kind of struck by it. I find the way he signs grating in a way that I wouldn't have thought someone who doesn't know the language could feel.
posted by penduluum at 3:51 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not-So-BitterOldPunk...
posted by jkaczor at 3:53 PM on November 2, 2011


That's really sweet. I was thinking as I was watching that the Whites would like this. And, I guess they do.
posted by found missing at 4:04 PM on November 2, 2011


I love this - it's sweet without being cloying.
posted by leslies at 4:43 PM on November 2, 2011


This Drake sign-over that I saw in a couple side-bars from the OP is also pretty awesome.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:10 PM on November 2, 2011


ASL is a fascinating language

Agreed.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on November 2, 2011


I used to do work with a group of young people who signed. One young woman signed very quickly and crisply with well-shaped signs. One of the young men, well, I can only describe it by saying his signs were not crisp and not well-shaped. I always thought of it as him slurring his words and mumbling. I'd sometimes have to ask him to turn his hand a little farther around when he was finger-spelling something so I could read what he was saying. So, yeah, I guess there are "accents" of a sort.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:49 PM on November 2, 2011


Awesome. I used this song a few years back in my Kindergarten class...now I'm teaching middle school tech, and this will definitely make an appearance in their upcoming music video workshop. Thanks for the link!
posted by unregistered_animagus at 6:30 PM on November 2, 2011


why does everything make me cry
posted by sweetkid at 7:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Add me to the list of those fascinated by this. The vocalists sing their lines so rhythmically—and in what is so much the visual equivalent of vocal cadence—that dance and language come together in a hybrid that is just so jaw-droppingly human.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like penduluum saying this, in that I wonder whether it's banal or obvious to someone who has thought about ASL more than I have, but watching this made me think that it's a shame that integrating signing into everyday speech isn't something that everyone does. It adds this whole other dimension to communication. Why don't all people who can hear do it too? I know everyone uses gestures as they talk, but this just takes things so much further.
posted by umbú at 8:19 PM on November 2, 2011


I don't know whether it's just a facial expressiveness thing, or what. And if any of the above is offensive in its ignorance, I genuinely apologize. I'm sorry I used hearing-centric words like "accent" and "voice" but I'm not sure of the relevant equivalents.

(Deaf guy here - grew up speaking English, but ASL is my everyday language now.) We use "accent", and our sign for it does indicate the throat. We also use "voice" in the way you do, although "expression" is a more common alternative. (Idiomatically, in this context the sign means "the way they express themself".) It's not completely without a political load to it, but ... metaphor is metaphor. I also see people here at Gallaudet use expressions like, "hey, did you hear the news?", "speaking of which" and so forth. (Tangentially, this is like how I, like other wheelchair users, talk about walking somewhere instead of driving, or "taking a stand" despite the fact that I do neither.)

Some of these accents are regional; some are just how people move (physiological?); some indicate how old you were when you learned ASL, and how fluent the people were who you grew up around; some are just personal tendencies. All of the kids in this video, pretty much, sign in a very child-like way - very fluent, but not how adults sign. Much like the cute way young kids speak English.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


I feel like penduluum saying this, in that I wonder whether it's banal or obvious to someone who has thought about ASL more than I have, but watching this made me think that it's a shame that integrating signing into everyday speech isn't something that everyone does. It adds this whole other dimension to communication.

Some signers - Deaf and hearing both - do this. It can be done well; it can be done poorly. It tends to be frowned upon in the Deaf community compared with using either language alone; many hearing signers attempt to do both simultaneously, and end up producing good English but incoherent ASL, and that's something that has historically been a big problem in Deaf ed. On the other hand, lots of fluent signers do this with each other, and do it more naturally, but in a way that is mixed - so not necessarily English and ASL simultaneously, but something more akin to Spanglish. But people who do that - who code-mix - tend to be skilled with both languages, and are perfectly capable of sticking with one language or the other when they're not communicating with other strong bilinguals. In those scenarios, generally one language is primary and one is just supplemental/supporting (although which is which can switch back and forth very rapidly), or a sentence will go along in one language, and then the speaker will switch languages for a single word or phrase.

You see this in spoken languages, too - people who speak more than one language will do this when they're talking to other bilinguals. Sometimes it's a matter of a word or concept that one language has that another doesn't; sometimes it's a way of expressing a shared culture or solidarity; sometimes it's used for emphasis, or because a particular topic feels "more natural" in one language than another.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:47 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had watched some videos of ASL glosses of songs a while back, and it was EXTREMELY fascinating. Like, I want to learn ASL -- it's really beautiful.

And I'm really a total n00b about it, but I find the issues among the Deaf community/Deaf culture to be extremely interesting. (E.g., like the ewitteborg video page linked above...I was really intrigued by the video of ASL illiteracy among CODAs.) I remember the first time I read about "hearing accents," I was really blown away...but it makes sense.

I have a bit of a silly question...but maybe not so much. So, given there are different sign languages, are some sign languages considered "prettier" or "harsher" than others (in the same way some people may say that German or Cantonese [for example] sounds "harsh" or French sounds "pretty"?)
posted by subversiveasset at 10:58 PM on November 2, 2011


This is wonderful and inspiring and fascinating and beautiful all at once.
posted by freebird at 1:19 PM on November 3, 2011


I'm an intern at a european organization that's working towards mapping the sign languages of the worls, and this is just.. wonderful.
posted by pyrex at 2:39 PM on November 3, 2011


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