And Santa was his name-o
December 14, 2013 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Need an American Sign Language interpreter? Consider 5-year-old Claire Koch, a KODA ("kid of deaf adults") who recently signed — and signed the hell out of — her kindergarten holiday concert. [Extremely adorable SLYT]
posted by Charity Garfein (27 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mugging for the parents, time old elementary tradition.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


They were all so adorable, but that little blonde girl is going to be the next Amy Poehler in a few years.
posted by littlesq at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think we've found a replacement for the dude from Mandela's funeral.
posted by axiom at 9:04 PM on December 14, 2013 [29 favorites]


I don't know a whole lot of deaf people, but I think that deaf people tend to make their facial expressions more expressive than non-deaf people. If that's right, I wonder if it's part of why this kid is so good at doing these adorably exaggerated faces.
posted by Jacob Knitig at 9:24 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, if I could order a daughter, I would chose her. Or maybe the boy beside her, he seemed to get what was going on as well. Seriously adorable, what a great child. I don't have kids but I can definitely see the attraction to doing so right about now.
posted by bquarters at 9:25 PM on December 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Baby, It's Cold Outside

(I found it sometime around the post about the Bonnaroo ASL interpreter and thought it was charming as hell despite the song.)
posted by zix at 9:43 PM on December 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


deaf people tend to make their facial expressions more expressive

Yeah, that's because it's punctuating what they're saying. Though she is hamming it up a bit beyond, I agree that's probably why she's so great at it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:49 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


deaf people tend to make their facial expressions more expressive

Facial expressions are part of the vocabulary and grammar of ASL (and I assume other sign languages). The difference between asking someone what their name is and if they have a name comes down to your facial expression (tilted head plus furrowed eyebrows vs. raised eyebrows).
posted by bfootdav at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


What's she saying at the very end of the video?
posted by nzero at 10:10 PM on December 14, 2013


Note that she's not deaf--her parents are. For her parents, the entire show is her. Of course that's true for all the kids and their parents, but it is particularly so for her because she's signing it for them, and having a blast doing it.
posted by eye of newt at 10:19 PM on December 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


Though she is hamming it up a bit beyond

Well it is a pretty dumb song. I like the idea that she recognizes the material for what it is.

I love the way she takes so much joy at the sign for "name-o". It somehow reminds me of the way we all used to thrill at the pitch change of "sleep in heavenly peEACE" during my own elementary school holiday pageants.
posted by Sara C. at 10:23 PM on December 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


I have been a six year old and I have had 3 different 6 year old children, but I cannot profess to know what is going on in her head, but she really seems to be enjoying herself. That is all that matters.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:45 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's probably exactly how she and mom did it a thousand times at home when she was practicing.
posted by pracowity at 11:40 PM on December 14, 2013


That's adorable.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:31 AM on December 15, 2013


Any MeFis know ASL? I am dying to know what she said near the end of the first song. There was a break in the song, and then she started signing away furiously, like she had a private comment to share with mom and dad or something....
posted by queensissy at 1:21 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are all cute and awesome, but she is the cutest and awesomest.
posted by abecedarium radiolarium at 7:14 AM on December 15, 2013


I don't know a whole lot of deaf people, but I think that deaf people tend to make their facial expressions more expressive than non-deaf people. If that's right, I wonder if it's part of why this kid is so good at doing these adorably exaggerated faces.

Lon Chaney, known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces," one of the superstars of the silent screen, was the child of deaf parents, and he acknowledged the pantomime skills he developed in early childhood had an influence on his adult success.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:48 AM on December 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


I kept thinking it was a shame the teacher didn't have more time to learn and teach some of the ASL signs to the rest of the kids. But I absolutely, 100% know that most teachers would be damned lucky to have the time and resources to even teach the songs and the simple hand motions.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2013


What I thought was sweetest about this is the kid isn't so much interpreting as she is just singing, both with her hands and with her voice. This little girl just has both modalities available to her and enjoys performing both. It's particularly striking in that all the other kids are also making gestures in some of the songs, choreographed. She's just got her own personal set of gestures that are actual language, not just pantomime.

Also the thing with her eyes rolling back in her head is hilarious.
posted by Nelson at 8:47 AM on December 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any MeFis know ASL? I am dying to know what she said near the end of the first song. There was a break in the song, and then she started signing away furiously, like she had a private comment to share with mom and dad or something....

She's just indicating that there's a pause in the song, I think. She also does this briefly at the first pause with just one finger.

Although you do catch her making comments at the start and end of videos. Like she signs "bitch" twice in the video. In a primary school production. On video. Which made me laugh. So hard.
posted by Conspire at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2013 [34 favorites]


Like she signs "bitch" twice in the video.

OK, now I need to know ASL for "bitch". Because that could come in ... handy.
posted by chavenet at 1:17 PM on December 15, 2013


Ahh.
posted by chavenet at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was in fifth grade for the xmas music program the entire fifth grade class learned and performed our three songs of the program in ASL. I do not remember why we did this. Seemed a pretty cool thing to be doing in central indiana in the mid 1980's, though. I tried to learn some ASL when I was nineteen but at that point my face wasn't expressive enough (depression.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:48 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


chavenet: you should probably spend some time watching Dirty Signs with Kristin.

Probably NSFW, especially if you have ASL-reading coworkers
posted by hanov3r at 6:57 AM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I was in the fourth grade, we had a boy in our class with some degree of deafness. In class, he used one of those old-fashioned, clunky hearing aids where the teacher had to wear a lavalier mic, and on some days the district speech therapist would be in class with him signing or taking notes. He could hear us close up, read lips, and speak clearly enough for us to understand him most of the time.

We would love it when the therapist would teach us bits of ASL. Sadly, all I can remember is the alphabet and a few other signs, but she did teach us a song about going to Grandma's house, and singing and signing it all together is one of the few fond memories I have of that school year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:03 AM on December 16, 2013


hanov3r: "chavenet: you should probably spend some time watching Dirty Signs with Kristin .

Brilliant.

Taint: not vagina, not asshole ... in between! (YAY!)
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM on December 16, 2013


Pleas avoid "Dirty Signs with Kristin," if you are interested in supporting ASL and Deaf culture. She is not a native or even fluent speaker, and she has chosen to profit off of exploiting hearing people's interest in signed languages. Her signs only occasionally make any semblance of sense, and she has refused to engage with criticisms and protest from the very community she claims her book/videos "support." The Amazon reviews of her book reflect a lot of the anger over her choices.

http://www.amazon.com/Super-Smutty-Language-Kristin-Henson/dp/1250026210/

Basically, it is a shame that she is misleading people who have genuine interest in and curiosity about ASL. Believe me, it has profanity (and regional/local profanity--just like any language has regional variants--I know in one comment of mine from a looooong time ago, I describe a very colorful expression I learned growing up that I haven't encountered outside of the region. Its meaning in context (fuck you/fuck off and die) is incredibly rude, and I have never quite had the nerve to ask what it reads as to Deaf people who didn't learn it, because it isn't a conceptual play on the signs I'd expect. Such reticence is one way to tell that I am hearing.)
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 10:02 AM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


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