ASL Hamilton
December 20, 2016 6:13 AM   Subscribe

ASL Hamilton Leah Coleman (daughter of Rachel Coleman, who created Signing Time so more of the world could communicate with Leah) is intending to make videos to make Hamilton accessible to the deaf community. This is the first of hopefully many more.
posted by plinth (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. Signing time was a fundamental part of our family when my son was pre-verbal. The Mrs and boy are of course now Hamilton fiends.

They'll be over the moon seeing this - thanks for posting it, plinth.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 6:48 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm partial to this one, aesthetically -- it feels more rhythmic and driving, like the performer's affect is more in line with the attitudes I associate with Hamilton and with this song in particular. But my ASL isn't really good enough to know if there are differences in the quality of the interpretations. I'll look forward to seeing whether Coleman does more though!
posted by somedaycatlady at 7:04 AM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I definitely prefer the one that somedaycatlady posted, mostly because for me, ASL is heavily reliant on facial expression, and that really gets lost in the OP's videos.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:07 AM on December 20, 2016

Fun fact: When Matt Fraction was writing Hawkeye for Marvel, he collaborated with Signing Time to bring back Clint Barton's deafness. The final issue is dedicated to Leah. How effin' cool is that?
posted by middleclasstool at 7:40 AM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

We rewatched the original Signing Time series over the past few days, so this is timely. It was neat to see both Rachel and Leah bloom into their full over-the-top musical-loving selves over the course of the series. They started with the signs being presented by Rachel, dressed plainly in front of a plain white background, with a blank-friendly expression on her face. There were plenty of musical and visual interludes, but the primary presentation of the signs was "pedagogical neutral".

By the end of the series, everything was colourful and expressive and musical. IIRC, Rachel wrote most of the songs, and you could see how much fun she was having blossoming into the star of her own musical. No more plain white background.

Great to see that Leah's enthusiasm has taken it even further.
posted by clawsoon at 8:24 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, and FWIW, my daughter says that she is Leah and I am Alex.
posted by clawsoon at 8:24 AM on December 20, 2016

Huh. I watched the one the somedaycatlady posted and there seemed to be absolutely no change in her facial expression at all. Like her eyebrows and forehead changed not at all. Still, taste is taste.

Seeing the other version is also a really cool reminder that there is no such thing as ASL translation - it's interpretation. For the line "just you wait", Leah signs "SEE, SEE" with a smug expression on her face which I read as "wait and see, asshole" and Sarah signs "WAIT". For the line "In New York you can be a new man", I see Sarah signing that a couple different ways, one is (I think) "NEW YORK THERE BECOME MAN NEW YORK THERE START IN". Leah, I see "NEW YORK BECOME NEW PERSON" For the line, "me, I loved him", Leah signs (I think) "HERE/ME LOVE" with an expression of pain. Sarah signs, "ME I LOVE YOU (to the side)". For the line "me, I'm the damn fool that shot him", Sarah signs "ME DAMN FOOL GUN-SHOOT", Leah signs (I THINK) "HERE/ME DAMN FOOL KILLED" with an expression of anger.

I wish my ASL were better, but that's what I picked up as a contrast.
posted by plinth at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Oh, I should add, regarding the sign for 'I love you', that's a really nifty sign because it's an ASL acronym. To sign it, put your hand up, all fingers out, then put your middle and ring fingers to the palm of your hand. Your extended pinky is 'I', your thumb and forefinger are 'L' and your pinky and thumb are 'Y': ILY.

This is a picture of my daughter signing that when she was 9.
posted by plinth at 8:36 AM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Plinth, my daughter and I sign "I love you" every day when I drop her off at school -- it's a lovely way to send her off without embarrassing her with Smothering Mommy Behaviors.

The Signing Time videos were a staple in our household -- my daughter was signing well before she could speak, and I swear, it prevented tons of toddler meltdowns -- and it's kind of mindblowing that the sweet little preschooler Leah is now a grown young woman launching her own thing.
posted by sobell at 10:39 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

plinth: Oh, I should add, regarding the sign for 'I love you', that's a really nifty sign because it's an ASL acronym.

And if you wag your thumb in and out: devil horns-I love you-devil horns-I love you-devil horns-I love you
posted by clawsoon at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2016

Also if you cross your middle finger behind your first finger you add an "r" for "I really love you".
posted by agentofselection at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was at Hamilton in Chicago this Sunday and it happened to be a show where they had two sign language interpreters up front. They killed it all the way through--so eloquent with body language, facial expression, and sign. I really enjoyed watching them on and off throughout the show.
posted by merriment at 3:47 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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