What if I don't know a sign; is it okay to ask what it means?

The Evaluators will typically not provide new vocabulary if it is not known to you. Demonstrating range of vocabulary is a part of the evaluation. Examinees can use other strategies in the interview. How do you handle being in a conversation with someone who says something you don’t understand? We ask for clarification. We might ask, “Did you mean…?” All languages have sentence structures from simple to complex. For example, ASL has Y/N and WH questions, command statements, rhetorical, if/when statements, etc. Use the features of the language that are available to you. Do remember, though, that the Evaluator will not function in an “ASL Teacher” role. S/he will not provide you with signs when you don’t have that vocabulary in your language repertoire. Demonstrate the language that you are able.

For newer signers, are you familiar with the “hearing nod” (the deer in head lights feeling) that many of us used early on in the language learning process? That glazed over look with our head nodding “yes” when we really didn’t understand what was being signed. When we use our first language in our daily lives, we ask for clarification when we don’t understand something. That is functional language in the works. The goal is to use the language with accuracy (if possible) when asking for clarification. Understanding and being understood is an important part of every language and there are features of every language that serve that purpose. It is also important to realize our current skill level. If you know that comprehension is still developing, then understanding may be a challenge. That is okay. It is where we are at that moment in time. As mentioned above, use features of the language to get clarification and understand what is being discussed.

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Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002