Tuesday, January 11, 2022

20,000 Words

Rain. I’m usually praying for it in the Summer, but when we get as much snow as we’ve had lately, I find myself wanting Winter rains. The heavy clouds of Winter often bring warmth as well as rain. Warm Winter winds are called a Pineapple Express here because the wind comes from Hawaii. We are blessed on the West coast; we’re downwind of all the pollutants of our continent. Well, not quite, but our wind comes from the west, and it’s cleaned from crossing the biggest ocean on the globe.

Where we walked yesterday was still heavy with snow, so we took the short-cut to make our walk shorter. When I got home, I did a half-an-hour of studying and then decided to take the day off from signing. I read instead, after a thorough tidying and cleaning of the house. When all was clean and tidy, I felt like the king of the castle in my fabulous log home.

I’ve decided I’m not moving. I may never engage with the deaf community, but I hope to find people with whom to sign via Facebook. (Horror’s!) Yes, I’m learning ASL because of my demolished voice, but learning is a great hobby. It’s far more engaging and complex than reading. It’s often said that an addiction is best replaced by another, more beneficial addiction/obsession. I’ve been focused on my loss of speech on this blog for years. Now, that’s changing; ALS is my beneficial addiction.

All my life I’ve used time spent going to appointments to focus on the questions I wanted to ask, or how to succinctly express the thesis I wanted to present. Soon, I’ll be doing it again, but I’ll also be writing my questions/points in text on my new iPad. Then, at the appointment, I can cut and paste what I’ve written into the speech generator. 

Adding to the positive emotional impact of learning ASL, is pride in finding these new paths to communicating with friends. I’ve got a perfect purse for my iPad that’s fashionable (or my backpack) to keep my iPad with me whenever I go out and expect to have to speak.

2022 is going to be the year I graduate elementary school in ASL. I hope I stick to learning through 2023 so that 2004 is my first as a fluent signer.

How I got depressed this morning: I looked up how many words are in the average English speaker’s vocabulary. The answer: 20,000. How many signs do I know? Answer: 130. I did some math: Soon I’ll have been learning ASL for two weeks. By my two-week mark, I will know 150 signs. At my current rate of learning, I will learn about 4,000 words in a year. I thought I’d be modestly fluent after two years of study. Two years, at my current rate, would have me knowing 8,000 signs—half of the vocabulary of an average adult.

Almost all the snow is gone around Pinecone Park, and there’s no expectation of snow in the forecast. There’s also not a thing on my calendar until the end of the month when I see Dr. Shoja again, so every day for the next three months will be the same: reading, studying, eating, walking and sleeping. That’s it. How dull can a life be? 

Drone + time exposure.

Mushrooms on a dead leaf. 

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