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How to learn to understand deaf people

КурсыWhy shouldn’t you cover your face while communicating with deaf people? What to do when a deaf person gives you a mobile phone? How to applaud to hard-of-hearing people? That’s what was told to the attenders of the sign language seminar that took place in Khanty-Mansiysk on December’2-12.

The characteristic feature of sign language lessons is that they are given in full silence. The teacher is communicating with students using signs and in case there’re some difficulties with understanding, just writes words on a chalkboard. Such a full exposure gives an immediate result. After 72-hour training the students are passing an exam and they are able to tell about themselves, about the Deaflympics, sports and athletes, to name the countries participating in the Deaflympics and to show how to get to some sport venue, etc. using sign language. And in case they don’t know some word, they are able to finger-spell it, i.e. to reproduce a work letter-by-letter with the help of their fingers. The finger spelling alphabet is taught on the first lesson of a seminar.

The students were able to practice the new information by communicating with the President of Russian Committee of Deaf Sports Alexander Romantsov, and the world champions in deaf skiing Sergey Yermilov and Stepan Kuznetsov, who are going to participate in the Deaflympics.

Lyudmila Shelemekhova, who has attended the sign language seminar, has shared her impressions on the lessons: «During the seminar we felt so involved in studying sign language that now we don’t want to be complacent. It’s a good start for future learning of sign language. The process of studying was not just a routine obligation but a pantomime theater, because it’s not only hands that are used for speaking sign language but poses and facial expressions. Now I am looking forward to the Deaflympics in order to practice my sign language skills and to dig into the world of the deaf».

According to the studies of professional linguists, sign languages have all the components of full featured languages. In 2013 an amendment of the Federal law “On the social support of physically challenged people in Russian Federation” was issued and now Russian sign language is one of the official languages of Russian Federation. It is worth noting that sign language has a written form as well; the gestures are being written with the help of a special notation system.

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