Sign Can You  
 
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About Paul Greenberg, author of Sign Can You
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About the Author

   

I’m a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), meaning my parents were Deaf and I’m hearing. My first language was Sign, and I don’t mean American Sign Language (ASL). Back in 1947 it was just Sign and not yet accepted as a language.

Like most children, my language development began with my family. The difference is that they taught me Sign instead of English. My mother and brother were Deaf, and my father was hard of hearing. I didn’t start speaking English until the late age of three.

My father died when I was two, and I passed through various households until I was twelve. Most of these homes were hearing, some were Deaf and some were with my mother. I was in the slowest reading group in the first grade.

At twelve I moved in full time with my mother. By then my English skills were average and I lived in a bilingual world. I stayed with my mother until my third year of college, at which time I moved out on my own. I took a step away from the Deaf world and only dabbled in Sign. This full–fledged language still had no name.

I finished college with a degree in physics, but my purpose for the degree faded. More than anything I wanted to be a free spirit and follow my inner voice, but my inner voice wasn’t speaking. So, I wandered through space and time, self–imposed building projects, and later through self–imposed writing projects. My English skills flourished while my signing skills rusted. Twenty years passed by with little to no Sign.

At 48 I decided to become an interpreter. My life had been an interesting passage through hill and dale and unknown trail, only to find myself where I started, playing with American Sign Language. It finally had a name. It had been christened during my absence.

Upon my return to Sign I felt awkward in a room of signers. The first ASL book I read was mostly vocabulary, and I already knew most of the signs. Regardless, I had a sense of disappointment. Something was missing.

I read more books, went to interpreter workshops and worked with other interpreters. My signing skills improved, along with my interpreting skills. The missing pieces found their places, and I came to appreciate the beauty of Sign in a new way. The beauty lay in those missing pieces.

Sign Can You is an attempt to follow my inner voice as a writer, to impart those missing pieces of Sign to those who wish to learn, and to build a bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds, two sides of myself.

   
ASL sign illustration and video           ASL sign illustration and video
FAMILY
   
FATHER
ASL sign illustration and video
   
ASL sign illustration and video
TEACH
   
BROTHER
ASL sign illustration and video               ASL sign illustration and video
SIGN
   
NOT
           ASL sign illustration and video             ASL sign illustration video
MOTHER
   
HEAR
   
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