I attended the Deaf Coffee Night held in the Starbucks at the Outlets of Orange. At the event, a combination of ASL, SEE, the use of facial expressions, and improvised sign as means of communication between hearing people, ASL students, Deaf people, and casual Starbucks patrons. The intricacies of Deaf culture that differentiates itself from the hearing world made itself known through subtle differences in interaction. To exemplify, groups conversing congregated in circles, as opposed to arbitrary seating arrangements, individuals tapped each other on the shoulder or waved politely to get another’s attention, and eye contact was unbroken throughout conversations. To my knowledge, an interpreter was not present at the event within the timeframe I attended. Despite the lack of an interpreter, I feel as if I understood introductory and basic conversational signs such as “Hello”, “How are you”, and “Nice to meet you”. Unfortunately, I did not feel comfortable nor confident enough in my knowledge of ASL to sufficiently carry a conversation using sign. However, as there were large amounts of ASL students attending the event, the general atmosphere was open and amiable, with Deaf people gladly engaging ASL students in conversation. Through the event, I have learned that the distinction between an ASL student’s and a Deaf person’s signing is easily made, for Deaf people sign with natural ease, whereas most ASL students at the event signed slower and more deliberately, weighing their words with a slight deer in the headlights look. This event is unlike hearing people events in that the atmosphere is influenced by Deaf culture, with ASL being the primary form of communication between individuals.
You are required to attend one Deaf event each semester. Deaf events will be announced and posted in class or on our class website. If you are aware of an alternative Deaf event, it must be pre-approved.
The Deaf event paper is due by the Friday following the event. Attach your paper to this handout with the event information filled out below.
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