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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Interpreting Chocolate

by Lee McKenzie

For the past year I’ve been studying American Sign Language. I’m currently enrolled in a Vista program and have just completed the third module of level one. The Deaf woman who instructs the class is a dedicated teacher and has taken several of us keeners under her wing. When she suggested we attend a chocolate festival last Sunday, we all jumped at the opportunity. I mean, who would pass up a chance to sample chocolate from some of the best chocolatiers AND practice signing, all at the same time?

As it turned out, my instructor looked to me to do a lot interpreting for her. I might have had second thoughts if I’d known that ahead of time, but now I’m so glad I went. And I think I did pretty well, except for a few slip-ups. Like when I signed to her that a chocolate filling was made of white chocolate and dentists instead of white chocolate and nuts.

In class, my instructor would have corrected me but in public she smiled and nodded graciously. I’m sure she was having a good laugh to herself, though, and so she should. And I’m pretty sure that’s one mistake I won’t make again.

I also learned that carrying on two simultaneous conversations—one in ASL and one in English—is even more challenging than it looks. This was made abundantly clear when a woman at one of the booths gave me a puzzled look and said, “Um, I don’t understand sign language.” I repeated my question out loud, but not quickly enough to convince her that I knew what I was doing!

But I’m learning, and practice makes perfect, right? Practice with chocolate is even more perfect!

If you’d like to learn the signs for chocolate, nuts and other yummy stuff, visit and click on Main Dictionary.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

I admire you for learning ASL, Lee. And the chocolate festival sounds yummy.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Les, that sounds yummy! My daughter plays basketball with a girl who speaks through signing and she taught the kids all sorts of colorful words! Keep up the good work with learning to sign. that's awesome.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Oops, I didn't mean to call you Les. I know your name is LEE!!!

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Nice story, Lee!


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