I grew up Hearing and Physically Disabled (I have Cerebral Palsy), and I was first formally introduced to Signed Exact English when I went to a summer camp for disabled kids for four summers in a row in the 1970s (Wagon Road Camp, just north of NYC). The adults all told us this was "Real Sign Language" (which it's not -- it's sign encoded communication), but at least they encouraged us to use it everyday to converse with each other, and I was at the right age for picking up bits of new language, and have them take permanent roots in my brain.
Many years later, when I was studying at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I took the opportunity to study true ASL 101 and 102 under Dr. Larry Forestal in 1991 and '92. The quirk of my class schedules meant that on the days I studied Sign, I barely spoke any English until the end of the day. As a result, although my vocabulary was limited, I did reach the stage of actually thinking -- and even dreaming, occasionally -- in ASL.
I've not had much opportunity to practice it since, however, and have struggled to keep my hold of it through having imaginary conversations in Sign, in my head, and watching as many ASL vlogs as I can, online.
Recently, I've noticed that I've started to lose my hearing in my right ear, along with gaining tinnitus. Usually, it's not enough for me to even notice any difference, but it's just enough to mess with my bi-aural hearing, so if I'm trying to pick out one conversation among many, it all turns into a great muddle. This last Thanksgiving Weekend (last weekend in November), while chatting with people in a theater after a performance, I found myself wishing for a remote control, that I could point at my chatting partner, and click -- to "change the channel" from speech to Sign (the other person need not even know this was happening). This has gotten me all nostalgic for my signing fluency days, and gotten me brooding philosophically about the nature of language, thought, and culture. And watching even more ASL vlogs than usual. Which is how I found out about Signmark:
Singmark is the stage name of a Deaf Finnish Rapper who writes his songs to rhyme through visual parameters; he assembled a group with two Hearing people to compose music and interpret for the Hearing people in his audience. He competed in EuroVision (a Pan-European music competition), and came in second, in the final round. This got the attention of Warner International Music, and he got a global record contract, putting out a CD/DVD combo in English and ASL in 2010, and he's been touring ever since. This is a live performance of "Speakerbox," which he gave in NYC in 2010:
It appears, to my unpracticed eye, to be mostly ASL, but he seems to switch to SEE (or PSE?) for the line "About to go down." Does it seem that way to others?
Also, do I understand correctly that purple is the color representing Deaf Pride (he's wearing a purple tee shirt in the video, and he's dressed in purple on his album cover art)? Is there any special significance to the color? (I love learning about symbolic things).