I became fluent

Post by Marrilyn Moeke

Hello, who am I? My name is Marrilyn, this is my sign name. I will tell you my story, how I came to start using NZSL. To start with, when I was 5, I was in a Deaf Unit here and the hearing classes were over here.

In the Deaf Unit we learnt TC. It was not really sign language, just signs for words like ‘the’, ‘to’ , ‘go’ and ‘shop’. It was not the same as NZSL.

A Deaf person from Christchurch, Paul Buzzard, flew here. He went visiting mainstream schools everywhere, and came to the Deaf Unit here. When he signed with NZSL he used face expressions, I thought he was serious but he wasn’t! He showed me another way of reducing the number of signs I used, and doing more with body langauge – like instead of signing ‘go to the shop’ with one sign for each word I learnt I could sign ‘go-shop’ , that’s all I needed to do. It was quicker to say. It was interesting, Paul was teaching all the hearing kids in the class about body language, face expressions, different ideas etc.

When Paul Buzzard went, I started to look at myself, to reflect. I was wondering if I was the same as Paul or what? I didn’t know what the answer was.

Later when I was a teenager, I left here and went to van Asch. The people there were signing ‘school’ one way but I was signing ‘school’ a different way. It made me curious. The people there were signing so fast, so fluently, I had to really watch hard to keep up. Talking to different people helped me to learn so I could keep up. Then I improved till I became fluent in using NZSL.

Thank you for watching.

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