Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Preacher Man, ASL

Troop's 'Who's That Girl' post yesterday featuring Dusty Springfield made me look for Preacher Man videos interpreted in ASL. I practiced this song quite a lot and never did manage to nail it to satisfaction.

I love this song up to my ears and I hope you do too.

I learned something. For fifty years I've been signing "preach" and "preacher" the wrong way. No problem I can make the switch instantly. "Preacher" and "teach" are both used in the song. I never did care for signing "preacher man" because the phrase is awkward in sign. [preach] + [personification] + [man] and yet it seems essential for the southern colloquial sense. It's in the title, so an essential element. Both interpreters ignore the [man] portion, and show instead either "preach" or "preacher"

Both sign "son" imprecisely. The sign is two-part [boy] + [baby], it's a bit awkward to do for such a short word. Male signs are made at the upper portion of the face, front or side, and female signs are the lower portion of the face, chin or side. And there's sexism built into the language right there.

So then, [preach] + [er] + [male] + [baby] for "preacher's son" or "son of preacher"

This whole time, for decades on end, my sign for preacher is index finger and thumb slicing across the neck to show a preacher's white collar. But all the song videos, all the online dictionaries, all the instruction videos agree, for once, an "F" hand configuration held at the side of the face and pushed forward a few times, a perfect Obama hand pedagogic hand motion as if holding an uncooked spaghetti noodle as baton. Not "P" for preach, as you might assume, rather, "F" for faith. The preacher is propounding faith.

How could I be so wrong for so long? But still be understood this whole time.

I love Soph so much.

Her sign is very much like my own. Hers is textbook perfection. Her signs all very well formed. She adheres to the lyrics much as possible with very little idiosyncrasies and nearly no ASL phrase substitutions.

You'll notice "look into my eyes" in both videos done similarly. It's a cool sign. Howard signs "the look that was in his eyes" the same way.

Soph signs "Looking to see how much we're growing" by the book. "look" and "grow" like a plant grows. Howard signs two levels of growth rising together, as two kids growing up. They're both genuine signs.

"Yes he was, was, oooooh, yes he was."

Howard makes a flat hand motion past his cheek for "past" Soph puts an index finger to her lips and pushes it forward for "true."

For me, generally, Soph is much more easily understood. I wouldn't recognize the song by Howard's signing if I didn't already know what it is. He uses very many more deaf phrasings for things like "when his daddy would visit he'd come along," and "sweet talking to me and telling me everything's alright" Howard signs more as deaf actually speak. Soph signs like a textbook. Soph and I are like that: 🤞, which incidentally is an "R" configuration.

This is gross. Forgive it please. The sign for "eeew" is very similar to hearing people's pantomime for "he's a jack off"

"everything's alright" = [all] [straight]

Oh! "get way" is one of my favorite systems. It's an index finger shoved between the fingers of the opposing flat hand. The index finger flicks outward. It's used for "escape" and all associated concepts; elude, dodging, run away, leave. The same configuration with the index finger being shoved up into the fingers of the flat hand, like a spindle through stationary papers, means "pop up" or "show up" while the same configuration with emphasis on the index finger pulled downward, like removing a spindle from a stack of papers, means "disappear." It is a very useful system and one or another of its forms is seen all the time.

"Remember" is a thought, an index finger to the forehead, press with the thumb into the other thumb. But ever since the "Somebody That I Used to Know" video I've adopted Azora's way of signing "remember," a thumb ground into the forehead. It's a better sign although probably something she made up.

Soph actually signs the words "make" + "time" instead of what that means, "be together."

Soph's "reach" is actually "grab." She's going fast so it looks like a grab. Like you are being grabbed. The concept intended is "connect" like a chain link, so that would actually work better.


Trooper York said...

Great post Chip. Thanks.

edutcher said...

Notice he never actually admits it.

Amartel said...

Dusty's got a sexy voice, which wouldn't translate. Guess you'd need a sexy translator.

deborah said...

The man's is great to me because it conveys music to me, kind of like hula signs.