math

is starting to make sense. I mean, as a language of space and spatial relationships. Who knows if I’ll ever actually remember all the rules and how to do various kinds of problems (!), but the logic is finally getting through my thick, thick skull. It may be because I’ve developed enough depth in the visual/kinesthetic/spatial mode of ASL now for that to provide a cognitive bridge? Or it could be simple repetition. (I won’t confess how many times I’ve taken and/or interpreted algebra, geometry, and other advanced math classes. No, no, I won’t!
In Wanda’s, mine, the deaf student and non-deaf teacher’s on-going discussions about meaningfulness and sign choices, we landed upon the same sign (use of the “B” classifier, moved conceptually in space) for symmetry and reflection. The English definitions use the terms to define each other! I distinguished symmetry as a characteristic of shape (the teacher agreed it’s static, not moving) and reflection as an action (the teacher embellished this a more but in general agreed).
In terms of interaction, the deaf student has – on a few occasions – asked us not to sign something as she wants to have a private conversation with us. I feel fine with this except/unless I’m otherwise formally “on” – for instance, standing in the front of the room as the teacher pauses between problems. Norms have developed around the table when the students are working on problems either on their own or in teams in which Wanda and I might chit-chat with non-deaf students or the deaf student depending. I think it’s a necessary break from the intensity of the learning process. The teacher commented during one of the first sessions that it must be hard for a deaf student to work (think and learn!) while they’re being watched (the interpreter’s gaze, eh?).
Another thing I’ve become more conscious of is really putting myself into the role of the speaker. It’s easier to do when the role is one I’m already familiar and comfortable with in other contexts – such as being a teacher. I know how “to do” that. It frees me from the literal, too, and enhances the product of interpretation. 🙂 The non-deaf students at the table often take on the role of teacher or encourager – or distractor, clown, etc – like normal students. 🙂 Those interactions are fun and build connection & relationship across the language/culture divide.
Part of fully taking on the teacher role is that it creates more time/space for me to utilize some ASL discourse features such as repetition and emphasis. The linearity of English (any spoken language?) conditions the non-deaf mind to follow thoughts in a linear manner, recognizing when tangents occur – although some folk tend to speak in tangents more than anything else! The simultaneity of ASL, as a visual language, means they perceive information in/on a broader plane – there is no automatic prioritization of ‘a line’ (theme, subject, topic) that is conditioned by language. The line-of-thinking has to be built, created constantly through direct reference that re-anchors the topic, subject, etc.
Now we’re discussing functions. [Note: a positivistic way of knowing (there are other ways to know, smile).] No lexical equivalent here, only a code. 🙁
Inverse is not exactly opposite, btw, and a regression – WOW – we were way off on that one! It is not a simple reduction or decrease (such as indicated by a “decline” down the arm).
regression. A mathematical relationship between two variables (eg, the height and weight of women in Australia). For simplicity, the relationship is often taken to be a linear one (ie, a straight line when plotted), but it can also be a curve. When the regression relationship for the variables is known, we can predict the approximate value of one variable from the value of the other.”
Regression: A form of statistical modelling that attempts to evaluate the relationship between one variable (termed the dependent variable) and one or more other variables (termed the independent variables). It is a form of global analysis as it only produces a single equation for the relationship thus not allowing any variation across the study area. Geographically Weighted Regression is a local analysis form of regression.”

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