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ASL Students

This page is a work in progress; it will have information and FAQ for ASL students who are interested in attending deaf events to socialize and to learn sign language.

If you are a student of ASL and you have a question, but you’re too shy to ask in person, feel free to email info@deafcoffee.com and ask. We may post your question (and answer) here. Don’t worry, we won’t post your name.


Books

Below is a list of recommended books on deaf-related subjects, such as deaf community, deaf history, and deaf culture. More book titles will be added. Got a book you’d like to recommend or you were required to read? Email info@deafcoffee.com and we’ll add it to the list.

The Deaf Community in America: History in the Making. By Melvia M. Nomeland. 2011. Paperback and Kindle versions are available. ISBNs: 078646397X / 978-0786463978. Amazon | Ebay
Note: If you’re taking deaf studies in college, you may be required to get this book. Much to our surprise, DeafCoffee.com is mentioned in it! Thanks to Emily for bringing this up.

For Hearing People Only. By Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan. Volumes 1 and 2. 4th Edition, 2016. Only paperback is available. ASIN: B01LWVXRO6. Amazon | Ebay
Note: These books aren’t cheap, but well worth it, according to many people. Make sure you’re getting the 4th Edition. The book-covers of the 3rd and 4th editions look very similar.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: I don’t mean to offend, but why do some deaf people write or type English very poorly?
A1: This website (ASLSpeak.org) explains it the best. Please be considerate and don’t ask a deaf person who you don’t know well about this; most of them may feel insulted and may even become angry.

Q2: I’m completely new to ASL so I’m very shy and nervous about going to a deaf event. How do I start approaching deaf people?
A2: Our advice is to have a friend, colleague, or mentor who is fluent in ASL accompany you when you go to a deaf social event. They can then interpret for you and help you get accustomed to socializing with deaf people. After you feel confident with your signing, you can then be on your own. Or, if you don’t have someone with you, ask around for a hearing signer while you’re at the event and stay close to them or become friends with them. Be sure to politely ask them for permission first, perhaps offer to buy them a drink or a snack!

NOTE: Please keep in mind that not all deaf people may want to spend their time teaching ASL. Most of them are at the event to hang out with their friends and to catch up on news with each other. So if some deaf people seem uninterested in teaching ASL, don’t take it personally – move on to another person or stick with your friend/colleague/mentor.

Q3: I enjoy learning ASL as a hobby. One day I asked a few deaf people how to sign “computer”. They all signed it in different ways! It was explained that there can be different signs for some words. I’m trying to understand… how can that be?
A3: Just like any verbal languages, ASL does have “accents” or “dialects”! It’s all matter of how deaf people were brought up, who they interacted with, and so on. It’s not a big deal; just try to memorize the different signs for a word and/or stick with one that’s used most often among the deaf people you associate or socialize with.

(More Q/A coming soon. Don’t see your question here? Email info@deafcoffee.com)