Contributor, Editor, Regional Coordinator, User Manager
February 20, 2018
Sign Language? Why Not?! - The Story
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Good Day, Language Enthusiast!

On 11 February 2018, Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter has successfully conducted the third meetup in 2018 titled “Sign Language? Why Not?!” In the spirit of celebrating Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter's birthday, in this meetup we collaborated with Pusat Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia (Pusbisindo) to promote Indonesian sign language to a wider audience and hopefully raise people's awareness on the importance of sign language. Since we invited speakers from deaf community, we were assisted by sign language interpreters from Pusat Layanan Juru Bahasa Isyarat (LJB), Mine and Sry.

Our 65 language enthusiasts of the day were very excited and eager to learn from our collaborator. In the first part of the meetup, Juniati Effendi from Pusbisindo talked about the misconception of sign language and deaf community. She informed our audience regarding the use of sign language, the deaf culture, the capability of deaf community, and how to work with deaf people. The second presenter was our guest star, Annisa Rahmania, from Young Voice Indonesia, who presented about social inclusion and how to support our difable friends.

After all presentations were delivered, we began our sign language learning session facilitated by Myrna Mustika and Wilma Redjeki from Pusbisindo, joined by our first two presenters. Since the duration was short, they taught the audience the basics, which comprised of the alphabets and numerals, introduction, and several simple words. The enthusiastic audience were also challenged to introduce their name in sign language to each other and in front of the class correctly.

With the completion of the learning session, we moved on to our language table session, in which we have opened up the English Table 1, English Table 2, French Table, Spanish Table, Italian Table, German Table 1, German Table 2, Dutch Table, Russian Table, Korean Table, Japanese Table, and Arabic Table for discussion among our participants. During this session they were tasked to choose five interesting words in the language they use in the table and translate those into Indonesian sign language. In doing so, we asked them to not use the internet and to ask instead our speakers. Before they got the answers though, the challenge was that they had to be able to introduce themselves correctly in sign language.

The participants followed this rule with much gusto. They happily demonstrated their newly acquired knowledge in sign language. After all tables were done with their preparations, we asked them to present their words one by one. English Table 1, Spanish Table, German Table 1, German Table 2, Dutch Table, Korean Table, and Arabic Table were presenting their words as is. English Table 2 presented their words through role-playing. French Table and Italian Table delivered their words through a short storytelling. Russian Table and Japanese Table demonstrated their words in Indonesian sign language and also the sign language from their language table. There were some corrections on the hand movement from our speakers but overall, our participants did a great job!

As per Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter's tradition, we closed the meetup with a commemorative photo session. Our sincere appreciation to the team from Pusat Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia, Juniati Effendi, Myrna Mustika, Wilma Redjeki, and also Annisa Rahmania from Young Voice Indonesia for this awesome collaboration! We would also like to express our gratitude to Pusat Layanan Juru Bahasa Isyarat and their interpreters of the day, Mine and Sry, for assisting us through the day! Special thanks to Hoshino Tea Time for the lovely venue! (For the photo documentation, please check our Facebook fanpage album).

PS: If you are interested in learning Indonesian sign language, do not hesitate to contact Pusat Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia! :)

About the author

Fajar graduated from Japanese Studies, Universitas Indonesia in 2013, and currently works for Australia Awards Indonesia. His interests else than language including doing part-time work as liaison officer or interpreter, reading novels or manga, and browsing through spotify and youtube for music, preferably European or Asian music. He is also a big fan of Eurovision Song Contest. Currently he can speak Indonesian, English, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, with French, Portuguese, Czech, and Russian in progress. To a certain degree, he also able to understand Javanese and Sundanese.

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