How to Communicate Through Facial Expressions

How to Communicate Through Facial Expressions

“Be comfortable using your face,” writes Regan Thibodeau, 42, a certified deaf interpreter who translates statewide coronavirus briefings in Maine and was interviewed via email. Don’t view facial expressions as an afterthought; think of them as an essential tool for communication. “Hearing children are conditioned not to make faces because it is ‘rude’ in the hearing culture along with pointing,” Thibodeau says. “It is the opposite for the deaf culture.” Thibodeau didn’t learn to sign until she was 6, because, she says, her mother was in denial of her deafness. All she had were facial expressions. …

Signing isn’t moving English onto your hands; about 80 percent of the grammar happens elsewhere, mostly on your face. To best train for these more complex facial exercises, immerse yourself in what Thibodeau calls the languaculture of American Sign Language by living with, learning from and working alongside deaf people. …

By Malia Wollan, The New York Times

Read Article