From the very beginning of the training, FinSL is taught by Deaf or hearing lectures who use FinSL as an educational language. As well as foreigner students, Finnish students are exposed to new language and Deaf culture. There have been good experiences being in exchange in both Helsinki and Kuopio campuses.
Finnish Sign Language
Introduction to Finnish Sign Language I (5 ECTS)
Students learn to recognise the differences and similarities between spoken languages and sign languages, and gain a general understanding of signs. They understand the key communicational aspects of the deaf culture, such as getting the interlocutor’s attention and following certain customs of conversation. They learn to handle simple communicative situations and acquire enough basic signs to express themselves briefly even if their signing is still slow and inaccurate. They are able to understand short and simple signed expressions.
Students learn basic signs in the following areas: greetings and introductions, family and relatives, alphabet and numbers, living, food, clothes and colours. They are able to fingerspell intelligibly. Students learn to produce and understand affirmative and interrogative sentences, to identify the phonological features of signs and to use pointing as part of their use of space. The theme includes a skills test.
Introduction to Finnish Sign Language II (5 ECTS)
Students understand the key role of the use of space in Finnish sign language. They learn to handle normal everyday signing situations and to produce intelligible expressions, even if even their signing contains grammatical and lexical deficiencies. They are able to understand the main idea of even a long but slowly signed expression. They understand the different aspects related to the identity formation of a sign language user.
Students learn signs in the following areas: free time and hobbies, health and illness, various expressions of time, weather, nature, description (during Period 2), and climate, nature, animals, natural phenomena, continents, countries, major cities, travelling (during Period 6). Students learn to produce and understand declarative and interrogative sentences as well as comparative structures. They aim to use the signing space grammatically. During Period 6, students develop their ability to use polysynthetic expressions and space in signing. The theme is implemented during Period 2 and Period 6. The theme includes a skills test in both periods, as well as a visit to the Finnish Association of the Deaf.
Polysynthetic Signs (5 ECTS)
Students are able to identify the difference between fixed and polysynthetic signs, as well as their grammatical features in Finnish Sign Language. They are able to identify and use classifiers, form and understand expressions in plural form, and distinguish fixed and polysynthetic signs in a signed text. Students learn signs in the following areas: city and country, vehicles, environment, Finnish cities and towns, annual holidays and religion. The theme includes a skills test.
Sign Language Users and School (5 ECTS)
Students understand the historical and current impact of schooling on the life cycle of a sign language user. They are familiar with the key phenomena related to verb agreement and improve their use of polysynthetic signs and space. Students learn signs in the following areas: professions, school, school subjects and the school world, emotions, and major events and celebrations related to a person’s life cycle. The theme includes a skills test.
Sign Language Community (5 ECTS)
Students understand the social status of Finnish sign language from the perspective of the community and the individual. They become familiar with the historical development of the sign language community in Finland and elsewhere. During the theme, students are introduced to the Finnish Association of the Deaf and activities organised at the Light House. They are able to handle normal practical signing situations and to produce intelligible expressions, even if even the signing contains grammatical and lexical deficiencies. Students are able to understand the main idea of even a long but slowly signed expression. They increase their knowledge of different clause types through conditional clauses and the topic comment structure.
Students learn signs in the following areas: social structures, services and bureaus maintained by the society. They are able to produce and understand conditional clauses and topic comment structures. In addition, students are able to produce clauses in sign language by using their knowledge of the sign order and the use of space. The theme includes a skills test.
Applications and further information
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