Learning to speak in silence

Last updated 05:00 30/07/2014

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Dee and Brooke Jury wanted to learn a new language.

So the New Plymouth mother and daughter signed up for the beginners' New Zealand sign language course taught by tutor Lisa Masters to gain a better knowledge of it.

Students were in the middle of learning how to sign their name using the finger alphabet when the Taranaki Daily News stopped by to observe the lessons at Puke Ariki on Sunday.

Masters was the only qualified sign-language tutor in New Plymouth, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand said. The hour-long classes run for eight weeks.

Pupils are introduced to the deaf culture, which was the way the community interacts with each other through facial expressions and body language the finger alphabet and how to introduce themselves using basic sign language.

Brooke was deaf in the right ear and she wanted to learn how to better communicate using sign language, she said.

Her younger brother was also hearing impaired.

Brooke said she had looked around New Plymouth to see if there were any centres that offered sign language classes but could not find any.

Until she read in the Taranaki Daily News about Masters' classes. "I have been wanting to do it for about three years," Brooke said. For Dee, it was learning about New Zealand's third official language. She found the first class "quite confusing and a little bit hard".

But it was all a matter of practice, Dee said.

"The more you do it, the easier it gets." Masters said she thought her first class had gone quite well but would like more students enrolled.

She is also holding a session in Waitara on August 7. People interested in the classes can text Lisa Masters on 027 784 2589 or email lisa.masters2013@gmail.com.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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