Hello Dr. Vicars,
I have been enjoying learning from your site for a
few years now. I've been studying FSL (Filipino Sign
Language) in Cebu, Philippines while working there
as a missionary. I have a small group of Deaf that
meets regularly at my house for a Bible study.
My family and I are now back in the U.S. for a year,
and I am helping out with the Deaf ministry at my
church here. I'm finding out that ASL and FSL are
way more different than I originally thought. I'm
also finding out that what my friends use in the
Philippines is not as conceptual as ASL here; it is
I'll be signing for the songs this Sunday in church,
and one phrase in particular puzzles me:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship his holy name.
The other interpreters and I
talked about it and they suggested:
past sing express,
but now different - special!
I'm just not happy with it. It
seems so tepid. I'm still new to signing, so maybe
it does express to the Deaf what I wish, but I just
don't know it. Would it be okay to take more
liberties and sign something like:
new hope, new joy
How would you do it?
Even if you can't get to this
before Sunday, which I understand, would you please
still let me know for future reference?
You asked how I would interpret "Sing
like never before, O my soul."
If I were you. I would try to consider what did the
author of the song mean by the phrase "Sing like never
before, O my soul"?
I encourage you to google up some contact info, pick up the
phone (since you are a Hearing person) and call the author (if
they are still alive) and ask, "What did you mean by that?"
And while he or she is unlikely to know sign language, you could
give him or her some sample interpretations and let him/her
choose how he/she would like it to be
Who knows? You might make a new friend and have an absolutely
Obviously you are signing (interpreting) for someone local. If you are not
doing so yet, I'd recommend regularly sitting down with the Deaf members of your
congregation. Explain the various possible meanings and
interpretations of the hymns and then ask them
for various ways to sign
the concepts that the author probably intended to convey. That
might also be a good time to invite
your Deaf members stand up and do the signing of the hymns
(instead of being passive bystanders). Technology
(karaoke-style visuals) or a Hearing assistant to point to the
words would keep things "on track."
p.s. To answer your question, the phrase "like never before" simply
means "very enthusiastically." I would treat "sing like never
before" as a single concept meaning "sing enthusiastically."
To express the concept of singing enthusiastically I would do a two
handed version of the "H"-hand version of SING and I would extend
the movement very far up and out. Either that or I would use the
sign EXPRESS, but I'd start it closer to the body (like the ASL sign
for POETRY) and I'd use two hands thus carrying the meaning of
expressing (which is what "singing" is all about) from my soul.
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