Learning a new language is always a two-part process. You go to class and learn the basics of polite conversation and everyday objects, like "How are you?" "What is the weather like?" and "Where is the library?" Then you go home and search on your own to try and find out how to say the dirtiest words you can think of. Everyone does this. After four years of learning French in high school, the two sentences I remember best are "I would like a ham sandwich" and "You have a porcupine stuck up your behind." I think it's human nature to want to learn about the raunchy side of a new culture.
It was the same in college, when I started to learn American Sign Language. My friends and I would learn new vulgar words and phrases, and excitedly share them with each other. It was so interesting to see what this other culture did to express the same taboo concepts, to see how we were united in that, hearing and deaf alike, we all thought about these unmentionable things and put names to them. And the more I learned about American Sign Language, the more I wanted to share it with people! I wanted to let everyone else see how exciting and fun it was. After two and a half years of a successful YouTube channel posting videos as I've learned new phrases, I'm proud to share my new book, "Super Smutty Sign Language" [St. Martin's Press, $12.99], chock full of the best and filthiest phrases I've learned in ASL. Here are a few examples: