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The star of the day. Professor Mélanie Lemaistre wants to introduce us to sign language

Mélanie Lemaistre, a college professor, broadcasts explanatory videos for learning sign language. (Mélanie Lemaistre Twitter account)

Mélanie Lemaistre is a college professor, and since her birth 25 years ago, she has been deaf. “Deaf but not mute!”, specifies Mélanie Lemaistre who wants precisely to put an end to the received ideas on deafness. She has been posting “LSF tutorials”, French sign language, on Instagram, Youtube and Twitter for several years now, but everything changed with the coronavirus epidemic, and especially the appearance of masks, enemies number 1 of those who read the lips.

What to do about it, if not to teach others some useful signs? This is what Mélanie did, starting in March, forcing herself to post every day on Twitter a short video (20 seconds, not much longer) in which she shows how to sign three words, with the keyword # 3signsByDay.

Everything goes there: the different sports, the emotions, the astrological signs. It’s short, didactic, smiling, it could only work.

Result: from the first days of confinement, his Twitter account, @MelanieLmst, saw his number of subscribers explode, and then it continued this summer, with the mask that has definitely imposed itself in our lives. 143,000 views for example for his tutorial on swear words (by the way, we can see what excites us).

Last Monday, Melanie Lemaistre returned to the teachers' room, she went to five signs a week, always in the same spirit: the desire to transmit, to popularize this language that she learned late, at 16, which has changed his life and who could do much more. Instead of being sad, for example, at the disappearance of the kiss and the handshakes, she suggests that we all say “hello” in LSF, because it is more elegant than the famous elbow check. And especially “because it's not complicated”.

Mélanie Lemaistre is an optimist, a positivist one should say. When asked what is her favorite sign, she replies “I love you”, in American Sign Language. This is not very practical because it is not said to the first comer, but for the symbol, whether you are deaf or hearing, deep down, it is still what is most universal.

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