My ASL class has been going almost 7 months now and I feel really encouraged. The class is much smaller now than when it began, but I think we are all doing pretty well. Something occurred to me while I was watching tonight, though. It is now nearly as easy for me to understand ASL as it is for me to understand spoken English.
In everyday conversations with strangers, I understand anywhere from 30-60% of the words they are saying. I pick up another 10-20% reading lips, pick up some more from the context of the conversation, and the rest I rely on asking people to repeat themselves (hopefully they can figure out some other way to say it so I understand).
If I am signing with patient people like my teacher or classmates, I find it is nearly the same situation. Obviously it is easier with my teacher because she can easily find different ways of explaining, and her nonverbal communication is way beyond any of the students. So although it may seem discouraging that my ASL communication is so painful, I find it very encouraging that we have made this much progress. We can only get better from here, right?