Here is the Singing Hands interpretation of THIS IS ME – from the Greatest Showman soundtrack – such a powerful, emotive song for our SEN community!
This song is jam-packed with metaphors, which presents a challenge when translating a song. You’ll see different interpretations of the lyrics, but we really hope that this one reflects the overall meaning of this beautiful song. Please do take a moment to read through the sign transcription and remember, if there are too many signs for you or your users,you can always strip and few signs away and simplify. You never know, as you get proficient, you may well be able to add those signs back in at a later stage. Enjoy x
Here’s an explanation of our thoughts on translating this song and how you can adjust for different users. For the lyrics – “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down” – if you do Makaton CORE VOCAB signing, you could do BAD + TALK + SAD. This would still be correct and convey meaning if you feel that what we’ve chosen here is too complex. But as we are also trying to expand our signing repertoire for some users – for this line we introduce the sign for ABUSE (index fingers jab downwards), for ‘sharpest words’, which then in turn make someone feel ‘unimportant’ ie. Cut down.
“I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out”. You will see that we don’t do the sign for FLOOD – as this is a metaphor for being more vocal and louder than the abusers. The ensemble in the film is standing up against abuse. There is no drowning other than “drowning” out the sound of abuse – so here we’ve signed “SHOUT / LOUD / PROUD” as this is really the meaning of the line.
Same goes for ‘bullets’ – this is more abuse, do not sign shooting!
Here are the lyrics with our sign transcription:
I am not a stranger to the dark (KNOW / DARK) [ie. ‘familiar’ with the dark]
Hide away, they say (HIDE / TALK)
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts (NO / WANT / BROKEN / BODY)
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars (LEARN / SHAME / OPERATION) [nb. scars are not necessarily physical – could sign WORRY if scars are mental ones – or DIFFERENT if the ‘scars’ are your differences]
Run away, they say (RUN / SAY)
No one’ll love you as you are (NO-ONE / LOVE / YOU / YOU /ARE)
But I won’t let them break me down to dust (NO / ALLOW / BREAK / ME)
I know that there’s a place for us (KNOW / PLACE / US)
For we are glorious (WE / SPECIAL)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down (ABUSE / ME / UNIMPORTANT)
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out (SHOUT / LOUD / PROUD)
I am brave, I am bruised (I / BRAVE / I / PAIN) –
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me (I / WHO / I / BE / THIS *POINT TO SELF / ME)
Look out ’cause here I come (LOOK / I / COME)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (WALK / DRUM) [*literal translation here]
I’m not scared to be seen ( I / NO / SCARED / TO SEE)
I make no apologies, this is me (NO/ SORRY / THIS / ME)
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
Another round of bullets hits my skin (ABUSE / ME / BODY)
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in (*gesture* C’mon!! / TODAY / NO / SHAME / INSIDE ME)
We are bursting through the barricades and (BREAK / THROUGH / WALL)
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors) (REACH / SUN / WE / STRONG)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become) (YES / WE / BECOME)
I won’t let them break me down to dust (NO / ALLOW / BREAK / ME)