Posts Tagged: Deaf Culture
· Cued Speech is a phonetically-based way to teach spoken English to deaf children
· Created by Gallaudet University Vice President R. Orin Cornett in 1966
· Uses eight visual cues utilizing hand shapes to make lip reading easier
· The shape of the hand represents a consonant sound, while the position indicates a vowel
· Many parents can become fluent with cuing in about six months
· Most "cuers" are concentrated on the East Coast
· The system has been modified for 67 different languages
· Sarina Roffe is the current president of the National Cued Speech Association
· A 2005 survey found less than 200 of 37,500 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in US elementary and secondary schools used it as their primary mode of communication with teachers
· Only a few thousand deaf Americans use cued speech regularly
· There are only about 100 certified cued speech transliterators in the US
· Many in the Deaf Community view it as a threat to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture in general
90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents?
Surprisingly, this is true. The other 10% are called DOD, or Deaf of Deaf, meaning that they are the Deaf children of Deaf adults. DOD tends to be a title that is somewhat coveted in the Deaf community. It is a source of pride that they are able to carry on the “legacy”. DOD, both children and adults, have been known to be more confident, prone to becoming leaders, and have a better linguistic command of both ASL and English than their DOH (Deaf of Hearing) counterparts. This may be due to their immediate inclusion in the Deaf community, and the encouragement to learn ASL and to take pride in their Deaf title. DOH children are often sent to oral schools, given Cochlear Implants, and encouraged to speak rather than sign, in hopes that they will fit in with the Hearing community. There are exceptions of course, Hearing parents that encourage ASL and other aspects of Deaf inclusion, but by and large Hearing parents tend to try to assimilate their children to the Hearing culture.
75% of all parents with deaf children do not know sign language?
Sadly, this is also true. This is a baffling statistic, as it means that 75% of all parents with deaf children have an extremely limited ability to communicate with their children. The reason behind parents not learning ASL is unknown.
10% of Americans know ASL?
This is false. In truth, the current number is unknown. The census that is generally referenced when speaking of ASL users was completed in 1970 and included everyone who signs, whether or not they are fluent in ASL. It is known that the use of ASL is on the rise, so there is hope a new census will be completed in the near future. The results of that census would prove to be both interesting and encouraging for people who wish to learn.
60% of the English language is visible on the lips?
Though many who rely on speech reading wish this were true, unfortunately it is false. As discussed in Deaf Culture #3, only about 20% of words are visible on the lips, and even that number is contingent on specific elements. Words may be difficult to read for many reasons. Anything in or around the mouth will distort the message. This could be a beard or mustache, chewing gum, or even braces. There can also be problems if the speaker has a speech impediment, is a fast talker, or tends to mumble. Also, if the speaker is aware that someone is trying to read their lips, they may attempt to help, which usually ends up being a hindrance. By attempting to speak more slowly and clearly, they will distort the natural cadence of the words, making it more difficult to understand.
It is acceptable to bounce your letters while fingerspelling?
Imagine trying to read a book while driving down a bumpy dirt road…that is the equivalent of bouncing your letters while fingerspelling. Mastering the fine art of fingerspelling requires infinite amounts of both practice and patience and it would be a shame to blur all of your hard work by bouncing your hand! Often, the bouncing of letters while fingerspelling is the result of fierce concentration and the wish to form the letters correctly. Thankfully, the cure for a bouncing hand is simply practice and confidence!
The funny thing is my mom decided to send me to an oral school. But I was not happy there. I remember crying and not wanting to go. They wouldn't let you sign at all, and you would have to speak all the time. It didn't feel right. My mom took me to a deaf school [that used ASL], and I was happy.
Read the full story here.
As you work through American Sign Language lessons and read up on Deaf Culture, it is important to remember that deaf people have a sense of humor, too! Whatever aspect of deaf life you may be exploring, you should never forget to treat deaf individuals the same way you would your own friends and family. Although deaf humor and hearing humor does not always translate between cultures (for example, “It’s raining cats and dogs”), that doesn’t mean you should resist sharing a laugh like you would with anyone else.
Hearing people are often afraid to offend a deaf person by signing the wrong thing, but just as with any other language, deaf people appreciate it when others try to communicate with them. Just think how much easier it would be to learn a new sign than make sense of some of those French pronunciations! Everyone has the tools to be an ASL learner… just (literally) dust off your hands and get to work. The more you explore American Sign Language, the more we at ASLdeafined believe you will come to understand the unique beauty of this special means of communication.
Please join us in our goal to share this important language with others. Summer is a great time to catch up on that TO DO list of life and tackle some of the tasks you put off during the rest of the year. Why not make it fun by picking a favorite joke and learning how to sign it? What a great way to start a conversation with the next deaf person you meet.
In our blogs we have often used the term Deaf Culture, but that takes on a little different meaning if you just add the word “Pop” in between. There are certain very recognizable celebrities in Deaf Pop Culture, such as the famous actress Marlee Matlin, who has starred in a successful film version of Children of a Lesser God (1986), originally published as a play in 1980 by Mark Medoff. Marlee has also been featured in several TV shows, including recent reality hits like The Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars. Speaking of Children of the Lesser God, actress Phyllis Frelich won a Tony Award for her role in the stage production. Do you want to know what else is incredible? Lou Ferrigno, American actor and body builder, well known for his role as the Incredible Hulk in the 1970’s and 80’s is also a Deaf individual.
Those in the Deaf community are more likely to know the name of I. King Jordan, but hearing people should learn more about this first Deaf president of Gallaudet University and the interesting history surrounding it (our next set of blogs will focus on history, so you may see more on that here too). Additionally, Heather Whitestone is worth noting for being the first Deaf woman to win the title of Miss America! So what is stopping you from digesting that next American Sign Language (ASL) lesson? You never know when you might run into the next stage or screen star in the Deaf community.