Cochlear Implants: The Death of Sign Language?

Philip Trauring philip at CS.BRANDEIS.EDU
Fri Nov 15 02:35:17 UTC 2002

I have to say that if I had to choose between ending deafness and
losing sign language, I'd end deafness.

Let's not forget that those who are deaf can also not appreciate
music nor hear a car horn (perhaps before an accident).

Also, those who are dumb (is there a more PC term for one who cannot
speak?) will continue to use sign language...

Philip Trauring

At 12:02 PM -0800 11/14/02, Seth Thatcher wrote:
>I read an article in Issues and Contraversies over the recent advances in
>hearing aid technology.  Cochlear implants seem to be getting more popular
>and made more affordable for the general public, and some experts
>speculate that the continuation of implants within new born deaf children
>will eventually end deaf culture with the elimination of sign language.
>Is this feasible?  It seems that sign language is a constant means of
>communication throughout all society, and not confined to the deaf.  The
>study also mentioned that other experts in linguistics claim that
>regardless of how many implants get performed, sign language will remain a
>part of the children and families who have the procedure.  I'm still
>wavering on the issue: while I find it fascinating that one day our
>society could end deafness, it seems that it is not worth the price of
>ending a language.  I was curious as to the opinions of those in the
>discussion group on this issue.

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