[lg policy] Tammy Goddard: the sign language mortgage broker

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat May 26 11:03:33 EDT 2018


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Tammy Goddard: the sign language mortgage broker
Rob Stock10:54, May 26 2018

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Financial sign language
Chris McKeen/Stuff
Financial sign language

Tammy Goddard is a mortgage broker from Tauranga building a national client
base of deaf people.

Goddard, who grew up in a deaf household is building a client base in the
roughly 9000-strong deaf community using Skype and Facetime.

A long-time property investor, she joined Mike Pero Mortgages a year ago,
and has found a personal mission in making it easier for deaf people to
take control of their own finances, without having to use translators,
or "support" people.
[image: New Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr celebrated sign language week
with a few signs as he delivered his first monetary policy statement.]
ROBERT KITCHEN/STUFF
New Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr celebrated sign language week with a
few signs as he delivered his first monetary policy statement.

Sign language, which is one of the country's three official languages, was
a flexible language that coped well with financial jargon, Goodard said.



*READ MORE: * PM Jacinda Ardern launches video campaign for NZ Sign
Language
<https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/103625276/pm-jacinda-ardern-launches-video-campaign-for-nz-sign-language-week?rm=m>
* Eight-year-old with deaf parents teaching Sign Language
<https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/103795741/eightyearold-with-deaf-parents-teaching-sign-language?rm=m>*

But then Goddard is a master of the language as she could sign before she
could speak.

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[image: Tammy Goddard from Mike Pero Mortgages grew up in a deaf household,
and learnt to sign before she could speak.]
STUFF
Tammy Goddard from Mike Pero Mortgages grew up in a deaf household, and
learnt to sign before she could speak.

"It's my first language. I've been signing since I was seven, or eight
months old," she said.

By seven she was the family translator, particularly for her mother, who
had been raised in times less respectful and inclusive of deaf people.

"My mother's deaf, and my father's hearing. I'm the youngest of six
children, three deaf and three hearing," Goddard said.

Her mother was part of a generation which was not particularly well
educated. She lacked confidence to engage with the world in the way
everyone expects to nowadays.

Goddard would be the one sent to the Post Office to pay the bills.

"There was no support then," Goddard said.

She joined Mike Pero Mortgages a year ago.

"I bought my first house when I was 19. Becoming a mortgage broker was a
natural step for me."

Buying a home was a first in her family, and she encouraged her siblings
into property as well, which had helped them establish prosperous lives.

Most of her clients were in Christchurch, where she is from, but that was
changing as she became known nationally.

Deaf people wanted the same level of control over their communications as
hearing folk, Goddard said, including in their financial lives.

Translators were available to deaf people, she said, but nobody really
wanted their experience filtered through the voice of another, guessing
whether their words, and those of the people they were dealing with, were
being translated accurately.

And having a non-deaf "support person" could also pose problems.

"They may not be particularly financially capable," Goddard said.

Skype and Facetime were technologies deaf people had adopted, enabling them
to more easily get financial advice remotely.

Financial jargon was a challenge for everyone, deaf or hearing. But sign
language coped well with the challenge of tongue-twisting, highly-specific
finance terms, including the introduction of new words to the lexicon.

In some cases, signers could spell out jargon words, but for the more
common terms, sign language generated signs in a similar way that spoken
language created them.

The word for KiwiSaver, for example, is the combination of the sign for
Kiwi (hand indicates long beak) with the sign for saving.

Fixed rate mortgage combines the motion of twisting a screw with the word
for mortgage.


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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