ruthclaros at MAIL.COM
Fri Jan 21 21:28:00 UTC 2005
I think we need to be careful with misquoting :) I say it the best possible way. "I" was quoting when I said
"The Deaf Community as a whole has not accepted ..."
and "I" was questioning that very thing :)
I like your comments, Stuart, about the commonalities you see between the Deaf and other minorities. I just came back from Bolivia, and everything you said could be applied to their situation. Most of their indigenous languages do not have a written form, and they are working on this as best they can.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stuart Thiessen"
To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Re:
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 11:39:58 -0600
> Actually, for our community, we have found that the vast majority
> of deaf people here have no clue that SW even exists. At first,
> there is the natural skepticism, but as they see how SW naturally
> conveys the movements they use in signing, they become more
> interested. Now, I have also observed that those who are
> well-versed in English (or perceive themselves that way) tend to be
> less interested in SW and consider it a waste of time. Those who
> struggle with English tend to see this as a valuable way to express
> themselves. So their level of bi-lingualism and whether they
> accept the American mono-lingual imperative makes a big difference
> in how they respond to SW.
> We have also used Sequoyah's story (to show the value of writing
> systems for minority languages) and explained the history of SW and
> compared it to other hearing imposed systems. Philip and I are
> impressed with Valerie's commitment to respecting deaf culture and
> process while still championing the value of her system. We have
> done our best to communicate that difference. When deaf people
> here learn how written language has benefitted other minority
> language groups that tend to be oppressed in majority language
> settings and when they see how Valerie has done her best to respect
> our language and culture, they tend to put aside the cultural
> issues and focus on the practical issues of "Will this work for me?"
> That is our experience. Another email mentioned "The Deaf
> Community as a whole has not accepted ..." I think that is a bunch
> of nonsense. I think the vast majority of deaf Americans don't
> even know about it or if they did, it was only in passing and that
> initial glance often only catches the "complicated" symbols rather
> than the system behind it. Most of the people who complain that it
> is too complicated tend to take that back after they take the time
> to let me explain how the system works. Of course, if they never
> take the time to look at it, then they continue this misperception
> that SW is too complicated to learn. So, it is just the process of
> getting the word out and showing its benefits.
> Personally, I think for some (not all), it is a matter of felt
> superiority. Some get a feeling of superiority over other deaf
> people by having a better command of English. These same people may
> or may not be as fluent in ASL and theoretically could lose some of
> their "position" in the culture if ASL had its own written form. If
> ASL literacy really took off, then you could have some very
> literate ASL people who may or may not be as literate in English. I
> also think SW will benefit ESL programs for deaf people and I think
> that SW will give an outlet for people who struggle with English to
> develop literacy skills in ASL. Those skills may or may not help
> them with English, but at least they will have an avenue for
> expressing their thoughts, ideas, and dreams in written form. As I
> understand, this kind of situation is somewhat common for minority
> languages which do not have a written system yet.
> Of course, we need hard data on this for SW, but based on writing
> systems for other minority groups, I can't imagine that it would be
> any different for our deaf communities.
> On Jan 21, 2005, at 8:12, dparvaz at MAC.COM wrote:
> >> Maybe my insight as a Deaf American will help. Deaf in the
> >> community I am in at least don't want a written system from a
> >> hearing person because hearing people have opressed deaf any
> >> times, and some still do ...
> > Granted. And so when a hearing person comes in with something to
> > do with language, or education, or anything, there is initial
> > skepticism: is this one more "cha-head hearing" thing? Were Deaf
> > people involved? What kind of deaf? REAL Deaf or "think-hearing"
> > deaf? And so on. After all, what set the Abbé de l'Épée apart
> > from others isn't that he didn't come up with some nutty
> > pedagogical technique ("methodical" signs) so much as he was
> > humble enough to ask the Deaf to teach him first.
> >> The way for SW to become generally accepted (at least here in
> >> the US) will be for a few Deaf who see why SW would be good and
> >> to show that to the rest of the Deaf.
> > And in this environment is means devising easy methods of writing
> > SW, both with a pencil and with a computer.
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