Deaf Residential Schools in the US...
signwriting at MAC.COM
Fri Jan 12 21:53:09 UTC 2007
January 12, 2007
On Jan 12, 2007, at 12:52 PM, K.J. Boal wrote:
> True of most of the Deaf community here, too! I do think that's
> one of the biggest hurdles to get over . . . the fact that most
> Deaf have never imagined reading and writing ASL as part of their
> lives. What could make things more difficult . . . most Deaf don't
> like to read or write because they've only been exposed to written
> English, which they find difficult to understand! Most Deaf don't
> read for pleasure . . . an attitude I can't even begin to imagine,
> since I can't remember ever not being able to read (been doing it
> since the age of 3) and have loved reading ever since. I'm not
> sure quite how to cross that chasm. . .
Oh. I can imagine not reading at all. Strange to hear me say that,
isn't it? I love living in a visual world...
Have you ever lived in a foreign country with no clue as to what the
street-signs say in the written language of the country? Have you
ever been with a group, where you are the only foreigner, and
everyone else speaks another language? I have. And at first I hated
it, but then I grew to respect the process of learning what was going
on visually, never truly understanding anything that was said. The
world became visual for awhile, since the sounds meant nothing, and I
observed body language to get by. At the end, just smiling was the
only solution to a conversation totally past my head...not knowing
anything of what just transpired and wondering if it really mattered
anyway...If people went away thinking I understood them they were
wrong...I think a lot of hearing people assume that understanding is
happening between deaf and hearing when it is not...
Reading Danish for pleasure? Well...I am at around the third grade
reading level in Danish...that means I can peruse a magazine in
relaxed Danish, and with the combination of the pictures and the easy
language I get the idea...but sitting down and reading a thick
complex Danish novel about a subject matter I know nothing about,
without any illustrations...for a third-grade level reader in
Danish...that is not a pleasure...that is work! hoping I can
understand half of it is a struggle to be sure I got all the nuances
of advanced reading...and newspapers...forget it...too many large
words I did not know...
Not true for my native language English...
But my third grade reading level in my second language Danish is a
struggle and I make no apologies...it is not an attitude - it is a
reality of skill and understanding...
Deaf people are forced to read their second language, a spoken
language, with no writing system for their first language...that is
totally unfair! And not pleasurable...so reading for pleasure is
based on how skilled you are in the language you are reading...
I have to get off my soap box...and must rest and prepare the
Have a great evening everyone -
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