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thethinker42
08-30-2009, 07:50 AM
I don't know if anyone on this board is deaf, hearing-impaired, etc., but I thought I'd throw this out there. If you know anyone who is, and you think they might be willing to offer some insight, please feel free to pass these questions on to them.

If any of it is too personal or you simply don't feel comfortable posting it publicly, please don't hesitate to PM me or e-mail me (thethinker42(at)gmail(dot)com).

Thanks in advance for your help...(all questions apply to deaf OR hearing-impaired I'm just using "deafness" for the sake of brevity) Please feel free to add any info, expand on any of the questions, etc. No such thing as too much information here...

1. Are you fully or partially deaf?
2. Have you always been deaf, or did you have "normal" hearing at some point in your life?
3. What caused your deafness?
4. What difficulties, if any, do you encounter in your daily life as a result of your deafness?
5. How do strangers treat you when they find out you're deaf?
6. Have you found yourself limited in terms of careers, education, etc? How have you overcome such obstacles and limitations?
7. How does/has your deafness affected relationships and interactions with hearing people? (Especially curious about romantic relationships)
8. What misconceptions about deafness bother you?

All help is appreciated. Even if the questions don't apply to you, but you have something to add, please don't hesitate.

Thanks!!!

Cricket18
08-30-2009, 08:38 AM
Hi there!

I'm hearing impaired--I wear hearing aids in both ears...hope my answers help--but you can pm me if you want more specifics.

1. Are you fully or partially deaf? Partially.
2. Have you always been deaf, or did you have "normal" hearing at some point in your life? Normal until about 30 or so...(I'm 40 now)
3. What caused your deafness? It's degenerative--both my mom and my sister have it. My sister's REALLY bad--I'd say she only has about 20% of her hearing left.
4. What difficulties, if any, do you encounter in your daily life as a result of your deafness? Ugh--where do I start? For me, it's about not hearing words correctly--discrimination is the technical term...it can sound like murmur, murmur, murmur...you know someone's speaking but you have no idea what it is they're saying. Night sounds like might, etc. I was in the acting businesss and have pretty much stepped away from it because when a director gives you direction, many times it's from a different room / area...and I just couldn't hear.
5. How do strangers treat you when they find out you're deaf? Most people don't know...I read lips and say, "What?" a lot. People who know me well I tell--and they're surprised--probably because I'm so young.
6. Have you found yourself limited in terms of careers, education, etc? How have you overcome such obstacles and limitations? Overcome? Not really? The last shoot I worked on, I told the director--he was very sympathetic and helped me. But, ahem, that's not always the case.
7. How does/has your deafness affected relationships and interactions with hearing people? (Especially curious about romantic relationships) My husband gets very frustrated at times! And in the dark, when he's whispering in my ear, sometimes I'm like, "What?" It's a mood breaker, for sure. :D He tries to be understanding --but when I'm around my sister, who's so much worse than I am, I see myself getting frustrated...so I can only imagine how the spouses feel.
8. What misconceptions about deafness bother you? That you're stupid. I have a really quick wit. But when I don't hear people, or try to piece together what they're saying, I'll pause. And people equate that to not being smart--or being slow.

GeorgeK
08-30-2009, 09:59 AM
I have a very narrow low range hearing loss (I'm not sure that loss is the right word, if I never had it) that I can compensate for by reading lips. It's only an issue for baritones who mumble. I never really even thought about it until an attending surgeon wrote in my residency review that "Dr K has no sense of humor."

I asked the chief resident what that was about and he said, "Well you never laugh at his jokes during surgery."

I said, "What jokes? He never says anything during surgery. He just makes these odd hand gestures."

"Dude, he's a riot!" he replied.

Then one of the other residents, commented, "George read lips. He doesn't hear things the way normal people do and in surgery everyone is wearing a mask."



One of my brothers is deaf (probably as a result of being 3 months premature and that was decades before surfactant was available) unless he wears two large hearing aides and then is still hard of hearing. Our parents didn't want him to go to a special school where "the teachers might fill his head with all sorts of nonsense because they didn't speak the same language, so how would we ever know?" They just preferred to think of him as retarded. He's actually very smart and reads avidly but can't follow a conversation if more than about 2 people are talking, because half of the time is spent zeroing in on localizing a sound before he can identify what was said, and by then someone else is talking. So at reunions he tends to be bored. He has problems with phones. The amplifiers and hearing aids tend to be delicate and break often. The first time he came down to our farm was the first time he'd ever heard a frog because it was the only time he was near enough of them at one time that they were loud enough for him to hear. Everyone else thought they were deafening, but he dragged a hammock out and slept there so he could listen to them all night.

thethinker42
08-30-2009, 10:07 AM
Thanks, both of you!!! This is exactly what I'm looking for...keep it coming, folks! :D

Mumut
08-30-2009, 10:17 AM
I developed tinitus many years ago. The electrical-interference/buzzing sound interferred with my hearing. The doctor warned me I'd start going deaf and that has now happened. I have hearing aids for each ear. It's mainly the high frequency sound I don't get. When I put them on at night I hear the insects and frogs in the back paddock and water trickling if the tap is left on. But solid sounds are still easy to hear.

I have a problem in the car, though. My wife speaking while we're driving is hard to hear. I think I'm allergic to her voice and it is a separate problem but she tells me it is not.

If I have difficulty hearing someone I've always found them to be helpful. But I'm mostly dealing with mature people and almost always at book signings (I'm a bit of a hermit and I don't leave home for much else).

Chase
08-30-2009, 10:35 AM
1. Are you fully or partially deaf?

I’m totally deaf, as is my older sister. My brother is hard-of-hearing.

2. Have you always been deaf, or did you have "normal" hearing at some point in your life?

I’ve been deaf for eight years, after two decades of progressive hearing loss. My sister, four years older, has been deaf since birth. Because my sister communicated with ASL, I learned it along with spoken English.

3. What caused your deafness?

Every physician over the years has had this or that theory. The first speculated our mother had German measles before my older sister was born. After sibling deafness evidenced itself, theories changed to a genetic cause.

4. What difficulties, if any, do you encounter in your daily life as a result of your deafness?

Too numerous to list here. I have to conduct most business in person. TTY/DDY has always been cumbersome, and usually worked best deaf-to-deaf. Deaf-to-deaf communications have been vastly improved by video phones. I had Oregon Relay for the Deaf, a phone where an operator typed messages from callers for me to see and I spoke directly to callers. That system works for some family and friends, but very few businesses will return relay calls. Many businesses I call hang up at the first beep or click thinking I’m an automated solicitation. Many medical facilities will not communicate by e-mail.

5. How do strangers treat you when they find out you're deaf?

If I need to communicate with strangers, I immediately tell them I’m deaf and that I speechread. A few with sordophobia (fear of the deaf) freeze like deer in headlights. Some begin to wave their arms and make foolish gestures (such as repeated thumbs up, which depending on its location means 10 in sign language. My name Chase is one thumb up "chasing" the other across mid-torso) Some hold hands around their mouths obscuring lips and shout. It’s really hard not to laugh. It’s best to smile, say excuse me, and leave or find other assistance. Most people will work with me. If for some reason I can’t speechread a particular person, I carry a notebook and pen, so we can write.

6. Have you found yourself limited in terms of careers, education, etc? How have you overcome such obstacles and limitations?

My sister was limited to menial, low paying jobs her whole life. My ability to earn was significantly reduced until regular retirement.

7a. How does/has your deafness affected relationships and interactions with hearing people?

It depends on the willingness of the people to communicate and both of our patience. One co-worker never learned one solitary sign in two years. He constantly obscured his mouth. or spoke to me when out of my line of vision. Our boss caught him whistling to me and patting his thigh as if to call a dog (the patted thigh is an ASL word for dog, so at least he signed to me once) and gave him a written warning. The next attention-getter was to throw things, but one time he hit me with a thrown stick. When he recovered from all the sticks and rocks I threw back, the boss fired him. Another co-worker was a Russian who never spoke a word of English, but at the end of a year of pointing and signing, he could deftly sign over a hundred words and phrases.

7b. (Especially curious about romantic relationships).

One of the best kept secrets is deafies are the best lovers on the planet. It has partly to do with being able to discern nuances of body language, having very deft and talented hands, and never being put off by piercing screams of intense pleasure. The other factor is when one facility diminishes, another facility grows.

8. What misconceptions about deafness bother you?

In general, it’s the misconception of many that the ability to hear is somehow tied to intelligence and that those who can’t hear automatically have less of it.

For me personally, it’s the belief that speechreading is instantaneous, like on TV shows. My favorite myth is the guy "lipreading" across a street with binoculars. I’m among the better speechreaders, which means about 50-60% accuracy with strangers and up to 90% with family and longtime friends. I need to read facial expressions, gestures, and body language while trying to figure words from mouth forms and fit the few recognized words into context.

As an instance, "elephant stew," "olive juice," "I love you," and "autumn view" all look alike on some people’s lips. The same with "vacuum" and "fuck you." Similarities go on and on.

Lots of time it takes several seconds to make sense of longer phrases. Some people get impatient if asked to repeat or paraphrase and go into s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n talk, which is unreadable and embarrasses us both . . . or they say the words to cause most of us deaf people to withdraw from the discussion: Oh, never mind.

GeorgeK
08-30-2009, 11:07 AM
Music!

I'm not a fan of most music with lyrics because I can't understand the words.

"There's a bad moon on the rise" (can't remember whose song) is not "There's a bathroom on the right"

"Walk this way" (Aerosmith if I remember) is not "Marcus Wayne"

CACTUSWENDY
08-30-2009, 11:17 AM
Wow. This is all most interesting. Thank you all for sharing. I look forward to others also.

Rabe
08-30-2009, 03:37 PM
I don't know if anyone on this board is deaf, hearing-impaired, etc., but I thought I'd throw this out there. If you know anyone who is, and you think they might be willing to offer some insight, please feel free to pass these questions on to them.


Something to keep in mind

Those who are deaf and have been for a significant portion of their life refer to themselves as Deaf (capital D) and don't think of it as a disability or something different. Just different than Hearing people.

So if you're writing about a person who is a deaf person, then remember when they refer to themselves it's Deaf.

Plus, they love texting and board games. I understand the texting but not so much the board games.

Rabe...

thethinker42
08-31-2009, 03:23 PM
Those who are deaf and have been for a significant portion of their life refer to themselves as Deaf (capital D) and don't think of it as a disability or something different. Just different than Hearing people.

So if you're writing about a person who is a deaf person, then remember when they refer to themselves it's Deaf.

Duly noted, wasn't aware of the capitalized "Deaf".

Thanks to everyone who's contributed - keep it coming! :D

blackrose602
08-31-2009, 05:17 PM
Duly noted, wasn't aware of the capitalized "Deaf".

Thanks to everyone who's contributed - keep it coming! :D

Following up on the capitalized "Deaf," you may want to Google Deaf culture. Among other things, Deaf culture rejects the notion that hearing is somehow "preferable." Deaf culture rejects oralism, which is an older system that attempted to teach Deaf people to read lips and speak by limiting the use of sign language in classrooms. Most Deaf also reject cochlear implants on principle, although this is not universal. Sign language is the preferred means of communication.

There are other distinguishing factors in Deaf culture as well, from a non-mainstream concept of time/lateness to an active search for connections with each Deaf person that one meets. It's really a fascinating culture.

I'm not Deaf, but I'm trained/fluent in American Sign Language, and I used to work on a residential mental health unit for Deaf children and teens. In another job, I worked with the children of newly immigrated Dept of Agriculture workers. One family in particular was from Haiti, and the profoundly Deaf older son had learned French Sign Language. But his family had not learned, and could not communicate with him at all.

Since ASL is based on French Sign Language rather than British, I was able to talk to him...the first meaningful human contact he had since they moved over a month prior. That summer, I taught all the kids in his housing complex a bit of Sign language...they were so sweet and eager to learn, and accepting of their new friend!

thethinker42
08-31-2009, 05:22 PM
Following up on the capitalized "Deaf," you may want to Google Deaf culture.

I have, don't worry. My main concern with this thread is the individual experience. Difficulties, obstacles, or just observations from people's personal experiences.

scarletpeaches
08-31-2009, 05:27 PM
I have one deaf friend who wouldn't dream of pulling the "I'm deaf so I have no concept of time and punctuality excuse." To her - and me - being deaf is no excuse for being rude. She has a watch. She uses it.

Also, she has a cochlear implant. To communicate, she only asks that you speak on her right hand side, close to her but not too close to invade her personal space. I've got into the habit of putting my hand on her right arm to let her know I want to speak to her. Also it helps if she can see my face when I talk. She doesn't lip read very well, but the combination of implant/seeing my mouth when I speak helps her understand.

One thing I'm not sure you'd have considered is balance. My friend wobbles when she walks, and needs to lean on someone if she needs to walk further than a few feet.

thethinker42
08-31-2009, 05:29 PM
One thing I'm not sure you'd have considered is balance. My friend wobbles when she walks, and needs to lean on someone if she needs to walk further than a few feet.

Ooh, good point. *makes notes*

Folofop
08-31-2009, 05:36 PM
1. Are you fully or partially deaf?

Partially.

2. Have you always been deaf, or did you have "normal" hearing at some point in your life?

I lost all hearing in my left ear, roughly two years.

3. What caused your deafness?

No one really knows. I've had numerous tubes stuck up my nose. Brain scans, etc but still no one knows why. There are many theories but no explanations.

4. What difficulties, if any, do you encounter in your daily life as a result of your deafness?

Mainly trivial compared to someone who is completely deaf but off the top of my head: Having TV, Music, Films mega loud it annoys other people. In social occasions having to concentrate really hard and focus on one person to hear what the are saying (it's hard trying to block out all the other noises that are streaming in the one ear.) I listen to alot of music and using an ipod sucks as I only hear the right side. Difficulty hearing people talking on my left side, the sound kind of warps round my head and filters into the right side.

5. How do strangers treat you when they find out you're deaf?

I don't usually tell people I have just met, I normally just struggle on, saying "What?", "Eh?", "Pardon?" alot.

6. Have you found yourself limited in terms of careers, education, etc? How have you overcome such obstacles and limitations?

I use to work in a call centre when my hearing started to go, the headset where set to the left side, you could turn them the other way and use your right but it got sore after awhile, and a pain in the ass after an 8 hour shift.

I just left it and got a job working with disabled adults. Have had no problems, everyone knows I have difficulty hearing and it's the best, most amazing job I have ever had in my entire live.

If it wasn't for losing my hearing I'd probably be still stuck in that dead-end job. That is one blessing I guess.

7. How does/has your deafness affected relationships and interactions with hearing people? (Especially curious about romantic relationships)

It doesn't really. I can hear fairly well in quiet situations, its only when there is other noise, trying to get in through that little ear tube thing, that I start having diffuclties and have to focus on people, like a weird staring pervert.

All my pals know though, and they all take the piss, but in a nice way, if you know what I mean, makes it more relaxing etc.

As for romance, well it doesn't bother that at all. Never listen to the old bird anyway, haha. Serious though, nope it doesn't.

8. What misconceptions about deafness bother you?

I don't really know and wouldn't like to say, as I am not fully deaf. So have never really experienced the true hardships some people can go through.

Anyways, hope this helps you out.

Maryn
08-31-2009, 05:53 PM
I have only age-related hearing loss--I can't hear what people at my table are saying in any loud environment, like a crowded bar or restaurant--but my community has a large Deaf population, so I've done some observing here and there.

Those who sign for public performances and meeting may often be underpaid and are too often asked at the last minute to work public meetings or other events which have been scheduled for months.

Videos which promise subtitles don't always have them, and most video stores will not guarantee their presence or your money back. And we all know that the subtitles don't accurately reflect what the actors are saying way too frequently. Instead, they shorten or summarize.

The phone system in which an operator types what the speaking person is saying, so the Deaf person can read it, it antiquated and overburdened. Often there's a substantial wait for an operator, yet they will not call you back when one is available. You have to hold, which is why many businesses won't deal with it.

The enmity between the cochlear implant people and the Deaf community is sometimes spiteful. A deaf student walking home on the side of a busy road a bit drunk, hit and killed by a car, is a tragedy, not an opportunity for the cochlear implant folks to note that if she'd had hearing, she might be alive. Likewise, the implant person interacting with friends or co-workers at a restaurant doesn't deserve put-downs given in sign from passing members of the Deaf community, apparently some of them obscene.

The local Deaf community creates signs that serve as a shorthand. Lyell, a crime-ridden street, is signed as the letter L and a gun made of one's hand. The affluent suburb which starts with the letter P is signed as the letter P pushing up one's nose in snooty superiority.

I don't know if any of this will be helpful, but hey, you never know.

Maryn

semilargeintestine
08-31-2009, 06:02 PM
I don't know if anyone on this board is deaf, hearing-impaired, etc., but I thought I'd throw this out there. If you know anyone who is, and you think they might be willing to offer some insight, please feel free to pass these questions on to them.

If any of it is too personal or you simply don't feel comfortable posting it publicly, please don't hesitate to PM me or e-mail me (thethinker42(at)gmail(dot)com).

Thanks in advance for your help...(all questions apply to deaf OR hearing-impaired I'm just using "deafness" for the sake of brevity) Please feel free to add any info, expand on any of the questions, etc. No such thing as too much information here...

So, I have something weird that maybe you can use, maybe not. I'm technically not deaf, but I have a weird neurological problem that mimics deafness at times. Essentially, the sound goes into my ears, but certain things cause my brain to turn off the auditory processing part so when the signal gets there, it just stops. It's like I never heard the sound at all.

It is exacerbated by noise or multiple sounds. If I am talking to someone just the two of us, nothing is wrong; however, if there is another voice in the background or even music, my ability to hear greatly diminishes. In those situations, I rely almost exclusively on reading lips. If the person I'm talking to isn't facing me, or something goes in front of his mouth, the sound completely drops out. It's very strange and inconvenient.

So I guess I can answer your questions based on what I actually have.

1. Are you fully or partially deaf?

Partially I guess.

2. Have you always been deaf, or did you have "normal" hearing at some point in your life?

I have normal hearing so to speak, but my ability to process the signal is the problem. I've had this as far as I can remember, but I didn't know what it was until about two years ago when I became friends with an audiologist.

3. What caused your deafness?

It's congenital.

4. What difficulties, if any, do you encounter in your daily life as a result of your deafness?

I work in an operating room, and so we have to wear masks. I have to really concentrate to hear what anyone is saying. If there are multiple conversations going, I am pretty much asking people to repeat themselves constantly. It really annoys people.

I have also gotten in trouble in school and at home because of this. Usually what will happen is I won't actually hear what was said, but because of other things I've heard, I can put together what they probably said based on context. So because of this, my parents and teachers have thought that I just don't pay attention.

5. How do strangers treat you when they find out you're deaf?

Most people don't find out. As long as I can read their lips, I'm good. I only tell people that I'm going to be interacting with regularly.

6. Have you found yourself limited in terms of careers, education, etc? How have you overcome such obstacles and limitations?

I can't continue to do my job. I enjoy it, but I can't spend the next 30-35 years not being able to hear. At some point, a patient or colleague is going to tell me something important that I won't hear, and it is going to hurt someone. I'm afraid of that happening, but so far I've been very careful. We all slip up though, and I want to get out of this field before I do.

7. How does/has your deafness affected relationships and interactions with hearing people? (Especially curious about romantic relationships)

Mostly it annoys people. Because it's a neurological thing that most people have never heard of, they think I'm making it up or they think that it's something that can be easily fixed by simply paying more attention or something. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no way to fix it. I'm not sure if it will get worse, but it certainly is not going to get better.

Also, it makes me look like a moron in public. The other day, I got onto a bus in NYC, and the driver asked me where I was going. I couldn't hear him because of the engine and the other people talking. I needed him to say it 3 or 4 times, and he definitely thought I was just stupid.

My friends don't care. They all know about it and are very careful to not speak to me without looking at me. If they have to repeat themselves, they really don't mind. If they do, they don't show it.

As far as romantic relationships go, it hasn't had too much of an effect. I dated a girl for 3 years, and she never even mentioned it. She got annoyed repeating herself sometimes, but it never caused any tension or fights or anything. I just started dating another girl, and it actually just dawned on me that I haven't even told her about it. We talk on the phone a lot, which is hard for me. Because I can't see her, it is easy for me to miss words or phrases. So far, she's just repeated herself without a problem. I should probably tell her before she starts to think I'm just an idiot.

8. What misconceptions about deafness bother you?

That all hear problems can be cured with a hearing aid. I hear just fine, I just can't understand the words sometimes. People often don't get the difference, which is frustrating.

Anyway, I have no idea if that can help you at all. It's just my experience with hearing difficulties. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

sommemi
08-31-2009, 09:42 PM
I'm hearing, but wanted to share a great book that might help shed some light on some of your questions also. (Read it in my ASL 1 class... so I can't say I'm some expert on the Deaf culture, but thought this book might help you out)

A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America by John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch

I think you can download it as a free e-book too somewhere if you are a university student.

Rose English
08-31-2009, 11:36 PM
In the spirit of this:


Even if the questions don't apply to you, but you have something to add, please don't hesitate.



I'm a hearing person. In the mid 90's I worked for an employee helpline, and we offered a 'minicom' service to ensure hearing impaired people had equal access to support. (The minicom was like a small typewriter with a phone tone to alert you to an incoming call, and our 'conversation' would be text we typed to each other scrolling across the display. The technology may have moved on, but I think what I have to say may still be worth considering).

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that, in my limited experience, the hearing impaired people I dealt with tended to structure their sentences very differently than I would on the machine; very concise, coming across as abrupt, with little or different punctuation, and I'm sure that my responses seemed just as strange and unusual to them. We had several misunderstandings, which was, I presume, frustrating on both sides and time-consuming to sort out. Wish I could remember some examples...

If your hearing and hearing impaired characters communicate in writing/texting at all, it might be worth looking into further, for authenticity. Hope this makes sense, if i can clarify please PM me :D..

Rarri
08-31-2009, 11:52 PM
All help is appreciated. Even if the questions don't apply to you, but you have something to add, please don't hesitate.

I've been reding this thread and something had sprung to mind. First i suppose i should say that my experience of deafness was as a result of Glue Ear when i was a child, i experienced periods of (total and partial) deafness from when i was 18 months old, to when i was 13.

Anyway, don't forget that while a deaf person may not hear sound, you sure as hell can feel it sometimes. For me, i remember this especially with regard to fireworks and trains.

Also, this probably isn't as much use as it's only relevent now that my hearing isn't impaired, but i find it very difficult to be in a quiet environment and get a bit tetchy without having music on, or some kind of background sound.

Poetic_Justice
09-01-2009, 12:06 AM
I'm not hard of hearing, or Deaf, but I do have two stories. One of which is just sort of amusing, and the other may be helpful in a small way.

FIRST

I used to work as a teleservices rep, and people used to call me to put in applications for college loans (These loans were astrive, monticello, and a few others.) On these calls, it's not unusual for someone to call, mummbling in my ear, and I hated that. That was exactly what happened. The next call came through, and I was having an extremely hard time understanding the person because they sounded like they were mumbling. The person also asked me the same question a number of times. We both were getting rather frustrated with each other. She finally asked me if her roomie could fill out the application for her, and I told her that that wasn't allowed unless the roommate was her cosigner (we had very strict rules, and didn't want anyone to steal personal information, etc) She then mentioned that she was deaf, and was having a hard time hearing me because I spoke softly. Boy did I feel like the biggest asshole.... And so I spoke very loud the rest of the way through, and she thanked me for not hanging up on her. :P


SECOND

My cousin has a best friend who is Deaf, and has been so all his life. He reads lips very well, and has learned to speak, but doesn't like to speak. He prefers ASL as it's easier for him. Anyways, with people that he doesn't know, when they're talking to him, a lot of times (especially if he has the feeling that he doesn't or won't like them) he pretends he can't understand them at all. Or, if you want him to do something (take out the trash, wash dishes) he conveniently doesn't understand you. :P

Linda Adams
09-01-2009, 03:35 AM
At one point, I took some kind of sign language course--boy, it's been a long time! I remember a couple of things from the course. Not sure if they will be useful, but they may be of interest.

One of the teachers related witnessing an argument between a Deaf couple. The woman was pretty mad at the man--she kept smacking his hands when he tried to sign!

The other thing was that we saw Deaf singing. Actual music was played, and the singers signed the words. Very elegant, graceful, and beautiful.

The place where I work does have a number of Deaf people. We always coordinate for two translators for speaking events. The events are usually something like two hours, and the translators switch after about ten or fifteen minutes. We've also brought translators in for meetings when needed.

thethinker42
09-01-2009, 03:53 AM
You guys all rock. Even if you think it's irrelevant, feel free to post it...Deafness is something very foreign to me, so if I decide to pursue this story, I don't want to screw it up. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING helps.

scarletpeaches
09-01-2009, 03:55 AM
I once read a brochure written for deaf people and I asked someone, "Huh? Deaf people can still read, can't they?" And he explained yes, but signing apparently skips words? Is abbreviated from 'normal' English? So 'deaf grammar' isn't like 'hearing grammar' if that makes sense. So the brochure written for deaf people read in a disjointed manner to me, very abrupt, as if prepositions were missing and nouns/verbs were in the wrong order.

thethinker42
09-01-2009, 03:56 AM
I once read a brochure written for deaf people and I asked someone, "Huh? Deaf people can still read, can't they?" And he explained yes, but signing apparently skips words? Is abbreviated from 'normal' English? So 'deaf grammar' isn't like 'hearing grammar' if that makes sense. So the brochure written for deaf people read in a disjointed manner to me, very abrupt, as if prepositions were missing and nouns/verbs were in the wrong order.

Oh, good to know...

JulieHowe
09-01-2009, 04:19 AM
I once read a brochure written for deaf people and I asked someone, "Huh? Deaf people can still read, can't they?" And he explained yes, but signing apparently skips words? Is abbreviated from 'normal' English? So 'deaf grammar' isn't like 'hearing grammar' if that makes sense. So the brochure written for deaf people read in a disjointed manner to me, very abrupt, as if prepositions were missing and nouns/verbs were in the wrong order.

I'm hard-of-hearing and fluent in sign, and ASL grammar and word order does creep into some of my writing, in dialogue between deaf and hearing characters. I've never seen a brochure like you described, but I can understand what it would look like.

scarletpeaches
09-01-2009, 04:22 AM
Bear in mind the brochure I read would have been written with British Sign Language in mind. That probably makes no difference to tt42's story, though. Or maybe it does.

Who knows?

blackrose602
09-01-2009, 04:25 AM
A couple more thoughts, based on comments upthread:

"Feeling the sounds"--Definitely true, in my experience. The Deaf psych unit I worked on was about 20 times louder than the hearing units. At first I assumed it was just because the kids couldn't hear themselves, so they didn't know to modulate the volume. Actually, as it was explained to me, Deaf people frequently use loud noises for the vibrations to get each others' attention. Stomping hard on the floor, pounding on a desk, even knocking around a heavy piece of furniture...all common ways to get the attention of someone looking the other way, and not intended or interpreted as rude at all.

On a related note, vocalization is extremely common, even while signing. It may sound loud, grating, or "strange" to hearing people, but it's another important part of communication.

ASL grammar is, as others have mentioned, very disjoint. In ASL, only the words necessary to communicate the thought are used. That's part of what makes it so different from SEE Signs (Signing Exact English). And yes, it often carries over to written communication (or spoken, if the person speaks). I've known Deaf people who had a horrible time getting through English classes in school, because the language really is entirely different than spoken/written English. Of course, plenty of Deaf people write in perfectly correct English--it just depends on the person.

As was mentioned upthread, it is very common for signs to be invented within groups--nicknames, slang terms...no different than English dialects/slang.

Hope some of this helps. These are just my observations as a hearing person that was privileged to enter the Deaf world for a short time.

GeorgeK
09-01-2009, 04:55 AM
Do colleges now offer Sign Language that counts as a foreign language requirement?

thethinker42
09-01-2009, 05:11 AM
Bear in mind the brochure I read would have been written with British Sign Language in mind. That probably makes no difference to tt42's story, though. Or maybe it does.

Who knows?

Well, given that one of my characters is not American, it would certainly be relevant...*makes more notes*

blackrose602
09-01-2009, 08:39 AM
Do colleges now offer Sign Language that counts as a foreign language requirement?

I graduated from the University of South Florida in 1998, and ASL counted as the foreign language requirement there. No idea if it's standard or not.

katiemac
09-01-2009, 09:08 AM
I don't have any deaf friends myself, but more than a year ago my friends and I went to Mexico for spring break. Gallaudet had the same spring break as us and there were a lot of deaf students at our hotel. A friend of mine ending up hanging out a few times with some Gallaudet girls (they were cute). He told us later they didn't have any trouble with conversation--at least one of the girls was very good at reading lips, but the other two either weren't as good or were shy about talking to him. (But then again he's the really outgoing type--and cute--so shyness could have been simple boy-related shyness.)

Anyway, I still remember that after talking to them he came back to us and said, "They're actually really nice." It was the qualifer--actually--that stood out. As if because they were deaf they couldn't be nice. He didn't mean it that way, of course, but he'd never had a conversation with anyone deaf before so he was unconsciously addressing the "difference" between him and them when referring to them.

Rabe
09-01-2009, 10:19 AM
ASL grammar is, as others have mentioned, very disjoint. In ASL, only the words necessary to communicate the thought are used. That's part of what makes it so different from SEE Signs (Signing Exact English). And yes, it often carries over to written communication (or spoken, if the person speaks). I've known Deaf people who had a horrible time getting through English classes in school, because the language really is entirely different than spoken/written English. Of course, plenty of Deaf people write in perfectly correct English--it just depends on the person.

From the ASL perspective:

The reason for the writing is twofold but based mostly on the creation of ASL. It is based on the French form of sign language - which is based on the French grammar structure. While taking my ASL class (not hard for me as I've practiced ASL a lot with my brother (for lots of reasons we didn't communicate a lot in Sign)) I had an easier time with the sentence structure and syntax because my other foreign language studies helped out there. So the sentence structure is 'screwed up' from our American perspective, but almost perfectally natural from the French perspective.

Two: At the time of taking my last ASL class (several years ago) there was only about 10,000 accepted 'signs' in ASL. I'm sure that's probably doubled by now - but when you consider that you take our language of nearly a million individual words and then take a small, small percentile of that and form a language out of it and it'll look very, very odd to us.

Also, the way they express questions is weird. At least in formal ASL. Much like other 'formal' forms of language, I barely saw it actually practiced. For instance, in 'formal' Sign to ask where someone is going it would be printed like this:

you go where you?

Or to ask if someone wanted something to drink:

you want soda pop you?

That kind of deal. However, in practice I would see it more like this:

go where you?

or:

want soda pop?

Rabe...
...who has never really heard of the 'Deaf time' concept either.

JulieHowe
09-02-2009, 06:14 AM
As I know it, the term Deaf Time goes back to the years before TTYs were commonplace. Deaf people were never certain when they would see each other again, and goodbyes could take forever, as last-minute details were crammed into a conversation.

The concept may be irrelevant for younger deaf people.

Stijn Hommes
09-02-2009, 01:31 PM
As mentioned above, I have also noticed how the Deaf create new signs all the time, names are fingerspelled only when no unique sign has been developed yet. For example once you get to know "Chase", you'll start using the sign he described. This is particularly useful because you can make one sign out of an entire phrase. A "Hit and Run" is just as easy to sign as a lot of shorter words.

Some assumptions that bother me are:
1) Some people think that all sign language is the same when in fact each spoken language has its own variation.
2) Lip reading isn't as easy as some people think it is.
3) ASL/BSL and any other SL doesn't use the same grammar as spoken language even though a lot of people think so.

sommemi
09-03-2009, 05:12 PM
Do colleges now offer Sign Language that counts as a foreign language requirement?

Yes. Most do. It is considered an equal foreign language option in most university curriculums that I've seen.

sommemi
09-03-2009, 05:14 PM
As I know it, the term Deaf Time goes back to the years before TTYs were commonplace. Deaf people were never certain when they would see each other again, and goodbyes could take forever, as last-minute details were crammed into a conversation.

The concept may be irrelevant for younger deaf people.

Especially with email and texting now... much easier to keep in touch with other's in the Deaf community. However I'm sure it's still tradition... I know hello's and goodbye's are definately more descriptive and the Deaf community is MUCH more descriptive with any kind of story than most speaking people are. They are AWESOME story tellers. lol

sommemi
09-03-2009, 05:19 PM
From the ASL perspective:

The reason for the writing is twofold but based mostly on the creation of ASL. It is based on the French form of sign language - which is based on the French grammar structure. While taking my ASL class (not hard for me as I've practiced ASL a lot with my brother (for lots of reasons we didn't communicate a lot in Sign)) I had an easier time with the sentence structure and syntax because my other foreign language studies helped out there. So the sentence structure is 'screwed up' from our American perspective, but almost perfectally natural from the French perspective.

Two: At the time of taking my last ASL class (several years ago) there was only about 10,000 accepted 'signs' in ASL. I'm sure that's probably doubled by now - but when you consider that you take our language of nearly a million individual words and then take a small, small percentile of that and form a language out of it and it'll look very, very odd to us.

Also, the way they express questions is weird. At least in formal ASL. Much like other 'formal' forms of language, I barely saw it actually practiced. For instance, in 'formal' Sign to ask where someone is going it would be printed like this:

you go where you?

Or to ask if someone wanted something to drink:

you want soda pop you?

That kind of deal. However, in practice I would see it more like this:

go where you?

or:

want soda pop?

Rabe...
...who has never really heard of the 'Deaf time' concept either.

When you think about how some of us shorten a sentence because we already know the 'context', it's really not ALL that different or difficult to understand though, don't you think?

If I am standing there with a pop in my hand, and I want to know if you'd like a pop too, and I'm standing next to a cooler full of pop... I'd simply hold my hand out towards the cooler and look at the person I'm talking to without saying his name and raise my eyebrows and say "pop?" Don't even need the word "want" or "you". It's part of the context of raising my eyebrows and looking at the person.

So it would be no wonder to me that the Deaf community might be in the habit of writing the same way that they speak on a daily basis, even if they have been taught proper written English form... The hearing don't always follow proper written English even when we've gone through all the same classes. LOL! But I could see how it would be more of a habit for someone who uses ASL all day long when they speak. It's much more 'condensed' without all the unecessary tiny words, ya know?

starchildtrilogy
09-03-2009, 10:18 PM
thethinker42, I'm currently in school to get my Masters in Deaf Ed and I live with 3 Deaf roommates, although I'm hearing. It's been an eye-opening experience. I realize that all of my information is second-hand and I will never be able to understand the world the way a Deaf person does, but I'd be happy to chat with you regarding what it's like to live partway in the Deaf culture. :)