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Deaf Mutes – why misleading for both hearing and deaf community
Deaf people were not entirely mute. Some were hard of hearing and could speak reasonably well; yet others had speech training and could use the voice.
Deaf people dislike "mute" because over the years it came to mean an inability to speak on one's own behalf, a lack of voice.
Also mute and dumb were increasingly being used in the popular literature to mean "lack of intelligence" more often than lack of ability to speak.
Evolution of deaf theater
For most of its history, Deaf theater did not require voice. It was intended for a signing audience. Today almost all theater with Deaf actors will be accompanied by voice. (the audience has changed from only within the community to more public arenas)
Deaf actors were now sharing the stage with speaking actors causing their performances to change and the choice of material to change.
1940 – vaudeville/comedy/singing/dancing
A few films of the Los Angeles Club for the Deaf still survive showing the style of performance of the time.
vaudeville- short comedy sketches, blackface performances
Singing in the form of rhythmic clapping or dancing to popular tunes like "Yankee Doodle"
Popular Deaf club performer in the 1930's
Conceived the idea of mounting full length play productions
Produced signed translations of mainstream plays
Broadway set designer
1966 received funding from the federal government and began a new national theater of signing performances for hearing audience
"It is my conviction...that the manual language theater can be developed into a startlingly beautiful medium...we must evolve methods of performance which will create an art no longer merely a way of bringing theater to the handicapped but which is a brilliant new form brought to all of us by the deaf."
Refused to allow the theater to do mime
Hearing actors would not be disembodied voices behind a curtain but visibly moving across the stage as they voiced the lines of the deaf actors
Son of Wolf Bragg
Performer in Deaf club theater
Worked with David Hays to set up new Deaf theater
Know impact of Deaf theater in 1966-1967
By refusing to do mime, David Hays set the course of American signed language theater to this day.
National Theater of the Deaf
Began 1966-1967 by Daniel Hays with much assistance of Bernard Bragg
Used signed language accompanied by voicing actors included in the performance
Federal Laws 1973 – Sections 501-504
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
501- prohibits discrimination against disabled in any federal agency
504- expands the protection to include any federally supported program
Public Law 94-142
Education for All Handicapped Children Act 1975
public school districts were required to admit and provide education to any deaf and disabled children
Americans with Disabilities Act
guaranteed access in commercial spaces as well as public ones
Television manufacturers are now required to install a captioning decoder chip in all televisions larger than 13 inches
Hotels have to be accessible to the disabled, including providing television equipped with decoder chip
Deaf people who wish to attend union meetings or workplace training can request interpreters who can both sign and voice
Hearing scholar at Gallaudet
Proved ASL was a true language with a structure
Sign Language Dictionary
Signs were listed not by their translations in English but by their internal structure
*Stokoe, Croneberg & Casterline
Deaf Drama professor at Gallaudet vehemently despised Stokoe because
- * hearing outsider
- *Represented language in bizarre form
- *Using "nonsensical symbols
- *trampling language for own gain and profit
- *Called what he did a "vanity project"
First Sign Language Dictionary written "on linguistic principles" - on its own terms, rather than by derivation or translation through another language
Academic discipline- 1960's wanted to compare world langugaes
for older generations it was known simply as "the sign language"
Lou Fant published a book with the name Ameslan as an amalgamation of "American Sign Language"
became "the American Sign Language" then "American Sign Language" then "Ameslan" to simply ASL
at first some were concerned about the new name
worried about it being considered something separate from English
the educated elite claimed they used a language closer to English while claiming it was the uneducated "grassroots" that used ASL
1972 published a book
coined term Ameslan
believed that unlike English Ameslan was communicated visually not linearly
believed in "pure" sign language with no fingerspelling
relied on images created through signs to build sentences
Pidgin Sign Language
claimed the educated elite were using a language closer to English called it PSE- Pidgin Signed English
The phrase Pidgin Sign English (PSE, sometimes also 'Pidgin Signed English') is often used to describe the different contact languages that arise between the English language and either British Sign Language, New Zealand Sign Language, Auslan or American Sign Language, but the term is increasingly falling out of favor.
Contact Sign Language
is a variety or style of language that arises from contact between a deaf sign language and an oral language (or the written or manually coded form of the oral language). Contact languages also arise between different sign languages, although the term pidgin rather than contact sign is used to describe such phenomena.Contact sign has been characterized as "a sign language that has elements of both [a] natural sign language and the surrounding [oral] language
First of ASL poets
signs evoke images but translation to English is preserved
Performs one woman shows about African American Deaf culture
brings the history of Black deaf school to the public stage
impact of videotaping
Sign poets began to "publish" poetry and videotapes to ASL students
- can be purchased for home or classroom viewing
- - possible that the change from large auditoriums to small, intimate domestic and educational spaces will affect sign poetry and make it more formal and stilted, transforming what used to be "oral" and face to face into something more like written poetry, to be viewed over and over again for formal purposes
background of Tom Humphries and how he became Deaf
Grew up isolated in a small town away from any other Deaf people.
Didn't know ASL.
Went to Gallaudet- couldn't communicate with anyone and realized that he wasn't the only one (not special)
Realized he was living as a "hearing person who couldn't hear"
At Gallaudet he wasn't just learning about Deaf people he was "in the process of becoming Deaf."
background of Carol Padden
- Hard of Hearing
- Parents, 3 of 4 grandparents and brother Deaf
- Parents worked at Gallaudet
- went to public school in 3rd grade
definition of linguistics
An experience of moving between two languages that were equivalent in power yet different in what they expressed.
difference between hearing impaired and Deaf
Hearing impaired is used for those who do not hear but don't use ASL
Deaf have a shared culture and language (ASL)
definition of Deaf Culture
way of describing the lives of Deaf people focused on beliefs and practices, particularly the central role of sign language in everyday life of the community
April 2003 – National Institute of Health announcement
- The sequencing of the human genome was complete- Human Genome Project
Indentified almost 30,000 genes that make up human beings including those involved in genetic deafness
Cochlear Implant (CI)
surgically implanted electronic device that directs electrical impulses to the cochlea to stimulate hearing
an eloquent hearing speaker and scientist wrote several articles questioning the goals and the claims of cochlear implant specialists but he was severely criticized by parents of def children with implants as being romantic about deafness and alarmist about the dangers of the surgery
Sound and Fury
Oscar nominated documentary brought home the intensity of emotion that surrounds parents who make decisions for or against a CI
problem of social rehabilitation programs for CI
eerily reminiscent of the "oralist" programs that were put into place at the turn of the century in schools for the deaf, where schools prohibited use of sign language in the classroom.
Some parents support separating their implanted child not because they are against sign language but because they are against its use in the early years of development when the child most needs exposure to speech
The risks are: delaying exposure to sign language is dangerous because children who learn any language late in life run the risk of suffering the effects of language delay.
It separates the child from a Deaf environment and culture.
why is bilingualism encouraged in hearing children but not deaf?
Programs can be developed that teach implanted children both speech and sign language simultaneously so that benefits of bilingual acquisition in two modalities can be passed on to each new generation of deaf children.
Instead the trend is a dangerously regressive one, threatening to return to the oralist project
genetics is reason for how much of deafness at birth or early childhood
Alexander Bell’s Memoir upon Foundation of Deaf Variety of Human Race
Addressed "problems" of genetics
Upset because deaf mutes marry other deaf mutes (they meet each other at schools and propagation)
Considered it a calamity to the world
3 classification of deaf
- deaf– born
- genetic transmission
Be able to write on problems with CI’s and with Human Genome Project from point of view of
CI- implant the body, do NOT encourage sign
Genetics-if the deafness gene is altered other genetic conditions will be altered too