Monday, 25 January 2021


A response to ATR who suggested to a youtube poster that a refusal to adopt English was making things harder for deaf people. (Apart for the fact the poster uses English to make the point!).

#1 It's the hearing world that needs to be more inclusive, but it depends on government policies, government goodwill and the hearing society willingness too. The poliglotic approach could be an option, Prince Philip's mother (Her Majesty's mother-in-law) was deaf and learned many languages, but in a flying world a wingless bird being said that it must fly to survive is impractical, society through government must do it's part for it to thrive. It could be harder, I know, but acceptance by actions would go beyond and succeed. Teaching written English to deaf people as deaf not as if they were hearing people may help a lot. The hearing world, English speaking and writing included, needs to reinvent education so to really include the deaf world.

ATR: Everyone should sign to the deaf?  That wouldn't help me who is deaf and doesn't sign or 6m others who don't would it.  Deaf sign users who keep insisting education is a form of discrimination, need to look at the world as it is and not from an enclosed space that confines people to ignorance. They aren't the only deaf people in the world, and most now do understand acquiring their country's language is essential, it's not a discrimination process!   Illiteracy impoverishes the deaf signer as much as the hearing peer.

I think dragging up Prince Phillip's mother is stretching credibility a bit too far, he is near a 100 years old now, and, he ridiculed deaf people at an event he attended!  FYI His mother was a lip-reader who lip-read English and German but didn't sign, she was also a  schizophrenic.  The only 'royal' who had a stab at sign was princess Diana, another schizophrenic and a depressive who never got beyond spelling her own name with it.

Teaching English isn't a choice option, it's a necessity for deaf people to advance, I don't see where speech comes into it, for those with no ability to speak nobody is forcing them to learn.   There is no written sign language and everything is visual, so no signed reference work deaf people can use.  ATR published last year a deaf scientist having to invent his own sign, but without a reference work to understand those, again extreme difficulty for other deaf to do the same as he did.  He was taught orally...

Above is the American attempt to 'write' sign language.

The sign language does not exist for the deaf to advance in education or science to highly advanced levels, without an understanding of English the textbooks are meaningless and there are no signed ones.  Not only are you suggesting some sort of immersive and total signed approach for deaf people that has nothing but a disputed dictionary and no technical reference, but no teachers or system to make it viable.  If you started now we are talking many years assuming the visual textbooks are being developed.

Opposition to the only means they have of learning to read this.  Mainstream won't adapt to you, OK you will get an interpreter to maintain your reliance on hearing but.... because systems know sign is an incomplete language they can use for teaching, and they would need to know mainstream will accommodate that.  I think deaf need to use their heads more and their hearts less, or remain left out.  Unless they really want to spend their lives as some sort of Don Quixote tilting at windmills...