Thursday, 11 February 2021

BSL levels wot?

The fact most are following this video with TEXT not sign language rather defeats the point doesn't it?  How many deaf HAVE a sign language qualification?  Just because they sign does not mean they are showing proof of any level pass in it.  Many are not aware of the latest signs of the last 5-10years, they stick with what they knew beforehand.

Hearing interpreters are probably the only bi-lingual area, and most fluent at signing, they have to be to be understood by most, we know you will never be understood by all regardless of how many levels you attain.

The issue with levels 1 and 2 BSL is it enables you little in any real-time conversation or ability to follow e.g. current covid updates that contain masses of statistics, and charts, tier explanations and interpretations of what they mean etc, a lot of hearing struggle with them.

Having lobbied campaigned and demanded hearing learn BSL to help deaf people, learners get priced out of taking it any further, or face reluctance by deaf people to encourage them at the 'rock face' i.e. their social locations and areas, where deaf still demand hearing 'butt out' and stop invading their 'space'.  Hearing have to be IN the clubs etc to get real communication happening and skills updated and is worth a lot more than 3 BSL level attainments.

Until deaf continue to improve own sign language skills hearing won't know what level is applicable.  The deaf area has issues of learning disabilities,  and no academic written or visual record regarding sign language either.  Local authorities and care systems lowered the bar by accepting very low levels of sign qualification simply because higher levels demand higher wages and fees, but basically, care needs level 4 and above to be valid, but is level 2.

Nobody below level 4 will be able to follow sign effectively.  The interpreter trend to adopt more and more aspects of Signed English is also limiting the effectiveness of BSL.  But they know this enables reading text much easier.  The online 'classes' of BSL (Mostly the ABC and numbers etc), probably cause issues because it is learners trying to teach other learners who are hearing like them so it doesn't come from the deaf base itself or recognised course work and tuition.  The only pro aspect is that hearing are attempting to raise awareness with other hearing, as averse to the deaf who are reluctant to get involved and talking to themselves.

Regional deafies complicate it with criticisms this isn't how I use BSL etc... It is trivialising sign but the thing is sign acquisition now means a wage and a job, plays into the amateurisation of it all online.  Deaf lost that leadership on sign years ago as a result.  They cannot use hearing to make a job of it.

A G BELL hated by the deaf ?

Not true obviously, A G Bell offered choice, which is the central tenet of the American constitution.  A G Bell allegedly 'hated' by sign users, used sign language at age 12.  His drive to assist speech was down to the trauma of seeing his mother go deaf and his want to help others not suffer the same fate.  He started at a time where most deaf were considered unteachable and approaches were random, often cruel, and uncoordinated.

The only niggle we would offer up is his claim about the telephone, most believe an Italian did it first, he bought up the copyright and improved on it.

Most deaf advances happened this way, including the development of sign language itself.  There is plenty of room for options for and against sign language use, most is reliant on ability and what senses can still be maximised.  Today politics seems to define.  If a child/adult can be trained to speak then there is no case to rebel against.  Many deaf today both sign and speak.  E.G. Many at early age learn to speak before their hearing has deteoriorated.  ATR's hearing started rapid deterioration at 11, and in 9 years was deaf or near as to make no difference.

ATR's voice was his access to the wider world, given sign was pretty much an exclusive and random format for deaf institutionalised and isolated in own schools, whilst rarely interacting meaningfully with the hearing mainstream.  It is a sadness such schools are still extant.  ATR was front of the house, not able to access sign or lip-reading support or tuition, even if that was preferred.  We picked up lip-reading by trial and error, and although difficult spent a working life with no sign use at all, so a living example alternatives are there and effective, if the determination is there.

That A G Bell decided to promote oral approaches to those who would benefit by them I think was/is brilliant on empowering deaf to see further than their hands as a sole means of communication.  The UK's premier 'deaf' school is oral and provides 60% of all leaders in the signing deaf world.  They succeed because they are oral.  Do we hate A G Bell? no, but we despise hypocrisy, where promoting sign alternatives are used as a blunt tool to divide people and instil hatred in others.  How many 'Trump's' run the ASL and BSL campaigns?  

Does hating a man who died in 1922 have ANY point at all? Discuss.....