Struggle and Discrimination that The Deaf people Face

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Deaf history comes with a timeline of struggles and discrimination that Deaf people have faced and still do face in a hearing world. At the center of deaf history is a shared language known as sign language. Merriam Webster defines sign language as, “A system of hand movements used for communication especially by people who are deaf.” This language, much like most languages, varies greatly from country to country, even state-to-state in the U.S. For the purpose of this class, I will be focusing on Deaf history and sign language in America (American Sign Language, ASL).
A few examples of early misunderstanding discrimination can be traced as far back as 384-322 B.C. with Aristotle claiming that Deaf people could not be taught without hearing, therefore “could not learn” and were denied education. Deaf education was finally into development in the 1500’s throughout Renaissance Europe when Italian physician, Geronimo Cardano attempted to teach his deaf son a code of symbols he believed could be used for communication.
Prominent history of the origins of sign language can be traced back to the 1600’s. Many of the dwellers of Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod were a part of a gene pool that produced a large number of Deaf people which created a huge community of “signers.” It wasn’t until 1760 when the first official set of sign language was made. French sign language was developed in France by French priest, Charles Michael De L’Eppe. De L’Eppe founded the first free public school for the Deaf. It was also during this time that Spain, Germany, Holland and England were also making great progress towards the education for the Deaf and development of sign language.

Perhaps the most well-known historical figure for Deaf culture is hearin...

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...s their own slang and style when it comes to how they use the language. This is just like how every hearing person has their own stylistic way of speaking.

American Sign Language is often very misunderstood. It is of course a complex language but I have found in my time spent learning it that it seems to be almost easier to learn that a foregin spoken language. I think the visual cues and expressions on signers’ faces makes communicating with the Deaf and other signers quicker to pick up on. Every time you have something to sign, it is like you are putting on a small production and visually painting a picture for your listener. It is possible for Deaf people to have dramatic and aggressive conversations. The language holds a lot of emotions and continues to amaze me. I look forward to sharing more research and information with the class as the semester continues.

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