The Silence is Loud

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Published January 30, 2019
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The Montclarion
Jaclyn Hartwig, a family science and human development major, practices American Sign Language. Rebecca Serviss | The Montclarion

Language is usually heard from one voice to another person’s ear, but imagine being able to visually see and speak it. One of the visual languages is American Sign Language (ASL).

There are many benefits to learning a new language, but sometimes it’s not easy and some people have a difficult time framing their mind with a new perception. However, ASL is a quick language to pick up because it’s visible.

If learning a new language is one of your New Year’s resolutions, pick ASL. You can either take it at the university or even go to events, such as ASL poetry slam. It’s even a great icebreaker when you first meet people and show them how to spell their name.

ASL is used for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, babies who still can’t talk and others who are just interested in the deaf culture. The language hasn’t been around for long and was first introduced in 1817. However, deaf people were not introduced with open arms and had pure negativity, called audism.

Audism is when hearing people think they are superior to deaf people. It is also when people don’t allow deaf people to use ASL and force them to speak.

Not every deaf person is able to use their voices or lip read. Deaf people who can use their voices and/or lip read are the ones who either were taken to speech therapists or were forced to learn in a hearing environment.

Audism is still common in some businesses or schools that don’t accommodate with translators or talk loudly when a person finds out someone is deaf.

Another misconception some people have is that the deaf are disabled. Calling them disabled is a form of unjust treatment. The only thing they can’t do is hear, but they can still drive a car, go to the movies and order food at restaurants.

Some hearing people are also against having their young deaf or speech-delayed children sign because they think it will prevent them from speaking. However, it should be up to the child, plus they will develop a form of communicating faster.

Finding a form to communicate will help with a child’s frustration when they want to express their feelings but still don’t know how to.

The deaf don’t just use their hands to speak but also use their body and facial expressions to affect the meaning of their signs. They are some of the most expressive people and have acted on shows and in movies, such as Marlee Matlin and Nyle DiMarco.

There are many benefits to learning ASL, even if it is only the alphabet because then you can fingerspell, which is spelling but with your fingers. Sign language is beneficial for people who can hear but are curious.

ASL can be used in a loud environment, for babies who want to express their hunger or thirst, in translating and being able to put a smile on someone who is deaf. They are deaf, not dead.

 

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