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  • Deaf culture

    I hope this isn't in the wrong place, but I am very curious. I am an American Sign Language student and hope to travel to Scotland one day. How does the Deaf community interact with the hearing community?

    Do the Deaf use British Sign Language or has someone developed a Scottish version of it? What is required of interpreters?

  • #2
    The deaf community does not interact enough with the hearing community really.

    There is however a long history of signing etc in Scotland, and indeed Alexander Graham Bell's father pioneered methods for helping them.

    British Sign Language is used, but there are indeed Scottish versions of it. I think for example, that Scots use slightly different signs for "deaf" and "hearing" than southern English.


    (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
    "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for responding! Where could I get more information about the Deaf in Scotland?

      Comment


      • #4
        You could try the BDA (British Deaf Association) in Scotland.

        http://www.britishdeafassociation.or...?page=Scotland

        http://www.ssc.mhie.ac.uk/VPages/F2/V2861.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          This isn't much use to you but...

          1) The number of "deaf" here has been reduced greatly by hearing aids, which turn the partially hearing into more integrated members of mainstream society. This is a good and a bad thing. Good because it gives them a broader life, and bad, because the deaf community has its own culture and language, and this gets impinged on...

          2) A number of taster courses have been run in community centres round the country. I did one myself. These are fine for giving you a basic grounding, but to actually go further costs horrendous amounts of money, and is difficult to justify for many people, unless they have personal reasons to.

          3) English, i.e. "British", tv runs a lot of signed programmes, but these are most in the wee hours of the morning and obviously to be videoed. Most programmes have subtitles which can be received on special sets... I don't know of any signed programmes produced in Scotland, but I do know that at least one of the well known presenters on English deaf tv is a Scotsman.

          4) Certainly deaf schoolchildren do work experience, as do mainstream pupils in Scotland. The charity I work for regularly had a 16yr old girl from Donaldsons (which is the main school for most of Scotland in Edinburgh) in for one afternoon doing this. She had to communicate with a notepad, and my signing was not great. She had a partially hearing supervisor in occasionally to keep an eye on her. The poor girl was very nervous, and I'm afraid not all members of the public were very nice to her.


          (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
          "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

          Comment


          • #6
            Where is Babz? I'd love her input!

            OK - I'm really absorbed in Deaf Everything so can I wear my heart on my sleeve for just a few minutes?

            Sounds similar to the States. We have MANY outreaches to the deaf but it depends on the population of Deaf in any city/area and the willingness of hearing people to reach out TO them. It's sad to me because I have such a heart for them. The Deaf don't think anything is wrong with them, which contributes to some of their pride issues but who's to say they are wrong? A person's experiences are subjective regardless of our senses because they belong to that person. Just because they can't hear the music doesn't mean they can't enjoy it's message - lots of Deaf actually DO "listen" to music! Unfortunately, many Deaf individuals who are engrossed in D culture feel that society owes them something and while our laws (ADA) are designed to protect their rights and interests, they can be used to make people arrogant and insensitive.

            While hearing aids and cochlear implants help the person to become more involved in the hearing world, it isn't a quick fix - there is still the issue of speech and activities when an amplifier can't be worn (playgrounds, swimming, etc.)One of my friends has a child who is severely Hard of Hearing (HH) and the child is getting implanted next week. I'm not sure the CI is the way to go because it only helps the hearing loss while the person wears the transmitter. I think what's important is keeping the right perspective about what the CI can accomplish. Yes, it will allow one to become more accepted in his environment but the fact remains that that person is still and will always have a hearing loss. It doesn't fix something that's (in our minds) defective. I have encountered parents who want this for their children because they think it's a cure, and it is NOT. What do you think about the cochlear inplant?

            Before I finish, I should say that I believe our world is not friendly to people who have differences. And many a deaf person through the years has been discriminated against/taken advantage of because they didn't know how to communicate with the general public. We should not expect them to meet our requirements all the time as if we have ALL the answers.

            I am certainly not an expert, just someone who cares about the Deaf. Thanks for allowing me to vent and I hope I haven't offended anyone. I'm getting off my soap box now!

            Comment


            • #7
              Sorry Babz, I think it was kathyv I'm trying to find.

              Comment


              • #8
                "While hearing aids and cochlear implants help the person to become more involved in the hearing world, it isn't a quick fix - there is still the issue of speech and activities when an amplifier can't be worn (playgrounds, swimming, etc.)"

                I think the other issue is the age too, because picking up English is harder as the child grows older.

                "I'm not sure the CI is the way to go because it only helps the hearing loss while the person wears the transmitter."

                I'd be optimistic. I think surgery is improving all the time, and even complicated organs such as eyes and ears could be completely rebuilt in the near future.

                "What do you think about the cochlear inplant?"

                I think they're going to be phased out for the reason I state above. They'll be outmoded, or at least replaced with something very different.

                "Before I finish, I should say that I believe our world is not friendly to people who have differences."

                It never has been. Some people say this is partly an evolutionary trait, along with most other chauvinism. The world is unkind to people who look different in any way to most of their community, are disabled in any way, mentally ill (especially so), homosexual (less so than before) or just plain eccentric. It's this mentality which would have had Galileo killed for his "heresy" of course.


                (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
                "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree that the age is important - speech is very difficult for a person to grasp, especially when they are trying to learn it later than usual. I'm sure it can even be a little scary to experience it all at once when you've never had it. My curiosity is peaked at how those with minimal to moderate hearing loss fit into the mix - not quite Deaf but not hearing either - I haven't had the opportunity to meet anyone of that catagory so I wonder how accepted they feel in either group?

                  I still maintain that some Deaf will not accept these technological miracles as they don't view themselves as impaired because they don't hear. How would you estimate the population of Deaf mainstreamed into the hearing world? How well are they received?

                  Not to be nosey, but are you still signing? Have you yourself pursued any other education in this area? What prompted you to take the course in the first place - have you a Deaf family member? What are the costs like to learn BSL in Scotland and how readily available are they?

                  Does Scotand have any government funded schools (K-12)for the Deaf? Are the fundamentals of BSL much different from ASL, other than the use of both hands? I wonder, in England are there more resources for D/HH gatherings and opportunities for education in the hearing arena? As I said, I'm also active in the ministry part of Deaf events: are there any churches (that you are aware of) attempting to draw D/HH people to Christ?

                  Well, thanks for sharing your views. I appreciate your optimism! I hope that one day we'll be able to see those same advancements.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Not to be nosey, but are you still signing? Have you yourself pursued any other education in this area? What prompted you to take the course in the first place - have you a Deaf family member? What are the costs like to learn BSL in Scotland and how readily available are they?"

                    I don't get many opportunities to sign, but like I say, in one of those bizarre coincidences, just after I took up the course I had to work with this deaf teenager for an afternoon. It helped a bit I think, even though my signing isn't good. I find it especially difficult as unlike Mediterranean cultures, we don't tend to make many gestures, and I also tend to have a "poker face" (probably a protestant hangover!)

                    I went on the course because it was very cheap, and I wasn't doing anything on a Monday evening. Add to that it was literally five minutes from my house, and you have another bonus. I'm interested in languages, but did not find BSL too easy to do because it is more akin to "drama" than spoken/written languages. I don't express myself with my face and body too much, but more with voice intonation and words. Courses at this basic level for a few weeks are available, but to take it further you must pay quite a bit. I also live in the city. In areas like the Highlands it must be hard.

                    "How would you estimate the population of Deaf mainstreamed into the hearing world? How well are they received?"

                    Impossible to tell. I've come across deaf people who are very well mainstreamed. One was a guy who came down to work on our river when I lived up north. I only worked out he was deaf because when his back was turned he couldn't hear me. He must have been a very good lipreader. He could have passed anywhere.

                    I think most form their own communities, and as far as I can tell are well integrated through their families if anything.

                    "Does Scotand have any government funded schools (K-12)for the Deaf?"

                    Yes I think there are. But only a handful - one or two. DOnaldson's is one of them.

                    "As I said, I'm also active in the ministry part of Deaf events: are there any churches (that you are aware of) attempting to draw D/HH people to Christ?"

                    I've heard of this. Probably some place does it once a month or something. I'm an agnostic, so don't take an interest in such things.

                    "Are the fundamentals of BSL much different from ASL, other than the use of both hands?"

                    I don't know enough about ASL, but you've mentioned the only major difference I know of.

                    I think as with most things, visual signs are probably similar, but more abstract concepts are completely differently expressed.


                    (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
                    "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      language switch

                      I take it from some of your other posts that you "know something' about Gaelic? Are you fluent?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "Are you fluent?"

                        Matter of opinion!

                        I speak it well enough, and read novels in it (what novels there are). But I make mistakes. Come to think of it, I make mistakes in English too.

                        I couldn't tell you anything about Gaidhlig deaf culture though! I know the Irish have a separate sign language, and I think a few grew up in various remote parts of the country years ago. I know of Gaidhlig braille, but don't actually know anything about it but its existence.

                        The majority of phrases requested on here are basic. But Gaidhlig works on a very different system to English. You can't translate word to word, but have to paraphrase quite a lot.


                        (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
                        "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It sounds like ASL, in that you must "phrase" things. Of course, some words can be directly translated but the context in which they are used determines the meaning of the word which could change the way it is interpreted: so an altogether different word or phrase must be used in the translation. In ASL, the word order changes too. For ASL and SEE (Signing Exact English) the alphabet is universal and uses only one hand as do many individual signs. While I don't know much about BSL, I do know that it requires both hands for almost everything if not all and our letters are not even remotely similar. But then, ASL is based on French (due to the work of Laurent Clerc), not English.

                          For ASL, the sentence "I am going to the store" I would say "store I go there". I have likened it to Spanish where the object is first. And a word like vivacious can't be explained as beautiful - it must be further enhanced to relay the full meaning.

                          How often do you have the opportunity to use Gaelic? I understand that it has been on the decline lately, but some still use it so is it easily recognized in conversation?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Depends what you mean by "use". If I wanted to I could telephone my Gaidhlig speaking friends every day and "chew their ears off", but I don't! However I go online every day and read some there, possibly write some etc. I run a Gaelic newsgroup just now so I have to... I also watch the occasional programme on TV (although like the BSL ones, they're on at impossible times), and listen to radio occasionally. I speak it probably once a week regularly.

                            You don't hear it much on the street, but it's not unknown. In some Highland areas you will hear it, but they also stop using it when a stranger comes round (the opposite of Wales perhaps, and a slightly bad thing)

                            I think BSL uses quite different structures e.g. "What name you?" for "What's your name?". In Gaidhlig "What name on you?"


                            (Two can play at George Orwell quotes)
                            "In this country I don’t think it is enough realized—I myself had no idea of it until a few years ago—that Scotland has a case against England."

                            Comment

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