Saturday, February 2, 2008

How Does a Language Influence a Culture?

Really interesting vlog by Mike McConnell, and it was greatly appreciated by yours truly. There are many different voices in the Deaf community- it is diversity that enriches a culture. Barb Digi took the "FIX" debate a step further by expanding on and giving examples of how the word is used in the medical community and in colloquial rhetoric...
SlackinPenguin left an interesting comment:
SlackinPenguin said...
I suppose you could get away with saying "fix the ear" or you might even get away with saying "getting one's hearing fixed". However, I would think it would be a whole other thing to say, "fix one's child" or "fix a deaf child".

Know what I mean?

I know that you could find all kinds of sources around the internet that use the term "fix" in the concept we're interested in at the moment, but that doesn't make it right. I'm sure I'd have no problem finding the term "deaf mute" on the internet, but we all know that "deaf mute" is quite offensive.

We, the deaf folks, have often asked the hearing world to please not use particular terms when describing us because it offends and hurts us. Now we have parents of cochlear implanted deaf children asking us to please not use the term "fix" because it hurts and offends them. If we're going to refuse to oblige them, what leg are we going to stand on when we complain about words that describe us?

It's so nice to be stimulated intellectually after so many years of chillin' in a hole. Just the simple exchange of diverse perspectives gets my adrenaline going and surprise, surprise, I am finding a great deal of diversity on, despite the fact that many think otherwise. Lotta great people here.

I have a question about ASL.

During this whole translation process of RALLY CAPS, from English to Italian an interesting point came up that I had never considered before the edit. In spoken and written English when the subject involves a person aside from ourself, we always pronounce or write that person's name before our own, for example:
Joe and I went for a cappuccino.
In Italian, they always put themselves first in a sentence:
Io e Joe siamo andati a prendere un cappuccino. (I and Joe went for a cappuccino)
Italians name themselves before all others, Americans name the other person before themselves.
Apply this to a cultural perspective. We, as Americans, always worry about the next: poor, sick, needy, countries in need, etc. it is part of our nature to put the other person's needs before our own. When we are in line at the bank, if we can't really tell who arrived first, we let the other person go ahead of us. If we are in a traffic jam and see a car needs to merge into our lane, we let them. *not trying to imply that all Americans are saints...*
When you are so used to putting yourself before others linguistically speaking, how do you think that is manifested in everyday life here in Italy? I have had 85 year old women cut in front of me in the bank (don't think for a second that I haven't thought about body slamming grandma), cars cut me off on the road or make me wait twenty minutes before letting me in a traffic line - and as you can well imagine, I am an aggressive driver:)

How does a language influence a culture?
I don't know ASL, but I would be very curious to read some thoughts on this matter.

And!!!!!! I just got my copy of Josh Swiller's The Unheard...A Memoir of Deafness and Africaafter waiting three weeks...can't wait to dive into that bad boy!
And here is THE bad boy himself:


Anonymous said...

Remember, my favorite blogger, Seek Geo have *ALWAYS* provided captions for everybody for long, long time. He thought of everybody who cant sign, not himself. He's wonderful. He's a good role model for *any* communities.

Anonymous said...

oops I was talking about Seek Geo. It was from White Ghost. Forgot to put my name on yours....It's White Ghost

White Ghost

Anonymous said...

I dont find the borgization tales inspirational. I cringe at that.



Unknown said...

I know. Feel free to not return so you won't feel uninspired. *blowing you a kiss* Jodi

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing that video. How much hearing did the brothers have before the surgery? They're brave considering the fact that they had some hearing before. I'd be afraid to go that route, but, I admire their choice to deal with it head on.

Karen Mayes said...

Cool, I learned from you about Italian...placing "I" first, unlike English.

ASL is derived from French, due to the Frenchman Laurent Clerc who introduced sign language to America in 19th century.

Karen Putz said...

Happy reading! When you're done with Josh's book, you might want to dive into "Talking Hands"-- a great book about ASL that is friendly and easy to read.

VBnBama said...

I can see you body slamming grandma. You have an interesting perspective, you are always thought provoking...oh, and I'm getting Josh's book for my birthday (in less than 2mos, at least hopefully, that's what I requested from Mom). hugs

Unknown said...

Shit, Val,
One of my students just read and understood the blog...I'm dead. Jodi
I'm starting the book tonight - hubby's going to watch the Superbowl with his team at 10 pm. Who knows if they'll show the Pepsi Commercial...doubt it, too many different languages and without a doubt the sponsors will be different. Smack, Jodi

Abbie said...

Josh is indeed a bad boy LOL He is hysterical. There is parts of the book that left a pit in my stomach because it was so graphic. This girly girl here would have a hard time out there in the desert let me tell you.