12 reasons to learn ASL – 8 (at least) of which are linked to Deaf space and Geographies

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Recently shared on Facebook… I can see at least 8 (maybe 9, maybe 10 – you judge) things here that speak about the difference between Deaf and hearing world spaces and that mobilise Deaf geographies to challenge hearing cultural ‘norms’

  1. Communicate underwater (if you want to see an example, watch Children of a Lesser God) – can’t do this if your communicative geographies are based in sound!
  2. Can communicate in differently cultural acceptable ways (mouth is full)
  3. Speak through closed window (Ben Bahan’s work on Doors and Windows springs to mind here)
  4. Talk across a crowded room (We used to see this a lot in a Deaf pub meet… we’d sit, and pass orders to the person at the bar over the heads of everyone else in the room)
  5. Chat at the movies (except it’s dark, but you can do it… and in church, and at any kind of meeting… in fact, it’s much more culturally acceptable to chat in a public event, particularly if it’s for clarification or to greet someone who’s just come in).
  6. Visual/Spatial/Gestural language – Look at the work done on Sign Proxemics.
  7. 3D language – … and here, on the Sign Art literature, and links between signing rhetorical devices and zooming/angles in film making.
  8. Is ASL a foreign language? Nope… but in the hearing world any language that isn’t hearing has to be ‘foreign’ right?
  9. It’s not too loud or too quiet… not in the hearing world anyway… and if you’re deaf, you can just shut your eyes to not listen.
  10. Oh, and the bonus… is the Deaf community, which has a HUGE international geography all of its own.
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