May 15, 2006

Deaf studies at Bristol

Writing about web page

Bristol University has a Centre for Deaf Studies. Impressively, their web site is augmented by providing video on all the major pages containing both British Sign Language and International Sign Language together with sub–titles.

One small thing I don't get, though: most of their audience, deaf or otherwise, will be able to read. So what's the problem which adding sign language to their pages is intended to solve?

- 4 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. The structure of the English language compared to BSL (and ASL and as far as I know ISL) is very different. So even whilst most deaf and hard of hearing prople do read it is a second language to them and most people generally prefer to have things presented to them in their first language. If the choice is there then thats great.

    15 May 2006, 14:02

  2. John Dale

    That's fascinating; I had no idea. So if you're born deaf, or go deaf at a young age, how are you taught? Are you taught BSL first and then reading separately later, much as a hearing child might be taught English first and then (say) French later?

    15 May 2006, 14:28

  3. It depends on the family arrangements and community support. A deaf child of deaf parents is far more likely to learn Sign first then English later. A deaf child of hearing parents may learn one or the other (though most likely both together) depending on how the parents/family deal with it and what opportunities there are in the area for interacting with other deaf people. It's similar to how a child of parents of different nationalities may well learn both languages at home or just one depending on how the parents choose to work it.

    15 May 2006, 17:58

  4. Also the British education system is appalling when it comes to deaf children – insane though it is, rather than teach them in Sign Language, the powers that be decided that deaf people should go to mainstream schools and learn how to lip read (which is very ineffective) and consequently most deaf people leave school with few if any qualifications and little understanding of the world around them. It's a topic that gets us worked up in our house, as my hubby worked as a full time volunteer with deaf people for 2 years. Anyway my point is that a lot of deaf people really can't read very well, due to lack of education.

    23 May 2006, 20:29

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