ASL 102A Principles of American Sign Language Level 2
31 October 2012
Deaf in America Book Report In this book, Deaf in America, by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, the two authors wrote stories, jokes, performances, and experiences of Deaf people. They also wrote Deaf culture and Deaf people’s lives from various angles. This book is great navigator of Deaf world for hearing people and even Deaf people as me. There are several factors attracting reader. To begin with, I could learn about backgrounds of deaf people and hearing people. Authors wrote about a Deaf boy who was born into a deaf family. Until he discovered that a girl playmate in neighborhood was “hearing”, he didn’t notice about “Others”. Authors explained, “She was HEARING and because of this did not know how to SIGN; instead she and her mother TALK” (Chapter 1). This story strongly impressed me. I was born into a Deaf family too, but I grew up with hearing grandparents. In my childhood, I did intensive oral training with my grandparents. So, I can sign JSL and talk Japanese smoothly. Therefore I never felt emotion like this occasion, “Others” to hearing people. The next factor is difference of “Deaf” and “deaf”. For example, the capitalized “Deaf” people are not only “deaf” but also user of Sign Language. I haven’t known the meaning of “Deaf” and “deaf” exactly before, thanks to this book, now I can understand. When I analyzed myself, I identified as “Deaf” because I truly cherish Sign Language. In addition, Sign Language is explained as a primary mode of communication for Deaf people including me. It has full access to communication for us. Unfortunately, some hearing people misunderstand that Sign Language is a kind of gestural communication. Authors wrote about it, “ASL are often thought to be direct representations of spoken words” (Chapter 3). In my country, Japan, there are some misconceptions about JSL too. Sign Language has both iconic and abstract concept.
Cited: Carol Padden, Tom Humphries. Deaf in America : voices from a culture 1988 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College Printed in the United States of America