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Oralism and Sign Language

Autor:   •  April 9, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,328 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,574 Views

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Oralism and Sign Language

The deaf community views being deaf as a separate culture and language itself rather than translations and interpretations through other spoken languages. Oralism and Signing facilitates thinking to a great extent, because there is so much thought that has to go into the communication of signing and oralism. Oralism is the education of the deaf students using spoken language and was influenced by Alexander Graham Bell. Sign language is the most commonly used source of communication between the deaf and is done through body language and patterns. The examples of oralism and signing I will use are the documentary, "Through Deaf Eyes," the students and teachers from Gallaudet University, the studies of Alexander Graham Bell, and the relationship between oralism and signing. Signing and oralism are languages within themselves, and the deaf have preferences as to which they prefer, but both oralism and signing do not limit thinking because they have their own difficulties and adversity.

Oralism facilitates thinking because the mind of the deaf person has to work increasingly hard to identify the words and sounds that are coming from somebody. It involves lip reading, speech, and watching mouth movements. Deaf people that were in favor of oralism believed that sign language created a deaf culture that made deaf children and people outcasts to those that were able to hear. A strong advocate of oralism was Alexander Graham Bell. The knowledge claims made by Alexander Graham Bell in regards to the deaf community were that sign language was not good for deaf people as a whole. He believed that sign language secluded deaf people from society and that it was a language specifically for deaf people only, and they were distancing themselves from people that were able to speak. Bell justified his claims by starting schools that banned the use of sign language from the students as well as the teachers. His justifications were shown that deaf people were always together and they were always grouped together because the only language they knew was between each other and not from people that could speak. The first school to practice oralism was The Clarke School for the deaf in Massachusetts and the oralism trend quickly caught on through other schools around the country. However it was almost impossible to stop sign language, because it was the universal language for the deaf and their sole way of communication between each other, that created a deaf culture that only the deaf recognized. Oralism facilitates thinking because Bell believed that if the deaf were able to read lips they would be able to communicate with those that could speak and they would be more ‘normal.' Oralism was a completely new learning experience for the death, because they were so used to sign language, and sign was their main way of communication for many obvious reasons because it created their own


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