Deaf Mute that …

English: A Video Relay Service session, where ...

English: A Video Relay Service session, where a Deaf, Hard-Of-Hearing or Speech-Impaired individual can communicate with a hearing person via a Video Interpreter (a Sign Language interpreter), using a videophone or similar video telecommunication unit. The hearing person with whom the Video Interpreter is also communicating can not be seen in the photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unbelievable, isn’t it that someone would use that language?  Thirty years out-of-date aswe know so much more about hearing that we don’t have to tolerate this sort of stupidity.

Written by the ancient historian, A. N Wilson in a book review in last week’s Financial Times no less*,  he should learn respect if he wants people to respect his own view of history.

People who cannot speak because of a hearing matter are rare.  In our lifetime, parents teach profoundly deaf children to speak.  Around 1930 it started by blowing up a balloon and having the child put their lips to one side whilst the hearing mother put her lips to the other.  The child would feel the vibration when the mother spoke and copy it.  Now the same idea is computerised and children follow a visual moving sound wave.

Let’s take the word ‘that’.  Usually it describes an object,  with no human traits or intelligence.  Let’s take the words ‘intelligence’ and ‘teaching’.  If you are stupid, you can teach nothing.  This profoundly deaf person taught lip-reading to a hearing person.  When you cannot speak to explain, each word can take a while.  Could they write it down?  If so, that would be quicker but if Sign Language is the first language, its construction is entirely different to English. ‘Man standing on a bridge looking at the water’ would start with the word ‘bridge’.  A N Wilson has underestimated the difficulty but it is the language he employs that is the most insulting.

The text that annoyed me:  ‘It is her generous decision to give employment (as a stenographer) to a deaf mute that teaches her the art of lipreading and enables Stringer to put not the final piece in the jigsaw – for the puzzle is never totally solved – but enough pieces to leave the reader satisfied.”

I want an apology.  What do you think?

*A N Wilson discussing ‘The Baghdad Railway Club’ by Andrew Martin


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