I have been very interested in the Deaf community and their culture along with their language, American Sign Language otherwise known as ASL. What hearing people may see as weird or strange with this language is the over dramatic facial expressions. In Deaf culture, the ‘weirder’ you look while signing, the better. It is these over dramatic facial expressions and gestures that help the listener to understand what is being told. Since normally there is no tone or pitch to be heard in the different areas that you’re voice would usually produce, these dramatic hands and face are what set different tones and pitches apart in the language. I am not saying Deaf people do not or cannot speak- that is there choice whether or not they want to voice, but it is custom for the average fluent ASL signer to not voice while signing.
American Sign Language is not English in the air or words in the air. American Sign Language is it’s own separate language with it’s own cultures and people: Deaf culture. Why am I capitalizing the word Deaf you may ask. An individual person who cannot hear is a deaf person. When I am talking about the group of people that belong to this culture, whether they are deaf or not, I am talking about the Deaf community.
Learning about Deaf culture has opened my eyes to a whole new world that I would have never known existed had I not taken the time to learn something new. People that can hear, or referred to as hearing people, may take for granted the ability to hear and pick up sounds, voices, etc. For those who are ignorant to Deaf culture, upon hearing a deaf person speak, a hearing person may automatically assume they have a mental disability. But being deaf or Deaf is not a disability and should not be viewed as one.
By raising awareness for Deaf culture, I want to open other’s eyes to this world new world. I want people to be aware of this separate culture and language without being ignorant to deaf potential. Just because you cannot hear or perhaps chose not to speak with your mouth but with your hands does not make you lower than anyone else. Deaf people can do anything a hearing person can, they just can’t hear.
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