Sign language research paper


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Sign language research paper

  1. 1. Cassidy BullisMrs. GardnerEnglish 1211 March 2013American Sign Language! American Sign Language has played a significant role in the deaf culture. Indi-viduals who were deaf did not have a voice to communicate with, but when AmericanSign Language was created it gave deaf individuals a new found voice. Sign languagestarted a new culture for the deaf and brought deaf people around the world together.The deaf culture has been becoming smaller because of a new technology. This newtechnology is called a cochlear implant, which helps with the loss of hearing. The devel-opment and evolution of American Sign Language has allowed deaf individuals to com-municate, however, due to new technologies such as cochlear implants, the language ofsigning is in decline.! American Sign Language is a beautiful and unique style of language, but whattruly is sign language and how does it work? American Sign Language is also known asASL. The majority of people who are not deaf think that sign language is a universallanguage. They are wrong; there is no such thing as a universal sign language. Signlanguage differs in each country (“American Sign Language”). For example, Australiansign language uses the two handed alphabet method, while ASL uses the one handedalphabet method (“Auslan”). Normally when a hearing individual is having a conversa-tion with someone he is listening with his ears but for a deaf person he has to listen withhis eyes. When signing, a person will use his dominate hand to sign. (Duke 26). Signing! Bullis 1Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  2. 2. does sometimes involve the use of both hands and when this is the case his dominatehand does not matter (Duke 27).! American Sign Language is a complex language and has a visual style of com-munication. ASL is a language used by people who are deaf. ASL uses the movementof the hands as well as body posture and facial expressions to communicate. (“Ameri-can Sign Language”). ASL is style of language that has its own syntax, grammar, andpunctuations (Duke 2). The way hearing people speak is not the way ASL users sign.ASL users use a method call syntax, which arranges words in the same order thatevents are occurring in real life. An example of syntax is “After work I am going home”instead of “I am going home after work” (Fant 42). The uniqueness of sign languagemakes it hard for hearing individual to understand its culture syntax.! When learning how to sign there will be a great deal of practicing. The personwho is practicing will need to be relaxed and not worry about errors he will make (Duke30). Eye contact is an extremely important quality to have when he is signing to anotherperson. Breaking eye contact is terribly rude during a conversation. It looks like he is notinterested in what the other person is saying (Duke 31). It is extremely important fordeaf individuals not only to sign correctly, but to know the protocols and etiquette ofsigning. If American Sign Language was never created, the deaf community around theUnited States would have never had a voice to communicate with. The deaf communityis blessed that someone two hundred years ago made it possible to sign (“AmericanSign Language”).! There are scientific reasons why individuals are born or become deaf. Geneticsor diseases can cause any individual to be deaf (Lazorisak 6). In a hearing person, a! Bullis 2Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  3. 3. signal travels through the spiral fluid filled tunnel that is lined with tiny hair cells in thecochlear. After the signals pass through the tiny hair cell they travel next to the auditorynerve, where they will end up in the brain. When someone is deaf, the tiny hair cellshave been damaged and the signal can not reach other nerve fibers (Delost). Much re-search has been done to help deaf individuals and repair this nerve fiber damage.! Medically there are two types of deafness. One occurs when an infant is borndeaf and the other is when a child or adult becomes deaf later on in life. Each year ap-proximately one thousand babies are born deaf in the United States (Walker). Ninetypercent of the children who are born deaf have hearing parents (“Cochlear Implants”).Babies who are born deaf with hearing parents may have genes that are passed downfrom other family members or there might not be any history of deafness in the family.Babies can also be born deaf, due to a complication during pregnancy or drugs themother takes during pregnancy. These complications during pregnancy are the illness,Rubella, herpes, and toxoplasmosis (“Causes of Deafness”). When mothers contractthese diseases during pregnancy she can cause the child to become deaf. The otherten percent of babies who are born deaf have deaf parents, which is hereditary (Diggs).! If a baby is not born deaf, there are other ways he can become deaf. There arethree types of hearing losses conductive, sensorineural, and mixed loss (“Cochlear Im-plants”). Conductive hearing loss is a blockage or a decrease in sound in the middleear. Conductive hearing loss is caused by many different reasons, including ear infec-tions, otosclerosis, benign tumors, or foreign body (“Types”). Conductive hearing losscan be treated by medical treatments (Connelly). Sensorineural hearing loss is nottreatable and is permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss is also caused by many different! Bullis 3Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  4. 4. reasons. Such as head trauma, tumors, otosclerosis, or hearing loss that runs in thefamily (“Types”). Mixed hearing loss is when conductive and sensorineural loss arecombined together (Connelly).! Although science and technology cannot help all of the problems of deafness to-day, scientists are hard at work to develop new technologies. One of these technologiesavailable is the cochlear implant. It helps the human ears hear again, but what exactly isa cochlear implant and how does it work? A cochlear implant is a device that restoresdamage to hair cells by delivering electrical stimulation to nerve fibers (Hossain). Coch-lear implants can not make a deaf person hear one hundred percent again. They do noteliminate deafness and they are definitely not a cure, but they may help some deaf indi-viduals (Cochlear Implants).!! The cochlear implant often helps some deaf individuals hear certain sounds. Un-fortunately if it does not work some deaf individuals cannot hear anything with a coch-lear implant or they just hear static (Diggs). Cochlear implants are a risk certain peopleare willing to take to help themselves hear again. In the case of a child, a parent mustmake the decision to try a cochlear implant for his or her children to hear again. Peopleshould always research and talk to a doctor to know the benefits and risks that comewith a cochlear implant before making a decision.! Bullis 4Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  5. 5. !When having surgery for a cochlear implant doctors cut a small hole into the mastoidbone, which is located behind the ear. This hole holds the implant in place where theelectrodes are placed inside. Following surgery it will take up to five weeks for it to heal.When the five weeks are over, the implant can be activated and be given the externalcomponents (Delost). A cochlear implant external component works by wearing an earset behind the ear, like a hearing aid, that is called a microphone. After the externalcomponent is all set up, a magnetic transmitter and speech processor which are bothconnected by a wire to the ear piece. The speech processor has to be set up next to theproper level of stimulation (Delost). Once it is all set up, the microphone picks up soundthat carries it to the speech processor. The speech processor examines the sound intoa special coded signal. The special code is then forwarded to the magnetic transmitterthat is located behind the ear. The special signals are then forwarded again as an FMradio to the implant beneath the skin, which finally stimulates the nerve fibers and sends! Bullis 5Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  6. 6. information to the brain (Delost). Although the operation to install this implant is fairlystraight forward and not very traumatic, the implant is still a complicated piece of tech-nology that hopefully works correctly.! When a child is born deaf, the mother and father has an enormous decision tomake whether or not to get a cochlear implant. The majority of hearing parents wanttheir child to understand the sounds around them. They want them to speak, listen tomusic, and have a conversation on the phone (“Cochlear Implants”). If they decide to gowith the implant, they will have a large amount of research to do. Parents should under-stand that cochlear implants do not cure their child of being deaf, but the implant willhelp them with their speech. The younger a child gets an implant, the better theirspeech will improve (“Cochlear Implants”). Having an implant can be a very difficult de-cision for a parent to make.! Not all parents want a cochlear implant for their child. Some parents prefer theirchild to be deaf so they can be part of the deaf culture. If a parent makes that decision,the child will have to adapt to learning American Sign Language. To help the child learnhow to deal with their deafness, the parents need to get their child involved in deaf pro-grams with other deaf children. Starting them in a deaf program will expose them to thedeaf community and culture (Benedict). The deaf culture will allow them to embracetheir deafness and teach others to do the same. It is very unfortunate when a baby isborn deaf and parents need to decide between a cochlear implant or deafness. If theparents decide to get their child an implant, that child will never learn a wonderful lan-guage or experience a beautiful culture like the child whose parents decided not to getthem the implant.! Bullis 6Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  7. 7. ! A vast amount of people from the deaf community are against cochlear implants.They believe that deafness is not a disability, It is a life style (“Cochlear War”). They alsodislike the term hearing impaired, because they do not think they are impaired. Theycan do everything a hearing person can do except hear, which does not bother them.However, medical professionals believe that deafness is a disability. They think cochlearimplants are the answer to fixing deafness, but people who are deaf strongly disagreewith them (“Cochlear Implants”).! A majority of the deaf culture believes that cochlear implants are going to annihi-late sign language and the deaf community. They believe each person who gets a coch-lear implant, there will be one less person who will not be a part of the deaf culture. Themajority of the deaf culture agrees that deafness does not need to be undone (“Coch-lear War”). The deaf community wants other deaf individuals to understand that theyshould not be scared of being deaf or think they are different from everyone else. Theywant them to know that they can be extremely happy without being able to hear (“Coch-lear Implants”). The deaf community wants the language to grow and get more individu-als to join to experience the culture. They never want the language of American SignLanguage to disappear.! American sign language is a one of a kind language and the deaf culture isunique and a great support of deaf individuals. Deaf culture has been very necessary tomake deafness much less of a disability. It is understandable that the deaf culture wantsto keep sign language and traditions alive. However with the invention of cochlear im-plants and other future technologies designed for the deaf, the decision to be deaf ornot might become a decision for each individual to make.! Bullis 7Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  8. 8. Works Cited"American Sign Language." NIDCD. June 2011. Web. 18 Feb. 2013."Auslan” (Australian Sign Language)." Start ASL. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.Benedict, Beth S. "Deaf Culture & Community." Hands & Voices. Web. 13 Feb. 2013."Causes of Deafness ." Deaf Children Worldwide . Web. 3 Mar. 2013."Cochlear Implants." National Association of The Deaf . 6 Oct. 2000. Web. 13 Feb. 2013."Cochlear War." The Deaf View. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.Connelly, Patricia. "Types of Hearing Loss." Better Hearing Institute. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.Delost, Shelli. "The Cochlear Implant Controversy." Drury University. 8 Dec. 2011. Web. 13Feb. 2013.Diggs, Kim. Personal Interview 26 February 2013.Duke, Irene. The Everything Sign Language Book : American Sign Language Made Easy. Avon,MA: Adams Media, 2009. Print.Fant, Louie J., and Betty G. Miller. The American Sign Language Phrase Book. Chicago: Con-temporary Books, 1983. Print.Hossain, Shaikat. "Cochlear Implants and The Deaf Culture: A Transhumanist Perspective."hplusmagazine. 11 June 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.Lazorisak, Carole, and Dawn Donohue. The complete Idiots Guide To Conversational Sign Lan-guage Illustrated. New York: Alpha, 2004. Print.“Types, Causes and Treatment." Hearing Loss Association of America. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.! Bullis 8Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90
  9. 9. Walker, Lou Ann. "5. Losing The Language of Silence: as More Deaf Children Are Given TheChance to Hear, The eloquent System of Signing Is Under Attack." New York 21 Jan.2008: 56+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.! Bullis 9Cassidy Bullis Friday, April 19, 2013 1:16:56 PM ET 04:0c:ce:d9:22:90