Why are deaf people against those with hearing learning asl?

sonocativo

Well-Known Member
#41
ASL does not use American English words--it uses conceptual signs. When English words are used to define signs that is called giving the gloss version of the signs. Gloss words are not direct translations of signs. They are descriptions of the concepts behind the signs.

For example, the sign that is glossed FATHER, could be voiced father, dad, pops, daddy, daddy-o, papa, or pappy, depending on the context. The concept is the same for each word but the interpretation (voiced) or translation (written) is dependent on the context. There is no sign=word equivalence.
My childhood was all a lie......lol
 
#42
:dunno2: I had not heard of that problem, but then I'm a newbie. People of any category can act like donkeys. Ignore them and move on. You will find folks with manners if you continue putting yourself out there. It won't be too long before your baby brother passes you by but also adores you and teaches you all manner of signing. Some of it will be his own invention, hehe. Always beware of brothers!

Also, there are some good songs done with ASL on youtube. For me learning songs was always a great way to learn a language.

Thank you soooo much for this!!
 
#43
As someone who probably should have been raised with ASL and Deaf culture, but now at 38 is just 'getting into it' in the last few years, and having to teach myself everything and having no access to Deaf culture, I have mixed views. I think if anyone wants to learn ASL they should. And in fact I wish more people would because I actually rely on the language to communicate, because I cannot lip read and I cannot hear well enough to follow a conversation (even with hearing aids), and one of my biggest struggles is that nobody I know - friends, family or otherwise - can sign and nobody wants to. And even if they did, they expect me to teach them when I don't even know how to teach myself. So any hearing people who want to learn, awesome! Do it! Because on a personal note, I need more people who can sign, so that I can communicate with more people, and not feel like I'm in a box talking to myself all the time.

However, something to be aware of is that in some areas, hearing people have more access to ASL resources than d/Deaf/hard of hearing people. This is the case in BC where I live. There are literally an handful of places in the province that offer ASL training of any sort, whether it's an actual program or individual classes. There is nothing on the community level, except for one that I've heard of (there's probably more but the point is, the help is just not there for most who really need it). Even the training programs they do have are all catered to hearing people: they're interpreter programs, they cost thousands of dollars, and they're meant to advance careers and give people more job opportunities or more skills in jobs like, say, working in the community or non-profit stuff. They give people an 'overview' of what it's like to work with people who are d/Deaf/hard of hearing. That's not to say that d/Deaf/hard of hearing people can't take them; of course they can. Anyone with the time and money can. But as someone who has taken even community classes, I can say that in a room of about 20 people, there was maybe one other person there who was there because they were d/Deaf/hard of hearing. Everyone else was hearing, learning for a friend, learning for a job, a family member, etc.

Here in BC, there are plenty of free resources for hearing parents to learn ASL to communicate with their hearing babies because they've figured out that sign language enforces bonds between parents and child and because it improves infant development significantly. Some resources also exist for hearing families with deaf/hard of hearing children. But there is nothing for individuals of any age who want to learn it for themselves, unless they are willing to pay 100s or 1000s of dollars for it and learn with other hearing people, deprived of their own culture. So while I'm not implying that every single d/Deaf/hard of hearing person who responds less than favourably to hearing people learning how to sign is doing so because of these things, it's helpful to realize that being d/Deaf/hard of hearing does not automatically mean access to sign language, nor does it mean access to Deaf culture, and many hearing people make that assumption. There simply isn't much awareness about the reality of what it's like to access ASL/other sign languages/Deaf culture if it's not something that you're born into. And also, many children who grow up d/Deaf/hard of hearing never have family members or friends who try to learn anything for them. They're sent to hearing schools and forced to 'make it' in hearing society because however many years ago, a bunch of hearing people decided that was the best way to 'deal with' deafness, and that Deaf culture and sign language needed to be deprioritized for that reason.

It's just a matter of educating yourself. Like with any other community you're not a part of (whether it's based on ability, language, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc). Always assume that you don't know the entire picture. It's great you're learning sign for someone else. And it makes me sad that you're not getting more support for it. From my limited knowledge of Deaf culture, anyone, hearing or otherwise, who is making an attempt to sign is welcomed. But d/Deaf/hard of hearing people are not homologous; we do not all feel and think the same way about everything. So people will react differently to different things. Ultimately I wouldn't let it get in the way of you learning for your brother, or signing with other d/Deaf/hard of hearing, or even hearing people who can also sign, and protect your boundaries when someone's treating you unfairly, regardless of the reason. But I also think it's important to be mindful of difference, while celebrating similarities.
 
#44
Also, another thing that's been coming up a lot around 'disability' in general, but for me specifically as a profoundly hard of hearing person trying to access supports in education/whatever: people approach me with caution, and as though I'm asking for things that are completely unreasonable, and that I should be trying harder to 'hear', or even just 'pay attention' (because somehow being deaf/hard of hearing is akin to not caring what people are trying to communicate to me). However, when hearing people learn to sign, especially when it's to be able to communicate with a deaf friend or family member, the view of this person is that they are being brave, compassionate, awesome, amazing, that they're a good person, etc. In other words, many people who need resources and can't get them experience isolation, a diminished quality of life, and the ostracization of hearing society (which is the dominant society where many of us live), while hearing people are congratulated for their efforts, and given more resources and supports than many d/Deaf/hard of hearing folks, especially adults. The double standard is astounding. So that's also something to be aware of.

Again, not anything you are personally responsible for - but people who are d/Deaf/hard of hearing are coming from all kinds of backgrounds and this could influence their approach to hearing people. Hope this helps. :)
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
#49
Do you tell them why you're learning ASL?

When Swiched at Birth was a popular show there were many hearing people showing up on AllDeaf asking for help and saying how cool they thought sign language was, etc. That was annoying because the deaf here (I'm late-deafened) knew it was just a fad for those posters.

You have a "valid" reason to learn ASL.
So what if it was a fad? That's typically the reason some people choose to study French or Spanish....the cool factor. It may be cool one year and a drag the next. There's no law against studying Italian if you have no ties to the country....

To the OP, I think it's irrational jealousy myself....just ignore people and push forward. No one needs anyone's approval to study or pursue anything that brings them joy or closer to loved ones.


Laura
 
#51
Wow, i didnt realize how offensive a hearing person trying to learn sign language could come across as. I speak fluent english, and am learning spanish. If i had to rate my spanish on a scale of one to ten i would say im at a four. But even with the little bit of spanish i do know, spanish speakers still feel comfortable trying to communicate with me in spanish for my sake (to teach me), or practicing their english on me. I guess i just assumed asl would be somewhat the same.

No one gets offended when i try to practice my spanish with them. If anything they either have the attitude of "i appreciate you trying," or "oh how cute, you have the vocabulary of a toddler." Niether one of those responses bothers me. Im just grateful for the help.

As for my trying to learn asl, ive been interested in learning since elementary. Ive always thought it was amazing that people could communicate full conversations without speaking, hearing, or writing. I still think its amazing. Ive been studying on my own since my senior year of highschool, but have learned that it takes someone who fluently understands the language to teach you the proper ways to speak it, sign it. There are things you can learn from another person that you just cant get from a video or a book.
 

zeefour

Active Member
#53
Wow, i didnt realize how offensive a hearing person trying to learn sign language could come across as. I speak fluent english, and am learning spanish. If i had to rate my spanish on a scale of one to ten i would say im at a four. But even with the little bit of spanish i do know, spanish speakers still feel comfortable trying to communicate with me in spanish for my sake (to teach me), or practicing their english on me. I guess i just assumed asl would be somewhat the same.

No one gets offended when i try to practice my spanish with them. If anything they either have the attitude of "i appreciate you trying," or "oh how cute, you have the vocabulary of a toddler." Niether one of those responses bothers me. Im just grateful for the help.

As for my trying to learn asl, ive been interested in learning since elementary. Ive always thought it was amazing that people could communicate full conversations without speaking, hearing, or writing. I still think its amazing. Ive been studying on my own since my senior year of highschool, but have learned that it takes someone who fluently understands the language to teach you the proper ways to speak it, sign it. There are things you can learn from another person that you just cant get from a video or a book.
I don't think people get upset. They just don't want to be used as tools to help you learn. Like come out to Deaf events, meet people, tell them you're practicing and learning ASL. But introduce yourself and make friends because you like the person, not because you need to learn for class if that makes sense.

I'm in ASL class because I used signed English growing up, I'm deaf but more hard of hearing with my hearing aids. I don't want people in my class to text me and want to hang out after class so they can write one of their Deaf culture papers, I want them to text me to hang out because they want to hang out with my, doesn't matter if I'm Deaf or hearing.

Hope that makes sense! I hope you feel welcome in the Deaf community.
 
#55
I don't think people get upset. They just don't want to be used as tools to help you learn. Like come out to Deaf events, meet people, tell them you're practicing and learning ASL. But introduce yourself and make friends because you like the person, not because you need to learn for class if that makes sense.

I'm in ASL class because I used signed English growing up, I'm deaf but more hard of hearing with my hearing aids. I don't want people in my class to text me and want to hang out after class so they can write one of their Deaf culture papers, I want them to text me to hang out because they want to hang out with my, doesn't matter if I'm Deaf or hearing.

Hope that makes sense! I hope you feel welcome in the Deaf community.
I can understand that. No one wants to be used. I guess the difference is where i live about half the people im exposed to speak spanish, while i hardly ever run into a single person who is deaf. I know many people are, but if i see a person signing in public its almost like spotting a unicorn. But i dont run up to them and interrupt their day just because i want to make a deaf friend. I also dont stare at them signing. That would be rude. And i also really dont have that many deaf events in my area. I tried to go to one yesterday but when i got there i was told that they dont do that event anymore. The others are less than once a month and during my work hours.

Id like to make friends who know sign language and truly get to know them as a person. Not snag a free tutor. But thats kinda hard when i never meet anyone who is deaf.

If it makes any sense at all, i try to think of the usual ways you make any kind of friend. You meet someone, anywhere. You have a conversation. Maybe you two enjoy talking to eachother. You meet them again. Talk some more. Eventually one invites the other person to hang out or go somewhere. You learn about eachother, find things to do that you both enjoy, and given a little bit of time you're friends. This is a hard thing to accomplish when you cant meet anyone. Do you know what im saying?
 

zeefour

Active Member
#56
I can understand that. No one wants to be used. I guess the difference is where i live about half the people im exposed to speak spanish, while i hardly ever run into a single person who is deaf. I know many people are, but if i see a person signing in public its almost like spotting a unicorn. But i dont run up to them and interrupt their day just because i want to make a deaf friend. I also dont stare at them signing. That would be rude. And i also really dont have that many deaf events in my area. I tried to go to one yesterday but when i got there i was told that they dont do that event anymore. The others are less than once a month and during my work hours.

Id like to make friends who know sign language and truly get to know them as a person. Not snag a free tutor. But thats kinda hard when i never meet anyone who is deaf.

If it makes any sense at all, i try to think of the usual ways you make any kind of friend. You meet someone, anywhere. You have a conversation. Maybe you two enjoy talking to eachother. You meet them again. Talk some more. Eventually one invites the other person to hang out or go somewhere. You learn about eachother, find things to do that you both enjoy, and given a little bit of time you're friends. This is a hard thing to accomplish when you cant meet anyone. Do you know what im saying?
Definitely! It's the same where I'm from. When I was little, my brothers and I were the only kids in our whole apartment complex who spoke English. The Spanish speaking population is huge here. I lost my hearing when I was 6 in a car accident and before then I spoke about as much Spanish as I did English from all my friends. I haven't learned much since since all my focus was on speaking and reading and understanding English, but I still get a fair deal of it.

Anyway, everything you say makes sense. Going to Deaf events to meet new people is the best way to go. You definitely have good intentions so I think you're good to go. I just wanted to explain where some of the opposition I think you perceived comes from, please don't take it personally! I still feel awkward at Deaf events sometimes because my ASL isn't great. It's getting better though. I'm applying to Gallaudet so I need to get it up to speed!
 
#57
I don't think people get upset. They just don't want to be used as tools to help you learn. Like come out to Deaf events, meet people, tell them you're practicing and learning ASL. But introduce yourself and make friends because you like the person, not because you need to learn for class if that makes sense.

I'm in ASL class because I used signed English growing up, I'm deaf but more hard of hearing with my hearing aids. I don't want people in my class to text me and want to hang out after class so they can write one of their Deaf culture papers, I want them to text me to hang out because they want to hang out with my, doesn't matter if I'm Deaf or hearing.

Hope that makes sense! I hope you feel welcome in the Deaf community.
That's a fixed, poor mindset. I don't agree with that. I can say I'm HoH, didn't know anything about the deaf community, and I wanted to learn ASL and ALSO wanted to hang out with friends. Here's the thing some of them don't want to hang out with learners, which I was one of them, because they don't like to make effort and they sometimes suffer impatience. They'd prefer to talk with fluent signers, and expected me learn as quickly as them so that they don't have to teach anything by their attitude. So, aren't you tired of being judged by hearing people and then some deaf people do the same? We should make a difference in our deaf community if hearing people are willing to get involved into it. Remember one thing, when hearing people do it, they usually are sensitive.
 
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zeefour

Active Member
#58
That's a fixed, poor mindset. I don't agree with that. I can say I'm HoH, didn't know anything about the deaf community, and I wanted to learn ASL and ALSO wanted to hang out with friends. Here's the thing some of them don't want to hang out with learners, which I was one of them, because they don't like to make effort and they sometimes suffer impatience. They'd prefer to talk with fluent signers, and expected me learn as quickly as them so that they don't have to teach anything by their attitude. So, aren't you tired of being judged by hearing people and then some deaf people do the same? We should a difference in our deaf community if hearing people are willing to get involved into it. Remember one thing, When hearing people do it, they usually are sensitive.
That's a fair enough view. I wasn't saying that's necessarily how I feel, just trying to explain the overall view. People generally aren't trying to be mean or standoffish. Just as HoH/Deaf people we want people to approach us to be friends and have conversations because of who we are as people, not just because we're Deaf/HoH/using ASL if that makes sense. We don't want to be used because of this, we want to be seen as people. I hope that makes sense.
 
#59
That's a fair enough view. I wasn't saying that's necessarily how I feel, just trying to explain the overall view. People generally aren't trying to be mean or standoffish. Just as HoH/Deaf people we want people to approach us to be friends and have conversations because of who we are as people, not just because we're Deaf/HoH/using ASL if that makes sense. We don't want to be used because of this, we want to be seen as people. I hope that makes sense.
They want to know about us who we are and they're up to make friends with us. But, listen up! How on earth can they make friends and get to know about us if they're just learning? We have to be aware of our attitudes and actions. At least, I make a difference when people are with me so the communication may prosper.
 
#60
I only just popped into this conversation, but I read up a good way and to me, I feel like everyone had very valid points. I'm always afraid that someone will see me trying and be like, wow... She's terrible, or she's doing this because it's a fad, or... (Heaven forbid) I'll sign something completely wrong and call someone an idiot, slut, etc. and be practically barred from any further deaf meetings (which I'm still trying to find some lol). Plus with anxiety, all of that makes me very timid to communicate.

After reading all of this though, it's kind of nice to understand the apprehension on d/Deaf/HoH because it certainly makes it more understandable to me why some people may not be okay communicating with me, at least right away. I'm not trying to learn for the next in thing. I want to learn because I've begun noticing that people around me (church, work, grocery shopping... Everywhere!) sign, and I refuse to be the one who scurries away with downcast eyes like I can't see. That infuriated me when I saw it. I like to know that I can communicate with people. I might sign like an infant, but I'm going to try. I want to get to know the people I see every few days and form friendships with them, so long at they can befriend a couple month old signer. Hah! X3

And, I also read Shane's book lol and I feel like it was all very nicely put.
 

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