'Cued speech' has produced strong academic results -- and a dispute

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Cloggy

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Found this article.... hope it's of interest

A different cue for the deaf
'Cued speech' has produced strong academic results -- and a dispute
By Gadi Dechter
sun reporter
September 6, 2006

Zainab Alkebsi, 18, writes for the student newspaper at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which she attends on a full academic scholarship. Rockville native Allison Kaftan, 25, is pursuing a doctorate in English at George Washington University. Jeff Majors, 33, studies computer programming in Houston.

If they weren't deaf, they would simply be high-achievers. But when the average American deaf 18-year-old reads at just a fourth-grade level, these students' accomplishments are as noteworthy as their secret to success is controversial.

As children, Alkebsi, Kaftan and Majors learned English through a technique called cued speech, which helps deaf people accurately read lips by using eight hand signs that signify, depending on their placement around the mouth, different phonetic sounds.

Advocates say cued speech holds enormous potential for tackling the deaf literacy crisis in a nation where almost 40,000 school-age children are in deaf education programs. But the technique is staunchly opposed by many in the mainstream deaf community, who find cued speech offensive.

"It goes back to having a pathological view of deafness," said Mark Rust, coordinator of the deaf education program at McDaniel College in Westminster. "The pathological view of deafness is, 'I need to fix you.' And the easiest way to fix you is to give you English."

American Sign Language is widely considered the language of deaf people in the U.S., and it is recognized as a foreign language in 40 states, including Maryland. It has no grammatical or syntactical relationship to spoken English. By contrast, cued English is not a language but an aid to English comprehension - a system that helps deaf people read lips with precision. Unlike American Sign Language interpreters, who translate from English to sign language and back, cued speech transliterators use hand signals to make spoken English understood by the deaf.

Viewed as threat
Many in the mainstream deaf community see this as an "English-first" orientation. As a result, cued speech is viewed by some American Sign Language advocates as a threat, said Barbara Raimondo, advocacy director at the American Society of Deaf Children. She traces that perception to the system's history at Gallaudet University, where it was developed in the early 1960s by college administrator R. Orin Cornett to combat poor reading comprehension among students at the nation's only university for the deaf.

"When cueing was invented at Gallaudet, it was invented for the purpose of teaching deaf people English reading and writing," Raimondo said. "But what happened is, it got taken over by people who said, 'Let's use it for speaking and spoken language.' So I think it has been used to exclude sign language."

That was a particularly sensitive issue in the 1960s, when many in the deaf community embraced American Sign Language as their natural language.

While signing flourished, cued speech languished as politically incorrect. Today, the cued speech community constitutes a tiny fraction of deaf Americans. In 2005, fewer than 200 of 37,500 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in elementary and secondary schools nationwide used the technique as their primary mode of communication with teachers, a survey by the Gallaudet Research Institute found.

Among all ages, no more than several thousand deaf Americans use cued speech, according to an official with the National Cued Speech Association, which recently held a conference at Towson University to celebrate the technique's 40-year anniversary.

But the technique did find a minor foothold in deaf education in the late 1970s, when some public school systems - notably Montgomery County - employed cueing in the classroom, in addition to sign language, as early as pre-school.

As they enter mainstream colleges and universities, the early generations of deaf students educated with cued speech have become ambassadors for the technique, but they have also encountered logistical and ideological hurdles.

Hilary Franklin was one of three deaf cueing students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the mid-1990s. The university often couldn't find cued speech transliterators. When they were available, the transliterators were usually "lousy," she said.

Franklin's experience is common, according to Jean Krause, a professor of communication science and disorders at the University of South Florida, and a cueing advocate. "The problem of finding qualified and/or certified transliterators is enormous," Krause said in an e-mail.

There are only about 100 certified cued speech transliterators in the U.S., according to the agency that handles certification. Krause said there is an immediate need for at least 100 more.

A transliterator silently mouths a speaker's words while simultaneously using hand signals to represent each uttered phoneme, one of the 43 vowel-consonant combinations that are the smallest part of English speech.

The shape of the transliterator's hand represents a consonant sound, while the position indicates a vowel.

"Cueing represents every single thing that's being said [except], importantly, things that are confusing to someone who is lip reading, because many words look alike on the lips," said Sarina Roffe, president of the National Cued Speech Association.

"Let's say I'm in a biology classroom. There's a big difference between the words 'psychology,' 'psychologist' and 'psychological,'" said Roffe, "but they're very confusing to the lip reader because they're identical at the beginning and you can easily make mistakes."

Though she has become adept at reading lips without the signs, Alkebsi needs a transliterator in her UMBC classes because "the professor moves around the room while [he] is talking, or writes on the board with [his] back turned," she said.

Finding a qualified transliterator was a constant struggle for Franklin, who graduated from Chapel Hill in 2003. "Many transliterators work for the public school systems, so they're not readily available at colleges that typically only have one or two deaf cueing students and therefore can't guarantee a full-time job to transliterators," she said.

Not in mainstream
Cued speech transliteration is not a regular component of any mainstream deaf teacher-education program, Krause said, though Gallaudet and Columbia University offer elective courses in the subject.

Lisa Houck, director of curriculum and instruction at the Maryland School for the Deaf, said cued speech is not used there and is not under consideration.

It's also not in use at McDaniel College, which has one of the largest graduate programs in deaf education in the country.

"Our philosophy is, we feel American Sign Language should be the language of instruction," said Rust. "And by developing a strong foundation in ASL, you can lead students to develop English literacy skills."

College students who cue might encounter resistance from campus disability offices.

"I am so much against [cued speech], and so are the deaf," said Marla Holt, coordinator of deaf services at the University of Baltimore. "Their natural language is American Sign Language."

Holt, who is also a sign language interpreter, said that in her 15 years at the university, no deaf student has asked for a cued speech transliterator. She would provide one if asked, she said, but only reluctantly: "I would not be real thrilled about it, but that is their right. Luckily, I have never been asked that."

Such attitudes are common, said Jeff Majors. "I've met plenty of resistance from deaf people, teachers and interpreters," he said in an e-mail interview. "It takes time to convince them that using cued speech is a genuine benefit for the deaf."

Majors, whose parents fought to introduce the technique at a school for the deaf in Houston when he was 8 and unable to read or write, is certain he would be illiterate today without it.

"The truth is, my signing friends from my school ... none of them made it," he said. "Most dropped out. Most have jobs they don't want. ... Their English is terrible."

Cueing students who were interviewed expressed amusement that eight hand signs could be viewed as a threat to American Sign Language, which they all use and praise as rich and expressive.

"It's ridiculous, actually, to think that cueing could ever eradicate ASL and its accompanying culture," said Allison Kaftan, the English doctoral student, whose 4-year-old daughter also is deaf.

"But the frank and honest truth is that cueing is extremely successful in conveying English effortlessly to deaf people," said Kaftan, who cues with her daughter. "Since we all hold proficiency in English as the gold standard of literacy, cueing is here to stay."

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com
 

Cloggy

New Member
In another article I found this....
great example.....!!!
Unlike ASL interpreters, cued language transliterators convey the exact message being said and in the same language, just in a different mode – spoken English to cued English or vice versa. If I’m in a biology class and the professor is talking about the process of mitosis, the transliterator doesn’t need to understand what mitosis is or have to worry about making sure the concept is conveyed accurately. As a student, that’s my job – to understand what the professor is saying. And seeing as how I know next to nothing about mitosis:
“Mitosis is nuclear division plus cytokinesis, and produces two identical daughter cells during prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.”
All the transliterator has to do is cue:
/mie, toe, si, s, i, z, nue, k, lee, r, di, vi, zhuh, n, p, luh, s, sie, toe, ki, ne, si, s ……/
You get the idea. It’s just consonants and vowels strung together. Easy work for the transliterator. Not so easy for someone trying to interpret that into ASL.
 

flip

New Member
Found this article.... hope it's of interest

Many good points:

"Our philosophy is, we feel American Sign Language should be the language of instruction," said Rust. "And by developing a strong foundation in ASL, you can lead students to develop English literacy skills."

And, with loml's posts here in mind:

"But what happened is, it got taken over by people who said, 'Let's use it for speaking and spoken language.' So I think it has been used to exclude sign language."

And this does not surprise me as MSD are known for their sucessful bi-bi program, familar with all methods, even the outdated CS system:

Lisa Houck, director of curriculum and instruction at the Maryland School for the Deaf, said cued speech is not used there and is not under consideration.

Good post, Cloggy. Keep it up :)
 

flip

New Member
In another article I found this....
great example.....!!!

I some cases, especially if I want to know what the lecturer said exactly, I prefer written transcripts made in real time. Many interpreters also know signed exact english. Why some people would use time to learn CS and be at risk for not getting hold of one of the few interpreter who know CS, is strange to me.
 

Cloggy

New Member
Many good points:
........
Good post, Cloggy. Keep it up :)
Thanks... glad you like it, although we have a different focus...

I agree with you, it's good reading. It shows some op the opinions of Deaf people like
"I am so much against [cued speech], and so are the deaf," said Marla Holt, coordinator of deaf services at the University of Baltimore. "Their natural language is American Sign Language."
(Quite some comment from a coordinator of deaf services... giving her personal opinion and speaking for all the deaf persons in one go!)

........
..and some observations from real life like:
"The truth is, my signing friends from my school ... none of them made it," he said. "Most dropped out. Most have jobs they don't want. ... Their English is terrible."
 

flip

New Member
Thanks...

I agree. shows some op the opinions of Deaf people like

And this from a coordinator of deaf services...

And some observations from real life like:

Sure, to many deaf people, fluent in ASL, CS is a pain in the ass to use and horrible slow and boring to converse with. Should not surprise anyone.

At least the signers are married, getting children, experiencing life and working, not some strange loners studying year after year.
 

Cloggy

New Member
Sure, to many deaf people, fluent in ASL, CS is a pain in the ass to use and horrible slow and boring to converse with. Should not surprise anyone.

At least the signers are married, getting children, experiencing life and working, not some strange loners studying year after year.
Sure, to many hearing people, fluent in speech, ASL is a pain in the ass to use and horrible slow and boring to converse with. Should not surprise anyone.

And about "At least the signers are married, getting children, experiencing life and working, not some strange loners studying year after year.".....
So, not able to finish school: normal, Studying: strange loners....
Great conclusion!
 

flip

New Member
Sure, to many hearing people, fluent in speech, ASL is a pain in the ass to use and horrible slow and boring to converse with. Should not surprise anyone.

And about "At least the signers are married, getting children, experiencing life and working, not some strange loners studying year after year.".....
So, not able to finish school: normal, Studying: strange loners....
Great conclusion!

No I am not surprised ASL is a pain in the ass to many hearies, especially oralists. Interesting enough, it's the third largest language in the USA, so many hearies have enjoyed it enough to learn it. That can't be said for CS, that are enjoyed by a dwindling small 1 percent of hearing TODs or so.

If you knew deaf adults, you would notice that a large part of weak deaf signers, especially the ones strong in literacy are stuck studying for years. This article shows us a glimse of that situation. Studying computer science at an age of 33 is typical :( It's not about not able to finish school, but sign *language* skills to build social networks and relationships that makes it possible for them to found families and stay in a job for a longer time.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Yes, there are deaf signers who dont do well academically just as there are hearing people who have dropped out of school. Also, there are deaf signers with college degrees and have careers. If it is not ok for deaf people to be failures cuz of their preferred language then it should not be ok for hearing people who use spoken English be failures either.

If people want to use CS, nothing against it but I dont like how ASL is blamed for poor literacy skills. I wonder if those deaf signers had full access to language during those first 5 years of their lives?
 

Cloggy

New Member
He said "my signing friends" so it's reasonable to assume that at least some of them were fluent in ASL. But you're right, who knows?

Still, the "fear" for CS, the urge to put it down, seems to come from 1 side:
Cueing students who were interviewed expressed amusement that eight hand signs could be viewed as a threat to American Sign Language, which they all use and praise as rich and expressive.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
He said "my signing friends" so it's reasonable to assume that at least some of them were fluent in ASL. But you're right, who knows?

Still, the "fear" for CS, the urge to put it down, seems to come from 1 side:

I really dont have a strong opinion of CS except that I am just wary of it being used to develop language, that's all. My coworker who grew up with both ASL and CS has good English skills. She said that it is great as a teaching tool.
 

jillio

New Member
Many good points:

"Our philosophy is, we feel American Sign Language should be the language of instruction," said Rust. "And by developing a strong foundation in ASL, you can lead students to develop English literacy skills."

And, with loml's posts here in mind:

"But what happened is, it got taken over by people who said, 'Let's use it for speaking and spoken language.' So I think it has been used to exclude sign language."

And this does not surprise me as MSD are known for their sucessful bi-bi program, familar with all methods, even the outdated CS system:

Lisa Houck, director of curriculum and instruction at the Maryland School for the Deaf, said cued speech is not used there and is not under consideration.

Good post, Cloggy. Keep it up :)

:gpost::gpost:
 

jillio

New Member
Yes, there are deaf signers who dont do well academically just as there are hearing people who have dropped out of school. Also, there are deaf signers with college degrees and have careers. If it is not ok for deaf people to be failures cuz of their preferred language then it should not be ok for hearing people who use spoken English be failures either.

If people want to use CS, nothing against it but I dont like how ASL is blamed for poor literacy skills. I wonder if those deaf signers had full access to language during those first 5 years of their lives?

And a teaching tool is all that CS was ever intended to be.

I find most distrubing the comment that CS is able to convery the "exact message", while assuming that ASL. is not. That is fallicious. CS converys the message in English, ASL conveyes the message in sign. The content of the message is not changed, it is simply interpreted into a different language. The message is not the exact word for word transliteration, but the content and conceptual meaning of the communication conveyed. Wrod for word transliteration does not insure that, simply because the same wording is uitilized, that the message ha been clearly communicated. And interpretation into ASL does not mean that the message has been distorted.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
And a teaching tool is all that CS was ever intended to be.

I find most distrubing the comment that CS is able to convery the "exact message", while assuming that ASL. is not. That is fallicious. CS converys the message in English, ASL conveyes the message in sign. The content of the message is not changed, it is simply interpreted into a different language. The message is not the exact word for word transliteration, but the content and conceptual meaning of the communication conveyed. Wrod for word transliteration does not insure that, simply because the same wording is uitilized, that the message ha been clearly communicated. And interpretation into ASL does not mean that the message has been distorted.

I know...it is the same old tactic used to discredit ASL and frankly, until they are fluent in it, they have no clue what they are talking about. It gets so old.
 

jillio

New Member
He said "my signing friends" so it's reasonable to assume that at least some of them were fluent in ASL. But you're right, who knows?

Still, the "fear" for CS, the urge to put it down, seems to come from 1 side:

I don't see a lot of "fear" as being behind the lack of enthusiasm for CS. If you will check what the Master TODs have to say about phonetically based systems in the task of teaching literacy, their less than enthusiastic support has nothing to do with "fear", but with the fact that they find the method to be ineffective. That doesn't mean that a few individuals don't have success with such a method, but simply that the successes are not seen as a generalized result when applied to the population of deaf students as a whole.

We must keep in mind that CS was never intended as a tool for developing language or speech, but simply as a tool to remove ambiguity from speech reading and permitting phonetic decoding of the spoken word in order to apply such to reading skills and increasing reading comprehension and literacy.
It was not intended as a method of communication, it has never been employed on a widespread basis as a method of communication, and therefore, does not pose a "threat" to ASL as a language and communication choice between and with deaf individuals.
 

Cloggy

New Member
And a teaching tool is all that CS was ever intended to be.

I find most distrubing the comment that CS is able to convery the "exact message", while assuming that ASL. is not. That is fallicious. CS converys the message in English, ASL conveyes the message in sign. The content of the message is not changed, it is simply interpreted into a different language. The message is not the exact word for word transliteration, but the content and conceptual meaning of the communication conveyed. Wrod for word transliteration does not insure that, simply because the same wording is uitilized, that the message ha been clearly communicated. And interpretation into ASL does not mean that the message has been distorted.

Excellent....!!!!!
Can you send me a video showing the following message, ....
“Mitosis is nuclear division plus cytokinesis, and produces two identical daughter cells during prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.”

Because the student that came with the example is fluent in Cued Speech and ASL.....
And a sentence like that could be basic knowledge for the next exam!!!!
(See here.)
 

jillio

New Member
I know...it is the same old tactic used to discredit ASL and frankly, until they are fluent in it, they have no clue what they are talking about. It gets so old.

Exactly. It was never a threat to ASL, the intent behind the invention of the system was not to replace ASL, but to facilitate the learning of an L2 language in printed form. Unfortunately, with the resurgance of an oral philosophy, CS's intent is being distorted and portrayed as a communication method. Knowing how a word is pronounced does not insure that one knows what it means. Comprehension of the message is the goal, not phonetic correctness of the reproduction of the words used to convey such a message.
 

jillio

New Member
Excellent....!!!!!
Can you send me a video showing the following message, ....
“Mitosis is nuclear division plus cytokinesis, and produces two identical daughter cells during prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.”

Because the student that came with the example was fluent in Cued Speech and ASL.....
And a sentence like that could be basic knowledge for the next exam!!!!
(See here.)

I do not have any interest in playing your games, cloggy. Let's just leave it to say that each word you have presented represents a concept, and therefore can be interpreted in a like concept in ASL, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, or any other language in which you care to interpret it. Interpreting into concept has a greater likelihood of increasing comprehension than does simply providing phonetic cues for words of which one ha no conceptual understanding. Comprehension of the messange is the goal, not phonetic replication....unless of course you are training a parrot. But I assume we are talking about people.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Excellent....!!!!!
Can you send me a video showing the following message, ....
“Mitosis is nuclear division plus cytokinesis, and produces two identical daughter cells during prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.”

Because the student that came with the example is fluent in Cued Speech and ASL.....
And a sentence like that could be basic knowledge for the next exam!!!!
(See here.)

and???
 
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