American Sign Language (ASL)

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Deaf Culture (Study Guide)


Update:  Fall 2018: This top section is an update to the Deaf Culture Study guide. I will leave the older version below for those teachers who have tests based on the older version.



For a ".doc" version of this study guide, see: https:\\Lifeprint.com\asl101\curriculum\deaf-culture-and-terminology.doc

 

Deaf Culture and Terminology (Study Guide)

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE

American Sign Language (ASL) ASL is a visually perceived language based on a naturally evolved system of articulated hand gestures and their placement relative to the body, along with non-manual markers such as facial expressions, head movements, shoulder raises, mouth morphemes, and movements of the body.

Classifiers are signs that are used to represent general categories or "classes" of things. They can be used to describe the size and shape of an object (or person). They can be used to represent the object itself, or the way the object moves or relates to other objects (or people). Another definition is: "A set of handshapes that represent classes of things that share similar characteristics."

Directionality, also called verb agreement or indicating verbs: Directionality is characterized by a movement of the sign that indications the subject and object of the verb. For example: she-SHOW-me. "She" is the subject, SHOW is the verb, and "me is the object. This concept is signed with one sign using one movement, instead of three separate signs. Some sources refer to these verbs as "inflecting verbs."

Dominant Hand: You fingerspell and sign primarily with your dominant hand. If you write with your left hand, then your dominant hand should be your left. If you write with your right hand, your dominant hand should be your right. If you are ambidextrous, then it is best to pick one hand to be your dominant hand and stick with it. Left-handed people tend to sign a mirror image of right handed signers. One handed signs use the dominant hand.

Fingerspelling is also sometimes called "The American Manual Alphabet." It consists of 22 handshapes that when held in certain positions and/or are produced with certain movements-- represent the 26 letters of the American alphabet.

Glossing: Gloss is a written or typed approximation of (or notes regarding) another language. ASL gloss is a written or typed approximation of ASL typically using English words as “labels” for each sign along with various grammatical notes.

Handedness is the tendency to use the hand that feels the most natural for the task. This is your dominant hand.

Indexing is when you point your index finger at a person who is or isn’t in the signing area. If the person is in the room, you point directly at the person. This is called present referent. If the person is not in the room, you point to a space in front of you to represent that person. This is called absent referent.

Lexicalized fingerspelling is fingerspelling that has changed over time to take on the characteristics of a sign. A lexicalized fingerspelled word tends to look like and be expressed as a single sign rather than a collection of fingerspelled letters. Some ASL books or articles indicate lexicalized fingerspelling by putting a # symbol in front of the letters. For example: #ALL. Regular fingerspelling is glossed by placing dashes between the letters. For example, C-A-T.

Non-dominant hand: If you are right-handed then your left hand is your non-dominant hand. If you are left-handed then your right-hand is your non-dominant hand. Sometimes the non-dominant hand is referred to as the "supporting hand or the base hand." Some textbooks or articles use the letters "nd" to refer to the non-dominant hand.

Non-Manual Markers (NMM): Non-manual markers are facial expressions or body movements that are used to inflect or modify signs. We use NMM's to change, influence, or emphasize the meaning of a sign or signed phrase. For example, when asking a question that can be answered with a "yes" or "no" you raise your eyebrows a bit and tilt your head forward slightly.

Sign Parameters: Signs are composed of parts we call parameters. The five most commonly discussed parameters of signs are: handshape, location, movement, palm orientation, and non-manual markers.

Switching Hand dominancy: Random switching of hand dominancy can be visually disconcerting. Stick with the same hand has your dominant hand.

Signed languages: While ASL is used around the world in various countries, it is most definitely not universal. Each country has their own signed language or languages. For example, England uses British Sign Language, Mexico uses Mexican Sign Language, France uses French Sign Language and so forth.

International Sign is a highly visual / gestural hybrid of various signed languages that is used as type of "contact" or intermediary language commonly signed when users of different signed languages come into contact with each other at international events such as the Deaflympics or the World Federation of the Deaf congress.

 

COMMUNICATION PHILOSOPHIES & TECHNIQUES

American Sign Language is the language of choice of Culturally Deaf people in the United States, much of Canada, and a number of other areas in the world.

Code-Switching: When a person who knows more than one language intentionally switches to another language or way of expressing themselves. For example, if two Deaf people are signing in ASL and are joined by a Hearing signer they may switch to a form of signing that is easier for the Hearing person to understand.

Contact signing: When Deaf and hearing individuals come into contact they typically adjust their signing such that it becomes a "middle ground" between Signed English and ASL. Contact signing typically follows English word order while using ASL signs. Previously contact signing was referred to as Pidgin Signed English (PSE).

Cued Speech is an approach to speech reading that makes use of eight handshapes held in four different positions that are used as "cues" to assist in determining what is being said.

Lipreading or speech reading: The practice of reading speech on the lips. Comprehension rate is typically very low but will vary widely depending on many factors including individual skill, familiarity of the subject matter and the speaker, residual hearing, the environment, shouting, accents, regional dialects, mustaches, beards, gum, cigarettes, cigars, lack of teeth, drunkenness, and any number of other issues. It is myth that all Deaf people can lipread.

Manually Coded English is an umbrella term that includes various signing systems designed to portray English on the hands. These various systems can be lumped under the term MCE, or Manual English, or "Signed English."

Oral / Oralism refers to a philosophy of encouraging (forcing) Deaf to speak and read lips rather than use sign language.

Pidgin Signed English (PSE), also known as Contact Signing, typically consists of using basic ASL signs in English word order.

Signing Exact English or Signed Exact English (SEE) is a signed system was developed in 1971 to represent English on the hands with the intent to assist deaf children in the acquisition of English.

Simultaneous Communication or Sim-Com is when you sign and voice at the same time. Signing and voicing at the same time is frowned upon by many Deaf academics and Deaf community leaders. However, many Deaf individuals "do" use sim-com quite a bit -- especially when in mixed Deaf/Hearing environments.

Total Communication (TC) is a philosophy of Deaf Education that advocates using signing, voicing, writing, and other methods of communication.

Voicing: Some deaf people never voice. Others voice as well as a typical Hearing person. Others engage in "selective voicing." One place you will sometimes see such Deaf people using voice is with their kids. In the home parents often need to get their kids attention and voicing is an easy way to do it. Also the children get used to the voice and can understand it just fine. Deaf are much less likely to voice to a Hearing stranger. With our kids we feel comfortable, but with strangers we feel very cautious (as any oppressed group would). We don't tend to voice when we are talking with another Deaf person. Why voice to other Deaf? Another reason for not voicing and signing is we can't use voicing and ASL grammar at the same time. (See Simcom). It is generally not appropriate to ask a Deaf person if they can voice.

DEAF TENDENCIES

Attention getting techniques: We tend to try to catch an individual’s attention by waving our hand or asking someone standing next to that person to get his attention for us. For larger groups of Deaf people, we’ll flip the light switch on and off. If the floor is wooden, we’ll stomp our feet on the floor to get people’s attention.

Carpal Tunnel (CT): A syndrome involving numbness and/or pain in the wrists. This is a common problem affecting interpreters for the Deaf and many Deaf people.

Correcting a Deaf person’s signing: A Hearing person should not correct a Deaf person’s signing. This is a taboo practice and will often be regarded as a personal slight or insult. A Deaf person, however, may correct a Hearing person’s signing, regardless if the Hearing person is new or has been signing for a long time. (Get over it. It's cultural.)

Deaf Standard Time: Many Deaf tend to show up late and tend to leave late. An exception to this rule is when good seating is at a premium. For example, Deaf college students may show up early to ensure that they get a satisfactory seat. Deaf church goers tend to show up early to make sure they get the front pews (if it is an interpreted session).

Deaf Tendencies, also known as "Deaf Bing," ("bing" is not a typo - it is a mouth movement that often accompanies the sign "TEND-to.") These are social and behavioral norms within the Deaf community.

Eye contact: Not looking at the person who is signing to you is considered rude. You are expected to look at the person when he/she signs to you.

Hand Grabbing: It is common for Deaf people to grab the hands of new signers to correct their signing. However, Hearing people should be careful to avoid restraining the hands of Deaf people. For example, police officers should not handcuff a Deaf person's hands behind their back.

Hugs: Deaf people tend to hug more than Hearing (American) people.

Lighting: Lighting and the ability to see each other are very important to Deaf people. One of the reasons Deaf people often prefer to hang out in the kitchen is because the lighting is better.

Long Good-byes: Deaf leave-taking (good-byes) tend to be extended (take a long time).

Meeting new people: Upon meeting for the first time, Deaf people tend to exchange detailed biographical information and describe our social circles in considerable depth.

Progeny: Many Deaf couples hope for a deaf baby and are disappointed if their child is born hearing.

Removing visual barriers: Visual obstructions such as table decorations, vases, and condiments are typically removed or pushed off to the side.

Seating arrangements: Deaf couples prefer to sit across from each other in restaurants, rather than side by side. In larger gatherings, Deaf prefer to sit in a circle where everybody can see each other.

Stay Deaf: Many, if not most, Culturally Deaf people if given the chance to become able to hear -- would choose to remain deaf.

Storytelling: The ability to skillfully tell a story is highly valued in Deaf Culture.

Walking through Signed Conversations: If two people are standing in the hallway conversing in ASL and another person needs to pass through, the person should not call attention to themself by asking to be excused. Instead, the person should continue walking at a steady pace to minimize the distraction.

 

DEAF COMMUNITY

Audism refers to the mindset that the ability to hear makes one superior to those who do not hear. Audism is typically manifested in the attitudes and behaviors of those that subscribe to the pathological model that deafness is a negative attribute, a flaw.

CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adult. In the Deaf world, a hearing child of Deaf parents is referred to as a Coda. Codas are generally considered to make the best interpreters because of their familiarity with ASL and Deaf Culture.

Cultural Model: People who feel that Deafness is about language and culture subscribe to the "cultural" view of Deafness.

Culturally Deaf: In general, we do not need to add the word "culturally" to the uppercase word "Deaf." The phrase "culturally Deaf" is redundant because the uppercase spelling of the term "Deaf" already includes the concept of "culture." See Deaf with a Capital “D”

Culture: Deaf Culture consists of the norms, beliefs, values, and mores shared by members of the Deaf Community.

Deaf and Dumb: You should drop the word dumb and just use the word "Deaf." Dumb is an outdated term and is considered offensive in the Deaf community.

Deaf Community: The community of Deaf people throughout the world who use sign language and share in Deaf culture.

Deaf Gain is a mindset where one regards or focuses on being Deaf as an advantage. An example of Deaf gain is being able to sleep even though the neighbor’s dogs have been barking all night.

Deaf Plus refers to Deaf people who are also disabled or have secondary conditions. For example a Deaf person who also has cerebral palsy.

Deaf pride is the sense of pride exhibited by Deaf people in their cultural identity.

Deaf Space is usually an area that has been claimed or designated by the Deaf as a place where Deaf can intermingle without communication barriers.  In the Deaf space, there is no voicing.  The area is well lit and the sitting is ideal for Deaf conversation.

Deaf with a Capital "D" refers to being culturally Deaf. A Deaf person is someone who embraces the cultural norms and values of the Deaf Community.

deaf with a lowercase "d" refers to being physically deaf, (not culturally Deaf). Physical "deafness" refers to a level of hearing below which a person is unlikely to understand speech for everyday communication purposes. For example, a person's hearing is not sufficient use the phone.

Deaf-Blind or DeafBlind: The term can be spelled without a hyphen to indicate that a person is culturally Deaf as well as blind (as opposed to being merely physically deaf as well as blind). For example, a DeafBlind person will tend to use tactile signing. This is evolving terminology and one should always defer to the preferences of the DeafBlind community.

Deaf-mute is an outdated term and is generally considered offensive in the Deaf community.  Instead, just use the term Deaf.  The word "mute" by itself when referring to someone who in fact cannot speak – is not offensive.  What is offensive is the assumption that all Deaf are unable to speak.  That is not true. Many do.  Also, some Deaf factions have sought to reclaim the word "mute."  

Disability Status: Deaf people do not view ourselves as a disability group. Instead we see ourselves as a linguistic and cultural minority. We are an ethnic group with a shared culture and bonded together by a common language. This doesn't mean that there aren't physically deaf people in the U.S. who consider themselves disabled. There are indeed many such individuals--but they are generally not fluent in ASL, did not attend a state residential school for the Deaf, are not married to a Deaf person, did not attend Gallaudet or a university with a strong Deaf program, and cannot realistically be considered culturally Deaf, therefore they are not members of the cultural "Deaf Community."

Hard of Hearing (HoH) refers to people who have some hearing loss but can generally use the phone with amplification and can understand spoken speech depending on a number of factors including: distance, volume, facial hair, lighting, familiarity with topic, situational cues, accents, and noise. Thus the environment has a big impact on whether a HoH functions as a hearing person or a Deaf person.

Hearing Impaired is an outdated term and is one that is shunned in the Deaf community. We refer to ourselves as "Deaf." When referring to all people with a hearing loss we tend to use the phrase, "Deaf and hard of hearing." Sample of outdated usage: The Regional Center for the Hearing Impaired." A sample of a current, appropriate usage: "The Regional Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." While at one time the phrase "hearing impaired" was considered to be politically correct, it was an external label applied to Deaf people by Hearing people.

Hearing Privilege refers the privileges and advantages afforded to the Hearing because they can hear and speak -- privileges that are not readily available to the Deaf.

Hearing: (Hearing People or Hearies): Non-Deaf people. Specifically people who can hear and are unfamiliar with Deaf Culture, (but can include all hearing people).

Late Deafened Adults (LDA) refers to individuals who have lost their hearing later in life. If a person grew up outside of the Deaf community and lost their hearing near or during adulthood, they are generally considered LDAs.

NERDA stands for Not Even Related to a Deaf Adult. This is a comical reference to Hearing people who don't have ties to the Deaf World.

Pathological or Medical model: People who feel that being deaf is problem to be solved subscribe to the "pathological view" or the "medical model" of deafness.

Phrase: "Deaf People Can Do Anything Except Hear." This is a popular phrase in the Deaf world. Note: Actually, the reality is that there are many varying degrees of residual hearing amongst culturally Deaf people—from "profoundly" deaf, to hard of hearing. This is similar to the way Blind people have varying degrees of sight. Some see no light at all, but many can see "quite a bit" or even read—particularly with magnification. It could be argued that some people with "normal" hearing are culturally Deaf by virtue of having Deaf parents and having grown up in the Deaf community.

Tactile signing is used by the DeafBlind to converse in ASL. The receiver places a hand (or hands) on the signer's hand (or hands) and follows the movements of the signer. (Note: DeafBlind has various spellings but the spelling doesn't use a hyphen seems to be increasingly favored by DeafBlind individuals. You will see it with or without a hyphen. Always strive to defer to individual preferences.)

Uppercase Deaf / Lowercase deaf: Standard American print media sources tend to lowercase the word deaf. However, in the Deaf World many authors typically use the lowercase spelling to refer to physical deafness and use the uppercase spelling to refer to someone who has internalized the language, beliefs, values, traditions, attitudes, manners, and ways of the Deaf community.

View of Deafness—Cultural: Deaf people don't consider themselves to have a disease or problem that must be cured in order to have a good life. For example, an ASL teacher took a sign class to visit a Deaf party. Some of the students sat with the instructor in the Deaf circle. The instructor asked each Deaf person in turn if they would like to become hearing: "Suppose a magic pill could be taken and you would wake up the next morning 'Hearing' – would you do take the pill?" Each Deaf person responded (via signing) NO! The students were shocked. The teacher explained in class the next day that Deaf people do not consider our condition pathological. To the Deaf, our deafness is cultural. We do not see our condition as "deafness" but rather "Deafhood."

Deafhood: The personal journey each Deaf person goes through as they develop their own Deaf identity and/or their personal view of what it means to be Deaf.

View of Deafness—Pathological: Pathology (in general) is the study of disease. The pathological view of deafness is held by those people (typically in the medical profession) who view being deaf as a physical ailment or pathological condition that needs to be cured in order for the individual to enjoy a higher quality of life. This is opposite the "cultural view of Deafness."

 

EDUCATION

Bilingual/Bicultural or BiBi: This is a philosophy of embracing two languages and cultures. In terms of Deaf education, the BiBi approach uses ASL as the student’s native language you use a student's native language as well as the target language. You also make instructional choices that respect your student's cultural background as well as the mainstream culture.

Deaf Day School: Also known as Sign Day School, Deaf Day Program, Deaf Program, or Deaf Regional Schools. Students attend school during the day and then go home after school. The education is delivered via American Sign Language or other signed systems, such as SEE.

Deaf School or School for the Deaf: A Deaf-School is typically considered to be a state-run residential education institution. Students live there during the week and go home on the weekends or holidays. State residential schools for the Deaf are important institutions in the Deaf community. This is different from a "Deaf program" or a "day program" where students do not live on campus. American Sign Language is used, more often than not, in Deaf schools. Attending a Deaf school is a source of pride for many Deaf and is a place where many form life-long bonds with their classmates, teachers, and cottage parents.

Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. is a liberal arts college for Deaf and hard of hearing students and is held in very high regard by culturally Deaf people.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) is located in Rochester New York and is a popular choice for Deaf students.

Mainstreaming: The placement of Deaf or hard of hearing students into a public school, (often with an interpreter or other accommodations).

Oral Schools: Schools that focus entirely on auditory and oral skills—no signing allowed whatsoever.

Hearing school: The term "Hearing School" refers to any typical public school. In ASL we sign "HEARING"-culturally SCHOOL to mean "public school." A "Hearing School" is one at which the main mode of communication is "speaking."

HISTORICAL EVENTS

Milan Conference: The Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf, also known as the Milan Conference, was the first international conference comprised of Deaf educators. It took place in September of 1880 in Milan, Italy. One unfortunate outcome of this conference was the passage of a resolution banning the use of sign language as a method of educating the Deaf.

Deaf President Now (DPN) was both a campus protest and an international Deaf movement. It took place the week of March 6, 1988 at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Elizabeth Zinser, a hearing woman, had been newly elected president of Gallaudet University. The students and international Deaf Community demanded and received a Deaf president: I. King Jordan.

 

INTERPRETING

Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) or Deaf Interpreters are Deaf or hard of hearing individuals who are interpreters for the Deaf and work as part of a team of interpreters. CDIs are especially effective when interpreting for a Deaf consumer who has minimal language skills or use signs that are unfamiliar to the Hearing interpreter.

Interpreter for the Deaf or Interpreter: In the Deaf Community we tend to refer to individuals who interpret as "interpreters" or even "terps" (but not "translators"). Also, interpreter is spelled with "er" not "or." In ASL class discussions, the phrase "interpret" means to go from spoken English to ASL or from ASL to spoken English.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) refers to an interpreting service that is provided to remote locations, or locations where a live interpreter is not readily accessible. An interpreter will show up on a computer screen or tablet viewed by the Deaf consumer. The hearing person, who is in same room as the Deaf consumer, will talk -- and the interpreter interprets remotely.

RID stands for Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. The RID is the world's largest association of interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The RID conducts and promotes certification of interpreters for the Deaf. See www.RID.org.

IPP/ITP/IEP/etc.: There are many acronyms used in the Deaf Community to refer to programs that prepare participants to interpret for the Deaf: Interpreter Preparation Program, Interpreter Training Program, Interpreter Education Program, etc.

LAWS

Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an agreement developed by a team of educators, caregivers, parents, and others to establish educational goals for students with special needs. An IEP can stipulate the provision of additional services for students such as speech therapy, an interpreter, or other accommodations. Deaf students enrolled in K-12 are generally entitled to an IEP.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is a Federal requirement that seeks to respond to the question "What education environment is "least restrictive" (for a child with a disability)?" Unfortunately many Hearing parents and administrators feel that mainstreaming is the LRE whereas most culturally Deaf individuals and organizations believe that a residential school for the Deaf is the LRE. There are many options in-between—for example, a local school with an interpreter, a day program, an inclusive charter school, or some other education environment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that came into effect in 1990, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, and ensures equal access for all, such as transportation, housing, employment, education, telecommunication, medical services and businesses. https://adata.org/learn-about-ada

The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords, condominium management companies, and homeowners’ associations from discrimination based on disability. No one may refuse to rent or sell housing, or make housing unavailable, or set different rules or conditions for the sale or rental or use of housing, because of disability

The Individual with Disabilities Act, also known as Public Law 94-142 was passed in 1975. It is a federal law that requires states and school districts to ensure that children will receive a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 includes a section requiring that the disabled be given access and equal opportunity to use the resources of organizations that receive federal funds or that are under federal contracts

NOTABLE HISTORICAL FIGURES

Clerc, Laurent: Laurent Clerc was born south of Lyons, France, in 1785. He became deaf due to an accident when he was very young. He enrolled at age 12 at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris and graduated eight years later and became a tutor for the Institute. He journeyed to America at the request of Thomas H. Gallaudet in 1817 and helped establish the first American school for the Deaf. He retired at age 73.

Bell, Alexander Graham: Alexander Graham Bell is often referred to as AGB in the Deaf community. In general, AGB has been held in low esteem, (to put it mildly), by many in the Deaf community because of his efforts to suppress the use of sign language in favor of oralism.

Gallaudet, Edward Minor: The youngest Son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Dr. Edward Miner Gallaudet was the founder and the first president of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and the Dumb (Renamed Gallaudet College in 1893 and renamed again in 1986, Gallaudet University upon receiving university status) in 1857 in Washington, D.C. He served as a president from 1864 to 1910. (Source: Gallaudet.com)

Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins: Born December 10, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He entered Yale University at age 14. He graduated from Yale first in his class three years later, and decided to join the ministry. Reverend Gallaudet met Dr. Mason Cogswell and his Deaf daughter Alice. Dr. Cogswell persuaded Mr. Gallaudet to travel to England to study their methods of teaching Deaf students. There Gallaudet met a Deaf educator, Laurent Clerc, and convinced him to come back to America and help establish the first American school for the Deaf.

ORGANIZATIONS:

ASDC stands for American Society for Deaf Children. This organization was set up in 1967 and has chapters all over the U.S. Their purpose is to provide support, encouragement, and information to families raising children who are Deaf or hard of hearing. (For more information, see: http://www.deafchildren.org)

ASLTA stands for American Sign Language Teachers Association. It is a national organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching of ASL and Deaf Studies. (For more information, see: http://aslta.org/)

Deaflympics is an international multi-sport event sanctioned by the International Olympic committee. At this event, deaf athletes compete at the highest level.

Deaf centers are usually a non-profit community based organization that provides a variety of services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the community. The type of services that they provide may vary from location to location. Most provide assistance with information and referral, document translation, counseling services, employment assistance, independent living skills, advocacy services, and communication education.

Deaf Summer Camps provide an opportunity for Deaf and hard of hearing youth to gather together for a week or weekend of interaction with each other and with older Deaf role models. Campers often develop life-long friendships while learning more about their world and community.

D-PAN: Deaf Professional Arts Network is a nonprofit organization that was originally founded to make music and music videos accessible to the Deaf and hard of hearing. D-PAN produces American Sign Language music videos, translating the lyrics of public songs into ASL.

Jr. NAD stands for Junior National Association of the Deaf. This is the youth division of the National Association of the Deaf

NAD stands for National Association of the Deaf the world's oldest Deaf advocacy organization. See www.nad.org

NCI stands for National Captioning Institute. The NCI was established in 1979 as a nonprofit corporation with the mission of ensuring that Deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as others who can benefit from the service, have access to television's entertainment and news through the technology of closed captioning.

NTD: National Theater of the Deaf is touring theater group composed of Deaf and hearing actors who entertain audiences worldwide through music, sign language, and the spoken word.

State Associations of the Deaf are generally nonprofit organizations that receive funding from the general membership dues. They are typically run by a board of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals for the purpose of advocating for the educational and civil rights of the state's Deaf and hard of hearing population. Associations strive to improve the quality and standard of living of Deaf people including promoting better public services, dealing with legislative issues, and fostering a positive image of the Deaf community.

Vocational rehabilitation is an important government agency because it helps provide training and employment assistance to many Deaf people (as well as others who have one or more conditions that limit).

RELAY SERVICES

Relay Services: A relay service allows hearing people to call deaf, and vice versa. A communication assistant (CA) answers your call then relay information back and forth between you and a deaf. There are several types

Text relay: The Deaf consumer communicates to the communication assistant (relay operator) via text who then relays the information to the hearing consumer on the phone.

Video Relay: The Deaf consumer communicates in ASL to the communication assistant (relay operator) through video who then relays the information to the hearing consumer on the phone.

Voice Carry Over is an option provided by relay services that allow the deaf consumer to voice for himself but receive the message in text or ASL, depending on the type of service used.

TECHNOLOGY, ASSISTIVE DEVICES

Alert systems: There are a wide number of alert systems, such as fire alarm, alarm clocks, baby monitors, and door bells. Deaf alarm clocks have strobe lights or vibrate and can be tucked under your pillow or under the mattress. Fire alarms are strobe light devices that are attached to the wall. Doorbells are connected to lights in the house. It can be a strobe light or it can be a small flickering light. Baby monitors also use strobe lights, but there are also video monitors that allow parents to keep an eye on their child from a distance.

Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are surgically implanted into a person’s cochlea to simulate hearing.

Hearing aids are small devices that fit in, on, or around the ear and are designed to amplify sound. Hearing aids tend to become ineffective in noisy environments.

Social Media apps have been a great boon for the Deaf community. Deaf from all over have convened together in group chats, created groups where people can get together and chat about various topics. Facebook and Instagram are some early examples of popular social media platforms for the Deaf.

TTY / TDD stands for "teletype" or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. These days it means the same thing as a TTY. In the old days, a TTY was a huge clunker that required a wheelbarrow to move around. TTY's shrank in size and people began calling them TDDs or even Text Telephones but the Deaf Community continues to refer to the devices as TTYs. Texting has all but eliminated the use of TTYs.

Video calling apps allows Deaf to call up other Deaf or others who use ASL and converse face to face via video. Examples of such apps are, but not limited to, FaceTime, Skype, and Glide

Vlogs: Video blogs are very popular in the Deaf community. Vlogs are ideal because ASL is a visual language and is a much better platform for many in the Deaf community.

CAPTIONING

Caption Glasses are special glasses that one wears at a movie theater to access the closed captioning. Closed caption "stands" refer to a captioning device that is placed in the cup holder. It is a small screen that is attached to a flexible pole and the base is inserted into the cup holder.

Closed Captioning refers to captions, text, or subtitles that are embedded (hidden) in a video signal and can be turned on or off (displayed on demand). In the past these captions used to require a special decoder device to be seen. In the "old days" this decoder was a box that sat on top of your TV. Now the decoder is commonly included in TV circuitry and is not a separate device. These captions are turned on or off using your TV' or video player's configuration menu. Internet-based streaming video players (if they support captioning) tend to have a symbol or button labeled "CC" that can be used to turn captioning on or off.

Computer Aided RealTime captioning (CART) is a service commonly used by those who are Deaf and hard of hearing, but are not fluent in ASL. The captioner often is in the same room as the Deaf consumer (although not always). The Deaf consumer will read the captioning on a computer screen.

Open captions are subtitles that are embedded in the video (not on a separate track) and cannot be turned off.
 

End of the newer version of the study guide.
Below is the older version. It contains some terms that are not relevant for contemporary ASL and Deaf Studies students.


The ASL University "Deaf Culture Study Guide"

Notes:

Evolution of terminology:  Terminology changes over time with varying levels of acceptance from different factions of society at any one time. As of the time of this writing (early 21st century) the word Deaf has been accepted by the culturally Deaf community and major organizations representing Deaf people (such as the National Association of the Deaf and the World Federation of the Deaf) as an acceptable and proper term to use when discussing Deaf people. An example of terminology evolution can be found in the commonly thought of meaning the abbreviation: VR. During the 1980's through early 2000's many Deaf people associated those letters with the term "vocational rehabilitation."  Then over time people started associating the letters with the term "video relay" (as in a video-based interpreting service relaying information between Deaf and Hearing users of the service).

Capitalization: Some people feel the word Deaf should always be capitalized for ethnic reasons. (The term "ethnic" refers to the classification of large groups of people according to shared cultural, linguistic, racial, tribal, religious, or national origins or backgrounds.)  Other people prefer to use the capitalized word "Deaf" when referring to being culturally Deaf and use the lowercase word "deaf" to refer to the physical condition of being deaf.  If you are a student in a Deaf Studies program you should check with your instructor regarding preferred local writing "style guidelines" at your school.  If you are a student and your local teacher prefers you to always capitalize the word Deaf then you should respect your instructor and follow his/her wishes.  If you are submitting a paper for inclusion in an academic journal then you should follow the submission guidelines for that journal and/or include in your article an early discussion of terminology and capitalization and your reasons for your capitalization choices. This study guide in general uses the lowercase word "deaf" to refer to the physical condition of "not hearing." This guide also strives to use the uppercase word Deaf to refer to Deaf people, culture, and organizations.  Please don't get hung up on a typo or a "yet to be updated not-yet-capitalized" use of the word "deaf" in this guide or website.  Focus on understanding the concepts not worrying about the typos.

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Capital "D" Deaf:  Refers to being culturally Deaf.  Embracing the cultural norms and values of the Deaf Community. 

Captions: Captions or captioning refers to the use of subtitles on movies or videos to convey via text the voiced information or sounds that are happening in video. "Close captioning" (which is often abbreviated to "CC") refers to captioning that is normally not visible during regular viewing but can be turned on via a close caption decoder, chip, or software which can read the signal or file containing the captioning.  The phrase "open captioned" is the equivalent of "subtitled" and doesn't need to be "turned on" since it is made part of the viewable video (and can't be "closed" or "turned off").

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing:  The phrase "Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing" is an inclusive version of the term "Deaf." Many modern agencies and authors use the phrase "Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing" as an appropriate and acceptable way to refer to the spectrum of individuals they serve or about whom they write. It is a much better phrase than "The Deaf and Hearing Impaired."  The term "hearing impaired" is considered offensive by many Deaf people.  Also, technically, d/Deaf people "are" "hearing impaired" so the phrase "The Deaf and Hearing Impaired" is redundant.  Think of the phrase "Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing" and the term "Deaf" as looking through a microscope if you look under high power you see the distinctions. When you look at the Deaf Community closely you notice, "Oh, there are some (HH) who can voice and have enough residual hearing to make use of hearing-aids to communicate directly (albeit with difficulty) with Hearing people (either in person or on the phone) -- and there are others (Deaf) in the community who don't voice, don't wear hearing aids, and communicate with Hearing people only via writing, in-person interpreters, video-relay interpreters, or (if the Hearing person knows sign) sign language.  However, if you pull your microscope back a bit and take a broader view, you see they are all part of the "Deaf Community" and thus are all "Deaf."  That is why many HH people label and or think of themselves as "Deaf" in general and "Deaf/hh" in specific. 

Deaf Community:  In general, the "Deaf Community" consists of those Deaf people throughout the world who use sign language and share in Deaf culture.

Deaf Culture:  Deaf Culture consists of the norms, beliefs, values, and "mores" shared by members of the Deaf Community. [The word "mores" is pronounced "mawrays" and is a noun that means "the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community. "Mores" include the customs, conventions, ways, way of life, traditions, practices, and habits of a people. - (Google Definitions)]

Deaf School: Generally refers to state-run residential schools for the Deaf.  Culturally Deaf adults who attended a Deaf School are proud of that fact.

Deaf School:  A "Deaf School" is a state-run residential education institution. State residential schools for the Deaf are important institutions in the Deaf community.  A "Deaf School" specifically refers to a state residential school. This is different from a "Deaf program" or a "day program" where students do not live on campus.

Deaf World / Deaf Community:  The phrases "Deaf World" and "Deaf Community" overlap quite a bit in typical real world usage but some distinctions are possible: The Deaf World includes all Deaf people as well as their families, friends, allies, employers, interpreters, teachers, priests, audiologists, and others with ties to the Deaf Community. The Deaf Community is made up of individuals that use sign language and are focused on living their lives rather than trying to change their status and live in the Hearing World.  Thus a preacher or parent who learns sign language might be a part of the Deaf Community but a cochlear implant doctor is not.  An interpreter who goes to Deaf events, has Deaf friends, and supports Deaf causes is a part of the Deaf Community.  But an interpreter who simply goes to a day job where they interpret for one Deaf client and then goes home and has little or no additional contact with Deaf people -- is not a member of the Deaf Community.  

Deaf/hh:  Culturally Deaf people who are able to use hearing aids, speechread, and talk with their voice may choose to label themselves as Deaf in general and hard-of-hearing in specific so as to not overstate their status.  For example, sometimes during introductions or explanations a person will sign, "I/me DEAF" and then will add the sign for "hard-of-hearing" immediately afterward as a way of stating that he/she is considers himself to be Deaf but with the caveat that he/she can hear to some extent.

Deaf: Culturally Deaf people prefer to be called Deaf. 

Deafness:  The term "deafness" is still quite common in blogs and writings -- even by Deaf people who are active in the Deaf Community. However you should know that there are growing numbers of people within Deaf Community that strive to avoid using the word "deafness" in their writing and communication because it has traditionally been a label applied to Deaf people by Hearing people in the context of "disability." Many Deaf consider the term "deafness" to embody primarily negative aspects of being Deaf.  Conversely, when discussing ourselves, our personal journeys, our level of self-acceptance, and our progress toward self-actualization as a person who is Deaf we often use the term "Deafhood."  Please realize that while many people still use the term "deafness" and you will still often see it online and in older writings this is a situation of language evolution away from one term and toward another. The term "deafness" has its uses and may persist indefinitely but you should at least be aware that "some" bloggers and activists are actively denouncing the term.

Disability Group:  In general, culturally Deaf people do not view themselves as being disabled nor belonging to a "disability group."  Instead we see ourselves as a linguistic and cultural minority.  We are an ethnic group with a shared culture and bonded together by a common language.   That doesn't mean that there aren't physically deaf people in the U.S. who consider themselves disabled. There are indeed many such individuals, but they are generally not fluent in ASL, did not attend state residential schools for the Deaf, are not married to a Deaf person, did not attend Gallaudet University (or a university with a strong Deaf program), and cannot realistically be considered culturally Deaf – and therefore are not members of the cultural "Deaf Community." 

Dominant Hand: The hand you do most of your signing with.

DPN: Deaf President Now.  DPN was both a campus protest and an international Deaf movement that took place the week of March 6, 1988 at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C.. Elizabeth Zinser, a hearing woman, had been newly elected president of Gallaudent University.  The students and international Deaf Community protested and demanded a Deaf president be appointed instead. This resulted in I. King Jordan, a Deaf man, becoming president of Gallaudet University.

Fingerspelling:  Fingerspelling (in ASL) consists of 22 handshapes that—when held in certain positions and/or are produced with certain movements—represent the 26 letters of the American alphabet.  Fingerspelling is also sometimes called "The Manual Alphabet." 

Font, ASL: There are type fonts that resemble fingerspelling. A popular fingerspelling font is called "Gallaudet (TrueType)" and is available for download for free from the net.

 GA: means Go Ahead. This is an abbreviation commonly used while typing on a TTY (teletype).  It means you are done with your turn and it is the other person's turn to go ahead and type.

Gallaudet, Edward Miner:  The youngest Son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Dr. Edward Miner Gallaudet was the founder and the first president of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and the Dumb (Renamed Gallaudet College in 1893 and renamed again in 1986, Gallaudet University upon receiving university status) in 1857 in Washington, D.C. He served as a president from 1864 to 1910.  (Source: Gallaudet.edu)

Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins: Born December 10, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He entered Yale University at age 14. He graduated from Yale first in his class three years later, and decided to join the ministry.  Reverend Gallaudet met Dr. Mason Cogswell and his Deaf daughter Alice.  Dr. Cogswell persuaded Mr. Gallaudet to travel to England to study their methods of teaching Deaf students. There Gallaudet met a Deaf educator, Laurent Clerc, and convinced him to come back to America and help establish the first American school for the Deaf.

Handedness:  Left-handed people sign left-hand dominant--a mirror image of right handed signers. Left-handed people also fingerspell with their left hand.

Hard-of-Hearing:  The phrase "hard-of-hearing" refers to people who have some degree of hearing loss but who can still function in the hearing world. Some hard-of-hearing people choose to learn sign language, form relationships with other Deaf, join Deaf organizations, attend Deaf events, embrace their Deafhood, and call themselves Deaf.  It is acceptable for culturally Deaf hard-of-hearing individuals to simply refer to themselves as Deaf. 

Hearing Impaired:  The term "Hearing Impaired" is not used by Deaf people to describe ourselves.  We refer to ourselves as being Deaf.  When referring to all people with a hearing loss we tend to use the phrase, "Deaf and hard of hearing." Sample of outdated usage:  The Regional Center for the Hearing Impaired."  A sample of a current, appropriate usage:  The Regional Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing."  While at one time the phrase "hearing impaired" was considered to be politically correct, it was an external label applied to Deaf people by Hearing people.  The phase Hearing Impaired was never embraced by the Deaf Community.

Hearing Person:  A person who can hear and has the mindset of a person who can hear is a referred to as "Hearing person." The term "Hearing" can be capitalized to refer to being a member of the "Hearing" culture but many writers do not capitalize it. 

Hearing School:  A "hearing school" generally refers to a public (or private) school that is mainly attended by children who can hear and taught by educators who use speech.

Hearing School:  The term "Hearing School" refers to a typical public school. In the Deaf Community we sign "HEARING SCHOOL" to mean "public school." A "Hearing School" is one at which the main mode of communication is "speaking." 

Hearing:  (Hearing Person or Hearie): Non-Deaf people. The term "Hearing" is sometimes applied broadly to refer to all people who have the ability to hear. Within the Deaf Community the term "Hearing" often refers to people who have functional hearing, prefer to talk, and are generally unfamiliar with sign language and Deaf Culture.

HH:  Hard-of-hearing.  This is sometimes also written as HoH.  Hard-of-hearing people have some hearing loss but can generally use the phone with amplification and can generally understand spoken speech depending on a number of factors including: distance, volume, facial hair, lighting, familiarity with topic, situational cues, accents, and noise. Thus the environment has a big impact on whether a HH person functions as a Hearing person or a Deaf person. 

Hugs or hugging:  Deaf people tend to hug more than Hearing (American) people.

IEP:  Individualized Education Program.  Deaf children are entitled to an IEP.

Interpreter / Interpreter for the Deaf:  In the American Deaf Community the term "interpret" generally means to change spoken English into ASL or from ASL to spoken English. We generally refer to individuals who interpret between sign language and spoken language as "interpreters" (not "translators").  Note: "Interpreter" is spelled with an "er" at the end, (not an "or").  

Introductions and meeting new people:  Upon meeting for the first time, Deaf people tend to exchange detailed biographical information and describe our social circles in considerable depth.

ITP:  Interpreter Training Program.  IPP stands for Interpreter Preparation Program.

Jr. NAD:  Junior National Association of the Deaf. This is the youth division of the National Association of the Deaf

Just "Deaf": In the Deaf community you rarely see the phrase "Culturally Deaf."  Rather we use just "Deaf." We are Deaf. Some of us are stone deaf and can't hear an oncoming train (and have died because of it). Some of us have quite a bit of residual hearing and can talk to our mom on the phone (but would rather sign to her if she could sign).  It is a spectrum. Deaf people have varying levels of residual hearing.  What makes us Deaf isn't our level of residual hearing but rather our choice to be a part of the Deaf Community.  We do not need to add the word "culturally" to the uppercase word "Deaf."  The phrase "culturally Deaf" is redundant because the uppercase spelling of the term "Deaf" already includes the concept of "culture."  Sometimes we add the word "culturally" to specifically point out that we are not discussing being physically deaf.  There is (or was) a popular phrase in the Deaf world: "Deaf People Can Do Anything Except Hear."  Actually, that phrase is not reflective of reality. The reality is there are many varying degrees of residual hearing amongst culturally Deaf people. From "profoundly" deaf, to hard of hearing. This is similar to the way Blind people have varying degrees of sight. Some see no light at all, but many can see "quite a bit" (especially with glasses). You could even argue that some people with "normal" hearing are culturally Deaf by virtue of having Deaf parents and having grown up in the Deaf community. I've even visited a charter school where hearing children were taught alongside Deaf children by Deaf instructors using ASL.

Leave-taking:  Deaf leave taking tends to be extended.  In other words Deaf "good-byes" tend to take a long time.

Lighting:  Lighting and the ability to see each other is very important to Deaf people. One of the reasons Deaf people sometimes prefer to hang out in the kitchen is because the lighting is better.

Lowercase "d" deaf:  Refers to being physically deaf, (not culturally Deaf). Physical "deafness" refers to a level of hearing below which a person is unlikely to understand speech for everyday communication purposes. For example, a person's hearing is not sufficient use the phone.

LRE:  LRE stands for Least Restrictive Environment.  While most parents, educators, and administrators agree that it is good to educate a child in the least restrictive environment the question becomes: What education environment is "least restrictive" for a Deaf child?  A residential school for the Deaf, a local school with an interpreter, a day program, an inclusive charter school, or some other education environment.  Hearing administrators often feel that mainstreaming Deaf students into public schools provides "the least restrictive environment" but members of the U.S. Deaf Community generally consider residential Deaf schools to be the least restrictive environment. 

LSQ: Langue des Signes Québecois is a popular signed language used in Canada.  Many people in Canada also use ASL.

Mainstreaming:  In the Deaf World, "mainstreaming" refers to the placement of a Deaf student in a hearing school with or without an interpreter.

MCE: Manually Coded English.  There are several signing systems designed to portray English on the hands.  These various systems can be lumped under the terms MCE, Manual English, or Signed English.

Medical model:  People who feel that being deaf is a problem to be solved subscribe to the "medical model" of deafness. Also sometimes called "Pathological Model."

Movies, Deaf:  Movies focusing on or heavily involving Deaf Characters. For example: Bridge to Silence, Love is never Silent, Children of a Lesser God, and others.

NAD: National Association of the Deaf. The NAD is the world's oldest Deaf advocacy organization.  See www.nad.org

NCI: National Captioning Institute.  The NCI was established in 1979 as a nonprofit corporation with the mission of ensuring that Deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as others who can benefit from the service, have access to television's entertainment and news through the technology of closed captioning.

NERDA: Not Even Related to a Deaf Adult.  A comical reference to Hearing people who don't have ties to the Deaf World.

NFSD: The (former) National Fraternal Society of the Deaf.  Offered insurance as well as fraternal and community service activities for Deaf people.

NMM: Non-manual markers: Non-manual markers are facial expressions and body movements. Non-manual markers are used to inflect signs. That means to change, influence, or emphasize the meaning of a sign or signed phrase. For example, when asking a question that can be answered with a "yes" or "no" you raise your eyebrows a bit and tilt your head forward slightly.

NTD: National Theater of the Deaf.  The NTD is a touring theater group composed of Deaf and hearing actors who entertain audiences worldwide through music, sign language, and the spoken word.

NTID: National Technical Institute for the Deaf.  NTID is located in Rochester New York and is a popular choice for Deaf students.

Oral / Oralism: A philosophy of encouraging (forcing) Deaf to speak and read lips rather than use sign language.

PL 94-142: Public Law 94-142: Passed in 1975 PL 94-142 promoted a free and appropriate education for all children.

PSE: Pidgin Signed English. Now referred to as "contact signing." Contact signing is often used when Deaf and hearing individuals need to communicate. One way to describe it is as a "middle ground" between artificially invented signed English systems and ASL. PSE follows English word order while using ASL signs.

RID: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  The RID is the worlds largest association of interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The RID conducts and promotes certification of interpreters for the Deaf.  See www.RID.org. 

RSC: Reverse Skills Certificate.  This is a type of interpreter certification. This refers to the ability to understand and voice what is being signed.

SEE: Signing Exact English ("SEE 2").  An invented sign system intended to represent English with the intent to assist deaf children in the acquisition of English. The letters SEE can also stand for "Seeing Essential English (SEE 1)" which preceded Signing Exact English.

Self-exclusion: There are many physically-deaf or hard-of-hearing people who are not a part of the Deaf Community.  Such individuals are part of the greater Deaf World but they choose to not "commune with" Deaf people nor learn our language—thus are not part of the Deaf Community.

SIMCOM: Simultaneous Communication. In the Deaf World "simcom" refers to the attempt to communicate via signing and voicing at the same time. Signing and voicing at the same time is frowned upon by many Deaf academics and Deaf community leaders since the signed message tends to suffer (have less fidelity). However, many Deaf individuals "do" use simcom quite a bit -- especially when in mixed Deaf/Hearing environments.

SK: Stop Keying.  It is (was) used to end a TTY (teletype) conversation. It indicates that you are going to "hang up" or terminate the conversation.  SKSK (a double SK) is a response by the other person that he acknowledges that you are ending the conversation and that he or she is quitting too.

SSI: Supplementary Security Income.  People on SSI receive regular checks from the government to help pay for basic living expenses.

Stay Deaf:  Many, (and likely "most"), culturally Deaf people if given the chance to become Hearing would choose to remain Deaf.  Even if we became fully able to physically "hear" we would not leave our Deaf spouse, quit our Deaf-friendly job, stop attending out Deaf socials, nor stop using sign language as our main mode of communication.  For many of us, magically (or medically) receiving the ability to "hear" would not instantly grant us the edibility to use spoken English.  Sure, there are plenty of bi-cultural Deaf/hh (culturally Deaf but physically Hard-of-Hearing)  people who might "make the jump" to "full hearing" -- since they already have Hearing friends and already use their voices to speak but it is not like that for "hard core" Deaf who have already built a comfortable, engaging, visually-centered life.

Storytelling:  The ability to skillfully tell a story is highly valued in Deaf Culture.

TC: Total Communication.  TC is a philosophy of Deaf Education that advocates using signing, voicing, writing, and other methods of communication. Unfortunately TC often becomes simply an implementation of "simcome" (voicing and signing simultaneously).

TTY or TDD:  Tteletype or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf.  In the old days, a TTY was a huge clunker that required a wheelbarrow to move around. TTY's shrank in size and people began calling them TDDs (or even Text Telephones in some government literature) but the Deaf Community continued to refer to the devices as TTYs.   Instant Messaging via text and video has made TTYs largely extinct.

Uppercase Deaf / Lowercase deaf:  While the uppercase and lowercase spellings of Deaf and deaf have not yet become standardized in print media, in general the lowercase spelling refers to being physically deaf while the uppercase spelling refers to someone who has internalized  the language, beliefs, values, traditions, attitudes, manners, and ways of the Deaf community.

Video Relay Service: A relay service allows Hearing people to call Deaf people, and vice versa.  A communication assistant (CA) answers a call from either a Deaf person or a Hearing person and then dials the number of the other person and then relays information back and forth between the two people. In the early days of Relay Service this was done between a telephone and a TTY (teletype).  Modern relay services now use video  for (at least) the signed portion of the call and thus are referred to as a video relay service" or VRS.

Views of Deafness: There are two main societal views regarding what it means to be d/Deaf: The cultural model and the pathological (or medical) model. Those who think of being d/Deaf as a simply another way of going through life (experiencing life) subscribe to the "cultural" view (or model) of deafness (or rather "Deafhood").  Those who view being deaf as a physical ailment or pathological condition that needs to be cured or fixed subscribe to the pathological view of deafness. The term "pathology" (in general) refers to the study of disease. The pathological view is typically held by people in the medical profession.  Particularly those who make money by attempting to "fix" d/Deaf people.  Culturally Deaf people don't consider ourselves to have a disease or problem that must be cured in order to have a good life.  I took a sign class with me to visit a Deaf party. Some of my students sat with me in the Deaf circle. I decided to ask if any of my friends would like to become "hearing."  Suppose a magic pill could be taken and and they would wake up the next morning "hearing." Each Deaf person said (via signing) NO!  My students were shocked. I explained in class the next day that Deaf people do not consider our condition pathological. To us, our deafness (Deafhood) is cultural.

Voc Rehab:  Vocational Rehabilitation.  Each state in the United States has a division or a program that focuses on providing vocational rehabilitation services for residents of the state who are disabled but might be able to work if provided rehabilitation services and/or support. This is an important government agency because it helps provide training and employment assistance to many Deaf people.

Voicing: Some d/Deaf people never voice. Others voice as well as a typical Hearing person.  Others engage in "selective voicing." One place you will sometimes see such Deaf people using voice is with their kids. In the home parents often need to get their kids attention and voicing is an easy way to do it. Also the children get used to the Deaf voice and can understand it just fine. Deaf are much less likely to voice to a hearing stranger. With our kids we feel comfortable, but with strangers we feel very cautious (as any oppressed group would). We don't tend to voice when we are talking with other Deaf skilled signers. Why voice to other Deaf? Another reason is we can't use voicing and ASL grammar at the same time. (See Simcom).  It is (generally) not appropriate to ask a Deaf person if they can voice.

VP: Video phone.

VRS: Video Relay service.


01. In the Deaf world the hearing children of Deaf parents are generally well accepted and considered to make good interpreters because of their familiarity with ASL and Deaf Culture. The special term that these children are called is: *CODA (Child of Deaf Adult)

02. What is the philosophy of embracing two languages and cultures? *Bilingual-Bicultural

03. What is the world's oldest Deaf advocacy organization? *National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

04. At what university did the "Deaf President Now" event take place? *Gallaudet

05. What is the name of government program that provides regular paychecks to help some Deaf people pay for basic living expenses? *Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

06. What service provides communication assistants or interpreters to facilitate Hearing people calling Deaf people, and vice versa? *Video Relay Service

07. What is the government agency that helps provide training and employment assistance to many Deaf people? *Vocational Rehabilitation

08. In the 1940's and 1950's where did Deaf people tend to gather (which starting around the 1960's rapidly declined)? *Deaf Clubs

09. What do we call text or subtitles that are embedded in a video signal which can be displayed on demand? *Closed Captions (CC)

10. What do we call a state-run residential education institution for individuals who are Deaf? *Deaf School

11. In the Deaf community what do we call a typical public school? *Hearing School

12. What is the common syndrome that affects many interpreters and Deaf people and causes numbness and/or pain in the wrists? *Carpal Tunnel

13. What was the protest that took place the week of March 6, 1988 at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. and became an international Deaf movement? *Deaf President Now (DPN)

14. What phrase is considered "politically correct" by many Hearing people but is considered inappropriate and/or offensive by many culturally Deaf people? *Hearing Impaired

15. What term refers to a philosophy of encouraging (forcing) Deaf to speak and read lips rather than use sign language? *Oral / Oralism

16. What do we call "non-Deaf" people who can hear and who embrace the culture of people who can hear? *Hearing

17. Signing and voicing at the same time is frowned upon by many Deaf academics and Deaf community leaders. What do we call signing and voicing at the same time? *Simcom

18. What do we call the phone system used by many Deaf people that let's them see and be seen by the person on the other end of the call? *Video Phone (VP)

19. This law or "act" was originally passed in 1990 and has had a profound beneficial impact on the lives of Deaf people. *"Americans with Disabilities" (ADA)

20. This person is held in low esteem by many in the Deaf community because of his efforts to promote oralism. *Alexander Graham Bell.

21. What is an appropriate way to get the attention of a room full of Deaf people? *Flick the light switch a couple of times.

22. This organization was set up in 1967 and has chapters all over the U.S. Their purpose is to provide support, encouragement, and information to families raising children who are Deaf or hard of hearing. (For more information, see: http://www.deafchildren.org) *American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC)

23. This national organization is dedicated specifically to the improvement and expansion of the teaching of ASL and Deaf Studies. *American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA)

24. This signed language is used in England and other areas of the world. One of its distinguishing features is that it uses a two-handed manual alphabet. *British Sign Language (BSL)

25. A highly esteemed liberal arts university in Washington D.C. for Deaf and hard-of hearing students. *Gallaudet University

26. Considered rude in the Deaf Community: *Talking without signing in the presence of Deaf people (if you know how to sign).

27. Culturally Deaf couples tend to hope for: *A deaf baby

28. Signs that are used to represent general categories of things or can be used to describe the size and shape of an object (or person). These signs can be used to represent the object itself, or the way the object moves or interacts with other objects (or people). Another definition is: "A set of handshapes that represent classes of things that share similar characteristics." *Classifiers (or "depictive verbs")

29. This Deaf man was born south of Lyons, France, in 1785. He became deaf due to an accident when he was very young. He enrolled at age 12 at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris and graduated eight years later and became a tutor for the Institute. He journeyed to America at the request of Thomas H. Gallaudet in 1817 and helped establish the first American school for the Deaf. He retired at age 73. *Laurent Clerc

30. An obsolete term that refers to all people who have a hearing loss. This term is considered offensive by some Deaf. *Hearing Impaired

31. In 1966 R. Orin Cornett at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. developed this visual communication method that used eight handshapes in four different positions along with the natural mouth movements that occur during speech. *Cued Speech

32. People who feel that being Deaf is about language and connection to other Deaf people subscribe to what model or view of thinking about the Deaf? *Cultural

33. What defines a person as a member of the Deaf Community? *The individual chooses to identify himself/herself as a member of the community, embraces Deaf Culture, and is accepted (generally) by other members of the Deaf Community.

34. Historically, how has Deaf Culture been transmitted? *Residential Schools for the Deaf (Deaf Schools) (and prior to the 1960's -- Deaf Clubs).

35. What percent of Deaf people have at least one Deaf parent? *Less than five percent. [Some sources say 10% but according to the article "Chasing the Mythical Ten Percent: Parental Hearing Status of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in the United States" authored by Ross E. Mitchell, Michael A. Karchmer, less than five percent of deaf and hard of hearing children (receiving special education) have at least one Deaf parent. Source: https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/sign_language_studies/v004/4.2mitchell.html retrieved 6/29/2015]

36. Why are Deaf communities unusual among cultural groups? *Most members of Deaf communities did not acquire their cultural identity from their parents. [Bauman, Dirksen (2008). Open your eyes: Deaf studies talking. University of Minnesota Press.]

37. How many signed languages are there throughout the world? *Over 200. [Source: Gallaudet University Library: http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/content.php?pid=114804&sid=991940 Retrieved 6/29/2015. Also see: Ethnologue which lists 138 or so: https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/deaf-sign-language retrieved 6/29/2015]

38. American Sign Language is most closely related to what language? *French Sign Language

39. What approach to education poses a threat to the continued existence of Deaf Culture? *Oralism

40. Culturally Deaf people in the United States prefer to use what language? *American Sign Language

41. What type of achievement or progress is valued by culturally Deaf people in the United States -- group or individual? *Group or collective achievement and progress (not individual)

42. Suppose you need to walk between two Deaf people who are having a conversation, what should you do? *Walk through without stopping.

43. If you arrive early or late to a Deaf meeting what should you do? *Provide details or an explanation

44. Why do Deaf people tend to show up early to lectures or large events? *To get a good seat where they can see clearly

45. What kind of architecture is valued by Deaf people? *good lighting, minimal visual obstructions, automatic sliding glass doors, safe walkways

46. What were Betty G. Miller and Chuck Baird? *famous Deaf artists

47. An organization dedicated to promoting professional development and access to the entertainment, visual and media arts fields for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing. *D-PAN (Deaf Professional Arts Network)

48. Where and when did the second Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf meet and (Hearing educators) vote to embrace oral education and remove sign language from the classroom? *1880 in Milan, Italy

49. While watching another person sign it is appropriate to focus on the signer's: *face

50. Is it okay to gently tap a person (who isn't looking at you) on the shoulder to get their attention? *yes

Other:
In ASL Linguistics what do we call facial expressions and body movements that are used to inflect signs? *Non-manual markers (NMMs)

What do we call signs which use handshapes that can be used to represent categories of things that share the same general characteristics? *Classifiers

What is the language of choice of Culturally Deaf people in America, parts of Canada, and many other areas in the world? *American Sign Language

[End of Study Guide]


If you would like even more information about Deaf Culture see Culture 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11