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American Sign Language Terminology: "The new Mute"
The semantic evolution of the term "mute."


In a message dated 5/16/2006 8:44:33 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Marci Wilson writes:
Hey, we started our "silent classroom" on Monday.  The kids named it "The Deaf Room".  They wanted to name it "The Deaf Mute Room" because they see "mute" on the remote and it means "no sound".  We talked about the connotations from the past, but said it was their choice...new day, new way and all...but they decided "The Deaf Room" would be more accepted if Deaf adults came to visit.  I love it!  The interpreters are a little reluctant but the kids love it, too.  Thanks for the suggestion. 
Marci
 
This is one of the most fascinating things presented to me all year:  The semantic evolution of the term "mute."
We now have a generation of Deaf who have a totally fresh understanding of the term "mute."
Theoretically it would be possible for the term "mute" to make an in-your-face comeback.
There are zeitgeist websites out there devoted to "crip" humor for the "severely euphemized.
These sites are managed by people who themselves are "crips" (disabled).  To them the phrase is not an insult but rather a way to say "so what?!"  Who is to say that the next generation of Deaf youth won't adopt the word "mute" and make it a banner.
--Bill

 


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