The Deaf world and the field of ASL studies have a
specialized lingo (vocabulary). I'm not talking about ASL signs, I'm
talking about phrases and topics in ASL or English that are used to
discuss ASL and the Deaf Community..
For example, in the Deaf Community it
is common to refer to non-Deaf people as "Hearing" or "Hearing people."
We refer to a non-Deaf (public) school by using
the signs "HEARING SCHOOL" which are interpreted as meaning "a
Our children who can hear are known as "CODAs." (Child of
Deaf Adult). These individuals grow up "hearing" on the outside, but are
culturally Deaf inside (or bicultural -- having an awareness of both
Hearing and Deaf culture.)
Usage note for "deaf" vs "Deaf":
Some teachers require their students to capitalize the word Deaf
at all times. If that is what your local instructor wants,
then do it his or her way. As for this web site I tend to
use the following approach:
deaf: deaf (with a lowercase "d")
The condition of partially or completely lacking in the sense of
hearing to the extent that one cannot understand speech for
everyday communication purposes. (For example, you can't hear
well enough to use the phone on a consistent basis.)
Deaf: Deaf (with a capital "D") refers
to embracing the cultural norms, beliefs, and values of the Deaf
Community. The term "Deaf" should be capitalized when it is used as
a shortened reference to being a member of the Deaf Community.
Example: He is Deaf. (Meaning that he is a member of the Deaf
Example: He is deaf. (Meaning that he is lacking in the sense of
For a list of terminology used at ASL
University, please visit the Glossary page.
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