Author Topic: Correcting strangers - deaf community  (Read 4500 times)

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Oh Joy

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Correcting strangers - deaf community
« on: January 16, 2013, 11:36:59 AM »
General question first: 
In the deaf community, is it considered polite to interrupt two strangers' conversation to correct an incorrect sign?

Background second  :) :
DH and I use American Sign Language with our infant and toddler, expecting them to continue it as an additional language in the future.  I lived with deaf people many years ago and didn't learn nearly as much as I should have, and DH had no exposure before this parenting adventure.

Last fall we were at a petting farm and DH was with our toddler (20 months) in the barn separate from the baby and me.  He and DS were talking about the animals and using the accompanying signs they knew.  A woman near them broke into their conversation to tell DH he was holding his hand wrong, then added that she uses sign language with kids at her work (she wasn't obviously hearing impaired herself). 

My interpretation was that this was no more appropriate than if she'd interrupted to correct his pronuncation of an English word.  I admit I'm colored in my view, as I get irritated when I see/hear dads being treated/referred to as inferior parents who need a mom's help.  But I don't know if she would have done the same thing with another mom, or if it was even her way of reaching out to start a friendly conversation.

I shared this story recently wtih someone who is not hearing impaired but spends time in the deaf community.  She argued that it's normal to correct others' signs in that culture (which I understand).  I don't think that extends to other people's conversations, but she thought that it being a third-party conversation was irrelevant and therefore the interruption was entirely appropriate.

Does anyone have more information for me?

Thanks.

Twik

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 11:42:57 AM »
I can imagine some of the signs the friend may get behind her back, if she routinely goes around telling strangers "you're doing it wrong". I can't imagine this would be received better in the hearing-impaired community than anywhere else.
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DottyG

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 11:44:27 AM »
Sign language is just that - a language.  It is just as rude to eavesdrop and interrupt that language as any other.

It would be like your husband's using a slang term verbally with your son and someone's correcting him.  That's wrong - just as what happened here was.

Quote
She argued that it's normal to correct others' signs in that culture

Maybe in the one group she's in, but this is a generalization that's not true as a whole across the deaf community.  I took sign language years ago (taught by a deaf man who spent the first part of each class with actual signing and the second half teaching us about deaf culture).  And this is not "normal" in that culture.
 
 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:46:31 AM by DottyG »

suzieQ

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 11:51:56 AM »
All I can give is my personal opinion, but if I was doing it wrong, I would be happy to have someone more experienced than I correct me, so I could teach it properly to my child. I'm the same way with pronunciation - if I'm saying it wrong, I'm glad to get the chance to learn to pronounce something correctly.
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Zilla

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 12:17:29 PM »
I am hard of hearing and sign language was my first and only language.  I am thinking that in a setting like that (kids/learning) depending how friendly they look, I could see someone correcting them on an obvious sign regardless they are male or female.  I don't think she singled out your husband because she thought he was the inferior parent.  That is waaayyy overreaching.
If she was obnoxious about it, that could be different.  But it sounds like with her explanation of working/teaching with deaf/HI kids, I can see why she did it and would not mind a single bit.

 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 12:19:14 PM by Zilla »

DottyG

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 12:20:37 PM »
suzieQ, but should someone be eavesdropping on your conversation such that they correct you?

I see your point.  And I'm all for learning when I can as well.  However, I'm also thinking about this in terms of what if I were talking to someone and using a pronunciation of something that may or may not be correct and then having the person nearby come by and correct me.  I'd be a little irritated that they were listening in my conversation to begin with.  I wasn't talking to them.  I was talking to my friend only.  While learning is a good thing, it shouldn't be because someone was butting into a conversation that they weren't a part of.

This woman didn't know the OP's husband or son and didn't know if the sign they were using might not have been a "slang" term they used for the sign.  There could have been a reason they were signing in that way, and it wasn't really up to her to come in and correct them.

Zilla

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 12:27:43 PM »
suzieQ, but should someone be eavesdropping on your conversation such that they correct you?

I see your point.  And I'm all for learning when I can as well.  However, I'm also thinking about this in terms of what if I were talking to someone and using a pronunciation of something that may or may not be correct and then having the person nearby come by and correct me.  I'd be a little irritated that they were listening in my conversation to begin with.  I wasn't talking to them.  I was talking to my friend only.  While learning is a good thing, it shouldn't be because someone was butting into a conversation that they weren't a part of.

This woman didn't know the OP's husband or son and didn't know if the sign they were using might not have been a "slang" term they used for the sign.  There could have been a reason they were signing in that way, and it wasn't really up to her to come in and correct them.
Um I never seen a slang sign.  Being at the farm and the father is obviously going over the signs for all the animals probably also verbalizing. I can see the teacher noticing and correcting.  And hopefully kindly and gently in which the OP didn't indicate if she was obnoxious or quiet about it.

snowdragon

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 12:30:24 PM »
In Sign language  there are signs that change regionally - how did she know that the op's DH was not from another area where HIS was the correct way? I would have been put off and while I would have remained polite to her, I would not have welcomed her intrusion. I think I would have excused myself and left the area, if not the park.
  I really hate having strangers break into my conversations, for any reason but especially to tell me how am doing something wrong. This would have put me off using asl in public for a long, long time. If I am not paying you to teach me - keep your nose out of it .

snowdragon

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 12:35:00 PM »
suzieQ, but should someone be eavesdropping on your conversation such that they correct you?

I see your point.  And I'm all for learning when I can as well.  However, I'm also thinking about this in terms of what if I were talking to someone and using a pronunciation of something that may or may not be correct and then having the person nearby come by and correct me.  I'd be a little irritated that they were listening in my conversation to begin with.  I wasn't talking to them.  I was talking to my friend only.  While learning is a good thing, it shouldn't be because someone was butting into a conversation that they weren't a part of.

This woman didn't know the OP's husband or son and didn't know if the sign they were using might not have been a "slang" term they used for the sign.  There could have been a reason they were signing in that way, and it wasn't really up to her to come in and correct them.
Um I never seen a slang sign.  Being at the farm and the father is obviously going over the signs for all the animals probably also verbalizing. I can see the teacher noticing and correcting.  And hopefully kindly and gently in which the OP didn't indicate if she was obnoxious or quiet about it.

 Maybe not slang, but there are differing signs in different groups,  when I worked with developmentally disabled adults they had several signs that were correct in their culture that were not strict ASL sign. there are also slightly different signs for some things depending on if you using ASL or Signed Exact English, ect. the fact nosy woman didn't what program the OP' family was using and had no business correcting a father with his son. 

DottyG

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 12:41:58 PM »
I used the word "slang" for lack of better word.  But snowdragon explained it better; that's what I was referring to.


Zilla

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 01:17:57 PM »
Got it, and yes there are different languages using signs.   Outside this country it's vastly different as I found out with some Aussie friends. (that was fun!)
 
I will be sure never ever suggest a correction out in public if I ever see something! Yikes, I would never want to be the cause to make someone leave the park.
 
 

Yvaine

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 01:19:54 PM »
You know, regional accents in sign language never occurred to me--but I suppose it only makes sense that there would be!  :)

Oh Joy

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 01:21:33 PM »
I'm appreciating your reponses and the food for thought in them.  It is a good point that this was a learning environment, and we do sometimes collaboratively teach our kids with strangers.

Your posts did bring up another point in my head; signs are not universal (as Zilla posted while I typed).  British Sign Language, for example, is different from American Sign Language, and many of their signs are nothing like each other (such as 'dog,' where British is holding your paws in front of you while American is patting your thigh for the dog to come).  DH speaks fluent English as a third language and with an accent.  As you're talking about, he could have been using the correct sign.

That, and I don't think she would have interrupted to tell him how to better pronounce the vowel sound in the English word.   ;) 

Looking forward to more thoughts from y'all.

Dalek

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 01:24:01 PM »
Maybe the lady thought the way the dad in the OP was gesturing was too close to something offensive and wanted to point it out to spare him any embarrassment. She probably would have corrected another woman as well.
I would want someone to tell me if I was doing something wrong. Politely, of course.
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sourwolf

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 01:27:11 PM »
Maybe the lady thought the way the dad in the OP was gesturing was too close to something offensive and wanted to point it out to spare him any embarrassment. She probably would have corrected another woman as well.
I would want someone to tell me if I was doing something wrong. Politely, of course.

I agree.