Author Topic: Correcting strangers - deaf community  (Read 3848 times)

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Tabby Uprising

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2013, 02:39:59 PM »
With regards to hearing culture vs. deaf culture, the OP stated that neither her DH nor the interjecting woman are hearing impaired.  If this woman was aware that she was engaging with someone from a hearing culture, why would she default to deaf culture norms? 

CuriousParty

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2013, 02:45:08 PM »
With regards to hearing culture vs. deaf culture, the OP stated that neither her DH nor the interjecting woman are hearing impaired.  If this woman was aware that she was engaging with someone from a hearing culture, why would she default to deaf culture norms?

Well, she may or may not be aware that she was engaging in hearing culture (if the child/DH wasn't speaking, for example, she may have thought the child/DH was HI/d/Deaf).  Or she may have automatically "defaulted" to HI/d/Deaf "mode" when she saw the sign.

There are also hearing people who can, well, hear, but due to their background and experience engage with the world more like HI/d/Deaf people, especially when sign is involved.  I know some adult children of HI/d/Deaf parents (especially if most/all of the family and/or the family social group is HI/d/Deaf) like that.

LadyStormwing

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2013, 05:49:57 PM »
IMHO, the only time this would be appropriate, in ANY language, would be if the words or signs being used were or could be taken (even accidentally) as offensive or extremely awkward in the location/region the speakers were conversing in. As sort of a "fun" example: a good friend of mine has a brother who is deaf from birth. The family learned to sign as he grew, but since he was a baby and thus carried around frequently, they would often carry him in one arm and sign with the other. Imagine their surprise when their tutor saw this one day and burst out laughing, explaining that in doing this somehow "Let's play with your toys" was now "Use the yellow toilet".


Surianne

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2013, 06:30:50 PM »
If it was done in a friendly manner, I'd have been happy to be corrected -- especially if I was potentially teaching my child the wrong sign. 

I'm used to zoos and such being fairly open, friendly places, though, and I strike up conversations with strangers in public all the time, so even if it had been someone sharing the right term for an animal in a speaking rather than signed language, I'd have been fine with it.  In a learning atmosphere that doesn't seem rude to me at all.

I'm also not sure where the OP is getting sexism out of this.  I highly doubt the father's gender has anything to do with anything here.





CuriousParty

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2013, 06:58:20 PM »
I have a Deaf sibling, and spent much of my time growing up around d/Deaf individuals.

There are absolutely different social boundaries and rules surrounding sign language conversations.  It is actually both common and acceptable for an individual to simply enter a conversation that in hearing culture would be considered "private" in a way that, again, hearing culture would see as "intrusive" or "eavesdropping."  It is not considered to be either in sign language conversations - in fact, it's expected behavior.  As a hearing person I do find it to be uncomfortable, and strange, but that's me being hearing.  I would never call someone out on that behavior, as then I would be the one acting strangely.

I think it has a lot to do with the natural differences between the languages - it is simply not possible to have a spoken conversation with five people across a gymnasium-size space.  It's entirely possible, even normal, to do so in sign language (I have in fact been hit on across such a space while my sibling was visiting colleges. That was very strange indeed.)

Now there are "rules" about privacy, but they are different than most of the posters here are expecting.  Two individuals having a conversation in a corner, facing each other and backs to the group, signing close to the body - THAT is a private conversation and you are not supposed to intrude.  Watching a conversation due to nosiness/curiosity and not intending (or being able to) engage, THAT is rude.  Two people talking to each other in the open in a farm?  Clearly exchanging signs in what appears to be a teaching/practicing exercise? Nope, totally okay to enter that interaction - in fact, expected, especially if an error comes up.

As for the questions about "correcting" and is that okay given the variation in signs - yes, it is okay, expected, and in some cases very, VERY important.  I moved across country in adulthood and was chatting with a Deaf colleague who looked horrified and quickly corrected my sign for "work."  In that area (within the same country I grew up in), my sign for "work" was....um, the sign for scrabble-related activities.  My sign for the...activities....in question involved a similar wrist motion but different finger placements.  The idea is to learn the signs that are appropriate for the area you are in, so that you don't wind up telling people that you are going to "Work" when you mean "work"  ;D

Lastly, in thinking about this I do have to say that I think it would be likely that I might have this type of interaction even in a spoken language.  If I noticed someone nearby who was clearly not a native speaker of English, and teaching his/her child the English word for an animal but making an error in pronunciation (not just an accent or something) I would likely offer the correct pronunciation.  Just because...well, I know it, and they clearly seem to want to know it, so why not help out?  I don't think I'd be more or less likely to do this with a man than a woman, though I'd be more likely to do it if their pronunciation was skating close to a word with a different meaning.

Interesting...My experience working wit Developmentally Disabled adults who sign is opposite that.  They would be horrified if someone corrected their signing - and would spare no pain in telling the interloper off.   
  Just goes to show that social mores are different in different groups and the nosy woman had no way of knowing what culture this family came from.  There were too many unknowns in here for this woman to able to make the call that DH was "wrong".  Since these folks were speaking it was obvious that they were not part of the community that the nosy woman was part of - and there for differing rules could and did apply. Really how did this woman know that the OP's DS was not non-neurotypical and this was how his teacher modified the sign for him? 
  There are many, many reason why the sign could be different - the nosy woman should have kept her opinions to herself.

I was thinking about this on the way home, and I think it's another example of a slightly different situation.

I wouldn't expect native signers to go around "correcting" native signers, either (and would certainly hope that non-native signers wouldn't go around correcting native signers.  They'd deserve to be told off if they did). I would expect to see a conversation between native signers along the lines of "What was that you said? You meant X? Oh!  Interesting! Where I am from we say Y." My sib has picked up a wide range of other sign languages through travel, and I've seen that type of conversation a lot.

In the OP situation though, there was clearly a "teaching" situation going on with non-native signers, and what was being taught was an error, and there was a fluent signer nearby who could offer clarification.  I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that happen.

Mostly, though I was speaking to the question of whether entering a sign conversation between strangers was considered "eavesdropping" or intrusive, as in my experience, it is not.

Eeep!

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2013, 07:35:27 PM »
If it was done in a friendly manner, I'd have been happy to be corrected -- especially if I was potentially teaching my child the wrong sign. 

I'm used to zoos and such being fairly open, friendly places, though, and I strike up conversations with strangers in public all the time, so even if it had been someone sharing the right term for an animal in a speaking rather than signed language, I'd have been fine with it.  In a learning atmosphere that doesn't seem rude to me at all.

I'm also not sure where the OP is getting sexism out of this.  I highly doubt the father's gender has anything to do with anything here.

This thread is so interesting - I LOVE learning about different cultures! :)

I think I agree with Surianne. If the woman was pleasant in her interaction I'm not really seeing a huge reason to be offended. In fact, if I was teaching my child something incorrectly, I would be very happy to have it corrected before they got it stuck in their head the wrong way. (Especially since you are planning on your child continuing on in the language.) I might be initially embarassed (since I get embarassed at the drop of a hat) but I would ultimately be glad.  I think the fact that this was a "learning environment" and that the father was clearly teaching makes the interaction far less egregious than if they were, say, just at an ice cream place having a conversation.

Then again, she could have just been a nosy busy-body. ;)

Edited to further clarify my scattered thinking. :)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 07:38:30 PM by Eeep! »
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Oh Joy

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Re: Correcting strangers - deaf community
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2013, 09:36:34 AM »
I've really found your responses to be helpful and interesting.  Thanks so much!

A quick clarification on the sexist thing: it's not uncommon around here to consider dads to be inferior parents of young kids and it's a hot button of mine.  I mentioned it not because I was sure that was her motivation, but because I know my mind jumps quickly to DH's defense.   :)

Thanks again.