Deaf Perceptions Of The Deaf

1510 WordsJul 9, 20167 Pages
Deaf Perceptions of Animacy Deaf culture has long been misunderstood and misrepresented within America, in part due to the significant language barrier between the American Deaf and their hearing counterparts. Though it is often thought to be nothing more than an elevated form of charades, American Sign Language (ASL) is a language like any other- not only with its own grammatical syntax, phonology, and morphology, but also in its compliance to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Created by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, the hypothesis exists in two degrees: weak and strong. The former claims that language shapes our thoughts, and thus our culture, while the latter version claims that language not only shapes our thoughts and our culture, it creates them. Though there is debate surrounding the degree to which the hypothesis extends, it is undoubtable that it is applicable to Deaf culture and its use of ASL as a first language in prelingually Deaf individuals. Using the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as its theoretical framework, this research proposes to investigate how the absence of copular verbs within ASL shapes Deaf perception of animacy and how such perceptions manifest within Deaf culture. Language was long thought to be a passageway passagewayfor thought; a go-between that allowed one to translate their pre-existing ideas into a communicable form via sounds, writing, and gesture (Cultural Encounters). However, this understanding shifted upon the introduction of the Sapir-Whorf
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