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History of Sign Language

March is Deaf History Month. It's about recognizing the deaf people in our community as well as looking back at the achievements of pioneers in deaf culture. Read on for the facts on sign language and how it was created.

Sign Language - History

In the 16th century, Geronimo Cardano, a physician in Padua, Italy, proclaimed that deaf people could be taught to understand symbols by matching them with the things that they represented. In 1775, Abbe (the head of an abbey) Charles Michel de L'Epee of Paris, France, founded the first free school for deaf people. He taught deaf people to develop communication with gestures, hand signs and fingerspelling (using the sign language alphabet to spell out words). L'Epee first studied the signs and gestures already used by the deaf people in Paris. This helped him make his own version of signed spoken French. He paved the way to close the gap between the hearing and the non-hearing worlds.

Geronimo CardanoGeronimo Cardano

In the United States, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a congregational minister who became interested in helping his neighbor's young deaf daughter, went to Europe in 1815 to study methods of communicating with deaf people. While in England, the 27 year-old met with Abbe Roche Ambroise Sicard who invited him to study at his school for the deaf in Paris. After several months, Gallaudet went back to America. Along with him he brought Laurent Clerc, a deaf sign language teacher from the school in Paris. Gallaudet founded the first school for deaf people in the United States. This school was in Hartford, Connecticut and Clerc became the first deaf sign language teacher in the United States. After that, many schools for the deaf opened around the country. Twenty-two schools had been established by 1863.

Sign Language AlphabetSign Language Alphabet

Sign Language - Famous Deaf People

  • Ludvig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He started going deaf at the age of 28 and by age 49 he could no longer hear. He continued to get worse but went on composing music. Beethoven died in 1857 when he was 57 years-old.
  • Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was born with sight and hearing but at 19 months old, Helen fell ill and became blind and deaf. To help her learn, Helen's parents hired a teacher named Anne Sullivan. Anne taught Helen sign language and how to read Braille (special writing for blind people). Today there are many institutes around the world such as Helen Keller International dedicated to helping the deaf and the blind.
  • Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, also made it his mission to help the deaf. He wanted to help advance the communication between people who are deaf and the hearing world. Today, there is the Alexander Graham Bell Association For The Deaf and Hard Of Hearing.

Alexander Graham BellAlexander Graham Bell

Sign Language - Fun Facts

  • Sign language is the fourth most-used language in the US.
  • Deaf History Month is observed from March 13th to April 15th every year.
  • There are hundreds of sign language dialects in use around the world. Each culture has developed its own form of sign language to be compatible with the language spoken in that country.

Learning Sign Language

If you want to learn sign language, try your local community centers or your school might even offer sign language course. If not, petition your school board to introduce a course and help to bridge the gap between the hearing and the hearing impaired!

 
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General In The Forums

Mermaid_Author14
I'm sad to see you leaving so soon, especially because we have only been friends for a little while.  I didn't know your birthday was coming up so quickly, or that you were going to be 18! I have lots of things to say about you (all good things), but it'll be hard to name them all. I just want you to know that it's not about how long you've been here, it's about the memories that last a lifetime. I hope you have a happy birthday and a great trip!
reply about 3 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
" In the vast, deep forest of Hyrule… long have I served as the guardian spirit… I am known as the Deku Tree. The children of the forest, the Kokiri, live here with me. Each Kokiri has his or her own guardian fairy. However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy…. " *** In his tree-trunk home, the boy was tossing and turning on his little cot. The circular room was dark; it was nighttime. And, as it was nighttime again, his young mind was plunged into the same nightmare again.... Hooves, galloping in a rapid staccato, like a myriad of drums being pounded, raced across a dark path lit on either side by fire as tall as the boy. But they only reached the shoulders of the horse as dark as midnight, its master clothed in cloth and armor just as dark. But that wasn't what was scary... it was the aura of evil practically dripping off the man, with his fiery hair and dark, nearly-green skin.... And how real he felt. *** "...Navi... Navi, where art thou? Come hither...." Back in my clearing, a cyan ball of light entered my line of sight, gently bobbing a few feet off of the ground. A pair of barely visible clear wings were the only indicator that she was facing me. Compared to my massive size, she was almost a speck. " Oh, Navi the fairy... listen to my words, the words of the Deku Tree.... Dost thou sense it? The climate of evil descending upon this realm.... Malevolent forces even now are mustering to attack our land of Hyrule.... For so long, the Kokiri Forest, the source of life, has stood a barrier, deterring outsiders and maintaining the order of the world.... But, before this tremendous evil power, my power is as nothing.... It seems the time has come for the boy without a fairy to begin his journey... the youth whose destiny it is to lead Hyrule to the path of justice and truth.... Navi, go now! Find our young friend and guide him to me... I do not Have much time left. Fly, Navi, fly! The fate of the forest--nay, the world--depends upon thee. "
reply about 9 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
So, this is a story version of the game  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time  that I'm writing for (a) fun and (b) one of my friends who is interested in it, but can't play it. Some of the characters' words will be direct quotes, and some won't. I'm going to try and make it as exact to the game as possible. I'll have direct quotes pointed out like this: " Hey, listen! " And more paraphrased things will be formatted regularly. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the story--coming up in the next post! I DO NOT CLAIM ANY PART OF THIS STORY--CHARACTERS, PLOT, LORE, AND EVERYTHING BESIDES THE FACT I DESCRIBED IT--AS MINE. ALL CHARACTERS, LORE, AND EVERY BIT OF THE PLOT BELONGS TO NINTENDO. I MERELY DESCRIBED IT AND AM DOING THIS FOR A FRIEND.
reply about 10 hours
Mew2_
Mew2_ posted in Random:
Basically you drink water and can't use the bathroom. there are many rules and different ways to play. But this is what it boils down to. let me know if you ever have played this game before, or anything like it.
reply about 10 hours
Tennis123
Tennis123 posted in Debating:
i want to try to bring this forum back to life. but i would like to point out that if you say that because "X" its ok to kill animals, then if that same thing was present in a human, it would be morally justified to kill them. if choose that we can kill animals because of something but not humans for the exact same reason, then thats a double standard and logically inconsistant.
reply about 11 hours