Posts filed under 'sign language'

(M)other Tongue: Sign Language in Translation

"I can only access conversation that is intended for me to access—and so all spoken conversation that I pick up is meaningful."

When I began to progressively lose my hearing at three years old, my mother fought for me to have access to both British Sign Language classes and speech therapy sessions, offering me a dual-language gateway. Through travel and education opportunities, I know phrases, sentences and expressions in other languages—both signed and spoken. But it is in English and BSL that I primarily express myself, code-switching when appropriate and, at times, combining the two together to speak SSE (Sign-supported English). This is sign language that follows English grammatical structure, as opposed to BSL structure. For those new to BSL, it can come as a surprise to discover that it is its own language, complete with its own rules, format and words—or rather signs—that have no direct equivalent in English.

And so, on a day-to-day basis, I communicate using my hands (signing), voice (speaking), and eyes (lip-reading), as a giver and a receiver. I enjoy the literal sound certain words make as they hold space in the air. Simultaneously, and without contradiction, I love the shape of language created by fingers, expressions and the body. People also underestimate the use of the whole body in sign language – though it is primarily through the hands that words are expressed; meaning, content and colour is amplified through other parts of the body, in particular, the face.


Weekly News Roundup, 12th September 2013: The French Boycott Scandal, Rhyming and Signing

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Bad news, optimistic readers: if a book can change your life positively, it follows that it can have the opposite effect as well (well, maybe, at least).

Neither French politicians nor French writers have ever been lauded for their discretion in the face of sex—but call it an apparition: booksellers in France are boycotting the latest juicy tell-all memoir (titled Thank you for this Moment perhaps too preemptively) by Valérie Trierweiler, spurned ex-partner of openly philandering president François Hollande. Seems as though a big issue isn’t the scandal, but the lowbrow scumminess of the whole affair—wonder what the Frankfurt School, including those German ur-critics of popular culture, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, would have to say about it.  READ MORE…