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htm Copyright 2005 National Public Radio (R) All Rights Reserved National Public Radio (NPR) SHOW: Talk of the Nation 2:00 AM EST NPR February 2, 2005 Wednesday LENGTH: 7378 words HEADLINE: Deaf culture ANCHORS: NEAL CONAN BODY: NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The millions of Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing form a unique community, a culture, they say, shaped by their shared experience and their shared language. ASL, American Sign Language, is currently the second most taught language on college campuses. A major Broadway play using deaf and hearing actors is touring the country. At the same time, deaf culture is both changed and challenged by technology. There are plenty of divisions and arguments within deaf culture, but the deaf and hard of hearing share another universal trait--the incomprehension of the hearing world around them that sees their condition as a disability, as a handicap. For those who live without sound, that absence is the starting point of an identity. In this hour of TALK OF THE NATION, we'll discuss deaf culture, its history, traditions, its challenges and its controversies. Of course, radio is by definition a medium for the ear. So we will use various technologies to welcome an audience normally unavailable to us. Some of those methods are old--the voices of our guests that you'll hear today are those of their interpreters--and some are much newer. Live captioning of this hour's broadcast will stream live on a Web site, You can pass that address along to any deaf or hard of hearing people you know who would be interested. Again, the Web site is And, of course, we welcome questions from the radio audience. If you have questions about deaf culture or if you participate in it, our number here in Washington is (800) 989-8255; that's (800) 989-TALK. Our e-mail address is

Connecticut. their common practices. CONAN: Now a lot of the history of deaf people in this country. American Sign Language was created. Culture itself captures a sense of commonality within a group of people. And some evidence is somewhat earlier that we've seen especially in New England. CONAN: Well. deaf people have been in America for many years. They're the authors of the new book "Inside Deaf Culture. It's wonderful to be here. why don't you tell us some of the important dates. The first deaf school was established for children in the United States in Hartford. I'm happy to be here as well. we talk about the 18th century. let me ask you. Ms. not only deaf people but groups of deaf people that are all over the world. CAROL PADDEN (Co-Author. Neal. I'll start with that. That was in 1817. and from that comingling. Mr. and also it brought people from the New Hampshire areas. but how far back do you trace deaf culture? Mr.With us now from the studios of member station KPBS in San Diego are Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. It describes what deaf people have in common. "Inside Deaf Culture"): (Through Interpreter) Thank you very much. Ms. The concept of culture is a way to capture something that deaf people share. their common history. but when we started our book. where there were groups of deaf people living. PADDEN: Sure. What that did was it brought deaf children who lived in locales such as Martha's Vineyard. welcome to TALK OF THE NATION. You talk about the history of deaf culture. Connecticut. Obviously. HUMPHRIES: Well. I think probably we can find evidence in the existence of the deaf community in parts of the United States as far back as the late 1700s. Tom and Carol. Carol. Maybe Carol knows a little bit better on that. parts of Maine and brought them all to Hartford. Neal. in the beginning. Carol's interpreter is Bonnie Sherwood and Tom's is Mala Poe. maybe earlier. where they attended the same school. "Inside Deaf Culture"): (Through Interpreter) Thanks. American Sign Language is a critical part of that commonality. CONAN: Let's start with the big question: What is deaf culture? How does the condition of deafness lead to the creation of a culture? Carol. Each child would meet another deaf child." Carol and Tom are both deaf and will communicate with us today through their interpreters. CONAN: Tom. important happenings that form the shared history of deaf culture. Let me start with one key date. TOM HUMPHRIES (Co-Author. why don't you go first. and I suspect a lot of . Ms. PADDEN: Yes. their sets of ideas.

The e-mail address is totn@npr. in daily contact. The relationship between deaf people and hearing people in the United States is very rich. there have been many attempts to try to cure them through various medical techniques. the history of deaf people is full of a relationship and meaning in that relationship with hearing people. So having an active life among hearing people is.the history of deaf culture as well. In the late 1800s or early 1900s. `Well. deaf people found that many people were encouraged to remove sign language from the schools. it is sort of resplendent with the history of our culture that we have had to encounter new technologies throughout our past. which I just described. if there's hearing aids. that's right. If you'd like to join our conversation.captionreporters. CONAN: Yeah. that's (800) 989-TALK. and as newer technologies are developed. is a result of the experience of the encounters of deaf people with the larger hearing society. you have to consider that deaf people have their own language and they have their own social world and you still have to think about the large amount of contact that they have with hearing people every and read a transcript of what's going on in this program. we are streaming live captioning of today's broadcast. Instead of deleting the signs from the schools. would not provide the type of life that sign language would. Tom. And for those of you listening. if you know of someone who's deaf or hard of hearing who you think might like to participate. Eva's calling from Fairfax. And that was the early part of the 1900s. discriminated against. . and what we have tried to do and how we regard the situation. throughout the condition of deafness. and we start with the establishment of the first school. and what I mean by that.' So. or alternatively. CONAN: Let's get some calls in from some listeners. I would. Virginia. that this--because we're faced with a new technology. the rest of us. again. Carol. So deaf people found themselves having to stand up and support and defend why sign language should continue to be used within their schools. every chapter is like a moment in our history. there have been many examples where deaf people. Our book describes--well. And then many things appeared after that. This is Eva. Hearing aids were introduced after World War II and many people thought. Anyway. Ms. once called deaf mutes. though. And most of them also learn English as a second language. PADDEN: Yes. and as you would assume. they were encouraged to take up speech as a way of learning. what we tried to explain in the book. were marginalized. I suppose you wouldn't need sign language. but also there are different points in the book where deaf people themselves find their events in the world about them impact them. let's get a caller on the line. would you say that's right? Mr. deaf people had to stand up and explain that hearing aids. while a technological advance. HUMPHRIES: Yeah. People can live and work and experience a social world using sign language. our number is (800) 989-8255. They can go to www. you know.

but that's what makes it so spicy and interesting.. EVA: Good. I appreciate it. the president of Gallaudet will be joining us. I'm actually waiting for my packet of information to arrive any day now. How did it . EVA: Bye-bye. Eva. and saving them. Mr. going into deaf studies. But. Several people have asked me that before.EVA (Caller): Hi. as you mentioned. CONAN: And hang on. CONAN: Bye-bye. education or psychology or other fields. CONAN: Thanks for the phone call. definitely to pursue your goal and study at Gallaudet. working in education in different forms. Thank you. And I think I would encourage you. I think it's a very interesting field right now. That's a very interesting question. CONAN: Go ahead. There's a lot of controversy. I think I'll take that. and I think that right now the reason for hearing people to go into fields associated with deaf people. with the idea of helping deaf people. is a wonderful opportunity to really understand and get involved with a very rich culture and perhaps work with deaf people in different ways. not just the traditional forms. may be different than they were in the past. yes. hearing people would go into certain fields. today. are there really opportunities for people with degrees or backgrounds in deaf studies to serve the deaf community? CONAN: Who wants to take that? Mr. so. in social services or interpreting. In the past.. I just wanted to ask your guests today--I became a part of the deaf community years ago through some friends that I made in my teens and learned to sign and have carried that skill with me. you know. HUMPHRIES: This is Tom. Eva. A little bit later in the program. I think this is a really interesting topic and one that I'm keenly interested in. their language and culture. Lots to think about. EVA: Yes. Carol. I heard that. So--and thank you for that information. I think there are better reasons for people entering into the field and more interesting reasons as well. and I recently thought about going to Gallaudet to take a master's degree somewhere within the range of deaf studies. let me ask you a little bit more about American Sign Language. Eva. I'm just curious to hear your guests' feedback on the fact that with so many deaf children being mainstreamed these days. For example. HUMPHRIES: Thank you for calling. How are you? CONAN: Very well.

" They both join us from the studios of member station KPBS in San Diego. but President King Jordan will be speaking for himself. If you're deaf and have stories of deaf culture. that's (800) 989-TALK. King Jordan. Ms. Subsequently. We want your experience with deaf culture or your questions about it. the president of Gallaudet University. That's totn@npr. (Soundbite of music) CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. And joining us here in Studio 3A in Washington is I. and when I meet a French Sign Language interpreter who should know the whole sign language--oh.captionreporters. We have some signs in common. It is a language which began when deaf children. When we come back from a short break. (800) 989-8255. TALK OF THE NATION. well. We're talking about the history of deaf culture and the issues facing deaf people today. like I expressed before. His interpreter today is Brad Leon. . NPR News. We invite all of our audience. King Jordan joins us. the nation's only liberal arts university for the deaf. PADDEN: Well. CONAN: We're discussing the history of deaf culture. e-mail us: totn@npr. He brought French Sign Language to America to the school and started using that language with the children. That's available at www. So ASL came from a combination of French Sign Language and the different sign language that the children themselves brought to school. to participate by e-mail. the teachers learned the language. there's live captioning of this program.evolve as a language? It's been controversial for a long time. the authors of "Inside Deaf Culture. And our guests this hour are Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. For our deaf and hard of hearing audience. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. and we'll continue with your calls and e-mails. I don't unders--and they're mutually non-exclusive. So today we can still see the influence of French Sign Language on American Sign Language. I. from all over New England came to this newly established school in Connecticut. He's the president of Gallaudet University. let me preface that by saying you should know that all sign languages all over the world are different and Welcome to the But the school itself was founded by a hearing gentleman and a deaf gentleman from France. or you can call us at the regular number. of concerns about the current issues. The voices you will hear from San Diego are those of their American Sign Language which actually--I gave a very brief description of that. deaf and hearing.

President Jordan. I believe we accept about six or eight every year. I think they are different than they used to be. an American Sign Language teacher at Arlington High School. King. My own perspective has been enhanced greatly by my association with Gallaudet through Rotary International. I think more and more people are coming to realize that sign language. PADDEN: Hi. however. hearing undergraduate students. Mr. JORDAN: So when you say English. I assume you mean speech specifically. is very visual centric.Welcome to TALK OF THE NATION. I'm delighted to be here. `Please explain the importance of Gallaudet University in extending the educational opportunities for the deaf.. Everything about what we do. Mr. CONAN: Spoken English. JORDAN: There are a very small number of undergraduate students who are called HUGs. not only doesn't interfere with the acquisition of spoken English but it sometimes can help with the acquisition of spoken English. JORDAN: The place of Gallaudet University--Gallaudet is really unique in the world. The internship and job opportunities are the same. teaching in English? Mr. It used to be really strictly one or the other. Good to see you or hear you. and that's an opportunity for people who can hear but who want to work with deaf people to get the full experience of living in a deaf world while . Maryland. CONAN: We have an e-mail question for you. that people who can hear get through speech at other colleges and universities. Mr. American Sign Language specifically. Not only are they professional colleagues but they're two good personal friends. Do those arguments still exist between teaching in sign vs. JORDAN: They still exist. The curriculum is the same.' Mr. we had a number of e-mail questions about Gallaudet. Ms. specifically again American Sign Language. the arguments will become less.. by the way. `Are undergraduate hearing students admitted to Gallaudet?' Mr. KING JORDAN (President. So I think as more data are gathered and more studies are done. I. That number is very small. and may I say hello to Tom and Carol. Gallaudet University): Thank you. CONAN: We've talked about the historic arguments around deaf education. CONAN: Actually. It's a visual university and it's a deaf university. HUMPHRIES: Hi. Neal. It's the only university specifically for deaf and hard of hearing people. and it's a place where deaf people get the same educational opportunities through visual communication. King. From Shane Hensley. from Bob Ketron in Baltimore.

the TTY. What video relay does. I think this is not unique to deaf people.. Deaf people really have embraced this technology. Neal. Mr. has this new electronic community. but has that changed also the more physical deaf clubs that there used to be in so many places around the country? Ms. . which enables deaf people from anywhere to be in touch with each other. Mom. I can interrupt. So it becomes newer and newer and it really has made a difference in our lives. I got a new jacket. from America. I think people always talk about this as if it's changing the deaf. deaf college students from Europe. CONAN: I wonder. There are--well. and I've been using video for almost a year. and this is a world of deaf people. JORDAN: Start with me. We can hold up things and show each other things that perhaps we bought at the store that day. and I cannot imagine now a world without it. look. Carol here. It's just absolutely changed the way deaf people use the telephone. They often make friends on e-mail. The video relay. I'd like to bring you in on this and expand the conversation a little bit to talk about the entire impact of electronic communications. Carol here.. DC. We can talk about things. I can see what is like intonation and the affect the interpreter gets.. They're flying to some event in Denmark or in Washington. It's so much better than text read. The interpreter is interpreting simultaneously what the person I'm calling is saying. Tom and Carol.they study. JORDAN: May I say something about this? Oh. PADDEN: Well. `Oh. it allows me to have a phone conversation with anybody that's as close to a normal phone conversation as it can be. I see how she's doing. PADDEN: Oh. email. just like King was saying. CONAN: And. but I also use video phone to call my deaf parents. That's right. I can talk back right away. President Jordan. I see an interpreter on screen. I wanted to add that it's not just the technology that is new that's changing our lives. deaf people can contact one another all over the world. with the presence of IM and instant messaging and text messaging. I'm sorry. We use video phone not only to call the interpreters. I think it's really remarkable. Mr. we'll begin with you.. CONAN: And I'm going to ask Carol and Tom to come in on this next one as well. the Web. Plane fares are cheap. those things as well. the video phone has changed our lives. I really see a global community of deaf high-school students. Mr. Ms. but newer technologies are changing because just a year ago I was still using the teletypewriter. HUMPHRIES: This is Tom. I felt like I'm using ancient technology. I couldn't believe how old-fashioned I felt using it. but how have video relay and video phones changed deaf culture? And. I call my mom almost every day. though. And last week I had to use the TTY or the teletypewriter.' And it's an entirely new way to communicate.

Excuse me. It's changed a great deal. Mr. do you want to take that? That's a question about how things have changed really. She could hear. King. we did. It's not just changing the deaf community. People. Now just the other day I was at a basketball game and I met a prospective student and his mother. JORDAN: I'd be happy to start. because in my generation. let's say. Carol here. Mr. then why don't you try it.. Mr. JORDAN: .. how things have changed like from the '60s. It shouldn't be a surprise anymore because so many parents.. It's actually Ben. PADDEN: and deaf culture. Ms. since the 1960s is what Ben is saying. mixed families or parents. They have an interest that didn't exist back in the '60s. So it's really--technology's changing the world. Tom and I went to college together in the '60s. Mr. JORDAN: . but I'm wondering about family connections. to the present in terms of hearing-deaf families. BEN: Yes.. CONAN: Oh. Michigan. JORDAN: . Ben.Ms. And Min is calling from South Haven.often communicate from one room to the other on two-way pagers or cell phones. CONAN: Well. PADDEN: Yes. it's still a little bit of a surprise. I have had some connection with the deaf culture and have taken some ASL classes. and they didn't even want to hear him writing or see him writing.. CONAN: Let's get some more callers back in on the conversation. Tom and I had friends. and we'll begin with Min(ph). How's that changed? CONAN: Tom or Carol. I guess.. Mr. .. It's changing everybody.. And I remember one friend of mine saying that he had never been able to communicate to his parents. I see young people who would rather IM with each other than talk to each other. or in the '60s when I was growing up. I thought perhaps King might like to start to answer that question and then I could jump in.. Yes. Ms.who had families where there was no communication among the family with the deaf person in the family. And his mother signed fluently. BEN (Caller): Yes. parents or siblings had very little interaction with their own deaf family members. so many siblings are very skilled signers now. HUMPHRIES: Yes.. PADDEN: That's true. And to me.

CONAN: Ben. Mr. We see more and more hearing children in high school. maybe people would start asking you to interpret some things in Spanish. how will that impact the demand for sign language as a communications tool and will people's interest in learning that language wane?' Ms. How can I learn to sign fluently and still be a friend? And I'll take my call off or the answer off the phone. HUMPHRIES: Maybe we can look at a new dimension with the relationship as Ben mentioned as working with deaf people as friends not just an interpreter. also in middle school. . Let me answer that quickly. She's using the caption reporter service and she says thanks very much and I'm listening. PADDEN: Hi. it does. you know. Really we're using the past to try to help us think about the future. I'm going to make a bet that it's going to endure in a different way perhaps. PADDEN: Sure. I'm not sure. I think the language and its endurance. which has endured for one and a half centuries. CONAN: Go ahead. but it will endure into the future. I'll help in a pinch. You can always draw a line and say. `Well. but not only high school. but really I want to be your friend rather than an interpreter. Nancy and I are very good friends. in college students as well. does that answer your question? BEN: Yes. this is Tom. I want to learn how to sign fluently. If you become more and more proficient in Spanish. did you want to try that? Ms. HUMPHRIES: I'd like to add to that. Neal. but I've noticed in the community that I would be relied upon as an interpreter rather than a friend. Carol. thanks very much for the call. And the question was: How can he if he becomes--he's afraid that if he becomes an interpreter that he will be seen as an interpreter and no longer as a friend. Jackie wants Carol and Tom to comment on their predictions for the future of ASL and sign languages. And a quick other question. `I'm sitting here with Jackie Roth. So it's good to hear from you. CONAN: Ben. CONAN: Here's an e-mail question we have from Nancy Frishberg. It's Carol. But what I really want to add and I want to add this dimension is that we need to focus on the aspect of language.' Mr. That question predicting the future--that's something we tried to do in the very last chapter of our book. all of a sudden becoming very interested in ASL. If more and more children are benefiting from cochlear implant technology and are communicating without the use of sign language. I think that can happen to just about anybody who becomes bilingual in two different languages. They're using American Sign Language and they see that as a remarkable language and it's used by lots of people here in the United States. Nancy. and I think one part of this debate about cochlear implantation that really focuses on hearing and really focuses on speech--it's true that's what the technology is aiming for.

Some people hear better with it than others. and always have felt. there's a lot of variation in the response to people who have had the implant. the president of Gallaudet University. King Jordan. People get the implant and respond in different ways. I have a lot of confidence that we have gone through so much in our community. while I'm very impressed with it. that at some point. Tom. I'd like to just be clear about the implants. I know the fear is there. we have overcome that. Let me begin by saying cochlear implants are surgically implanted." and I. I think that you voice a fear that many people do in the community. HUMPHRIES: Neal. And let's get another caller on the line. Erin is with us from Rochester. I wanted to talk about cochlear implants. CONAN: And this is a question about the future of cochlear implants and whether their increasing use will lead people in the hearing community to believe that all deaf people can hear and speak English normally. So it's nothing new. ERIN (Caller): Hello. CONAN: You're on the air. Hi. is it's very positive technology. Nancy. there's always been a feeling of some threat by people and their effort to either ban sign language or their efforts to belittle it and trivialize it. Let's throw that question--well. Some of them can hear speech pretty well. you write about this a lot in your book. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. ERIN: Hi. but I really would encourage people not to be afraid. we mention in our book that since the beginning of the community. So I don't want the American public to become biased or misinformed about that. Some of them cannot. CONAN: Hi. but my concern is that as hearing people meet other deaf people that have cochlear implants. First of all. we still have our sign language and we have a lot of confidence that we will always keep it. and that's not the case. Some of them have abandoned the implants . Neal. really. related with how that impacts the deaf community in the future.Mr. ERIN: Hi. I'd like to add something. they may think all deaf people can talk and hear. HUMPHRIES: Yes. over 200 years. It electrically connects to the cochlea inside your ear and then transmits sound. Erin. Mr. because throughout our history. the co-authors of "Inside Deaf Culture. Well. specifically those who are deaf. we do. CONAN: We're talking today about deaf culture. consider them as a sort of microphone that's implanted behind the ear. from inside of the community to have that feeling of fear. Our guests are Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. It's Tom here. go ahead. New York. if we can. My concern. So maybe your panel could talk and share their thoughts about how we can address that issue.

like I. Technology. And as Tom said. Those who use it sometimes only use it for environmental sounds and sometimes cannot understand speech. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. successes.completely. (800) 989TALK. what are we to do? We see one and we think. Back after the break. in general. There's also live captioning of the show available today. (800) 989-8255. you know. I think if the goal is--or the question was back in the beginning that you don't want the public to be misinformed. The public already is misinformed. Or give us a call. But that is the way that it works. many ways to be deaf in the world. CONAN: When we come back from a short break. So I don't want people to get the sense of it's a miracle technology. CONAN: President Jordan. you know. So I don't think there's much that we can do about that. The second thing I wanted to add is that deaf people in situations where they are often the only deaf person in a place. E-mail us at totn@npr. It's just technology. oh. It's been very. we're going to continue our discussion of deaf culture and its future challenges. for example--I am one of few deaf people at my university. It is unfortunate. and there. How are advances in medical science and communications technology changing what it means to be deaf? We want your questions and thoughts. which certainly include technology. and. we have a Cochlear Implant Education Center for the elementary school or in the elementary school. all of whom are using implants. failures. there are many ways. There are many. There's a lot of variation in what it does for people. many different ways to be deaf. Mr. but many don't. is also an opportunity. But we also have high school students. we mix instruction in American sign language with instruction in speech on listening. And people in my university form opinions about all deaf people from seeing and interacting with me. that is how they all are. of course. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. It's not true. At Gallaudet I'm Neal Conan. please go to the Web site. different ways that people deal with implants. I believe it's a model of what we should be doing with young children who are implanted. they think everybody's like the one deaf person they . So there's a lot of variation in the people who do have the implants. www. university students and faculty members. the public has been misinformed about deaf people. To access it. because I am no way a representation of the variation within the deaf community. very successful. JORDAN: There are many. For a person who learns to speak normally using an implant is possible. For 200 years.captionreporters. (Announcements) CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. It really hasn't changed them. and people with implants.

He's been kind enough to join us in Studio 3A. As mentioned. JORDAN: I think it's wonderful. but I don't know if it's throughout the nation. Yes. the better it is. Some members of the GOP got a preview of tonight's speech earlier today. King Jordan. Mr. DC. JESSICA: I wanted to ask what your guests' perspective was on--well. Jessica. the first of his second term tonight. I think it's wonderful. but do your . He's reported to be doing better. Let's get another caller on the line. That's tomorrow on TALK OF THE NATION. president of Gallaudet University here in Washington. They join us from the studios of member station KPBS in San Diego. do you. what the president proposes. historically. CONAN: Sure.. Pope John Paul II is being treated there for breathing problems. Today we're discussing the history and challenges of deaf culture with authors Tom Humphries and Carol Padden. but I use them some with my kids at work. you know. Guest host Joe Palca will be here. they will see no change in Social Security benefits. and I use signs--maybe not the same signs the same way they do. Thank you for taking my call. I'm a preschool teacher. the people who could hear tried to oppress and stop sign language. And this is Jessica. and I find that they sometimes can have an advantage to use some of those signs with them. and I know that there's some videos available here in Utah. Tomorrow on TALK OF THE NATION. President Bush will deliver the State of the Union address. JESSICA (Caller): Hi. it certainly sounds like you could use all the help you can get. You can hear details on those stories coming up later today on "All Things Considered" from NPR News. but I was wondering what their perspective on using signs with hearing kids to help them? CONAN: The question is what about using signs with hearing children? King Jordan. and what may be accomplished. and now there's evidence that hearing parents are using signs with hearing children before they use speech. but is expected to stay for a few more days. JESSICA: Yeah. There's a lot of research that shows children can sign before they can speak. Also with us is I. I think it's just a wonderful thing.And here are the headlines from a couple of the stories NPR News is following this afternoon. I think. And Republican officials on Capitol Hill say President Bush will use tonight's State of the Union address to assure workers 55 and older. I try to use it with my infant son as well. we'll discuss the speech. Jessica is calling from Ogden. The more people who know sign language. CONAN: And. I think it's a little bit ironic. Utah.. Well-wishers have gathered outside a hospital in Rome.

. so I taught last night. because it looks strange in its variety of signing.guests know of other resources for people like me that might be able to use? CONAN: Carol Padden. JESSICA: Thank you. thank you for the call. we are absolutely thrilled to see this going on. HUMPHRIES: Neal. they can have real conversations under the water... So not everything is equal or the same. so it's a really wonderful development from our point of view. you will have some difficulty and mixed response perhaps from people who know ASL. and that definitely helps children develop good early reading skills and that type of thing. not just us or it's not only for deaf people. because sign language itself really is--it is a language in its own right and it can be used by any group of people.. I think more and more. HUMPHRIES: . I teach scuba diving. you know. When they're a little bit older. Mr. I teach scuba at Gallaudet. not only speech but using gestures. Mr. PADDEN: Yes. that you get an ASL--a book or teacher or videotape. `How much air do you have?.' you can have a genuine conversation about what's going on under the water. I think that it's important to tell people that if you're learning American sign language. Actually.I'd like to add something to the caller. you should be able to find some things online. go ahead. and then there are other ways of signing that are very associated and tied to English that some people have invented and used in different situations.. there are signs--they call them signs. Maybe you could go to any bookstore or go online. On Tuesday nights. and they have books specifically for teaching hearing babies. they're more like signals. reaches the attention of the infant. Mr. So I've always wondered why don't more scuba divers learn American sign language? And instead of a basic. Sometimes if you learn another form and you meet deaf people. As deaf people. Ms. I think it's important that there is American sign language. CONAN: Jessica. they can expand their vocabulary. but when two deaf people dive side-by-side. and they expand it to a larger vocabulary. For babies using a different modality to effect communication. so you just need to be careful about making sure that if you want to learn American sign language. When you dive. I think there are a few books that you could find. CONAN: Yes. another language I believe is what's key here. JORDAN: I can give you another fun example of something like this. go look for videotapes or books. make sure it is actually American sign language and not some contrived system that people have made up. Those are some suggestions for--there also are some suggestions for kindergartners and first-graders--to have experience with a different language. Carol here. I'm an instructor.

I'm so sorry. You know deaf people. For example. may I add something? This is Tom. `Are you going to rewrite the first book?' And we said." What is your intention on writing this new book and the impact on the two different books? And." and now your new book that you've written. it's a very small community. Who wants to go first? Ms. to help us understand the present situation of deaf people better. We are writing about things that we did not write about in our first book. This is Carol here. is almost like a sequel. I think I may know who you are. I'm deaf. at that time in 1988. In the first book. CONAN: Thanks very much. Why and how we got here and what happened is very interesting. and Leslie's calling from Rochester. so you're speaking through an interpreter. . PADDEN: Yes. Leslie. LESLIE: Oh. So we want to maybe-and Carol has just added that we're thinking about the future as well. "Inside Deaf Culture. we're talking--we have discussion about genetics and genetic engineering. We'll get an answer from that now from Carol and Tom. Hi. hello. We tried to explain about the basics about deaf culture. So some people have asked us. Leslie. Mr. This time. We write about black deaf schools as part of our historical recounting. about how schools were segregated back then. Leslie. We're trying to use the past to understand the present. the second book. New York. in some ways. we were not going to do that. a book that talks about what has gone on since the first book. we're focused more on understanding of how we got here today by exploring the past. are you there? LESLIE (Caller): Yes. yes. we don't. the moments of the past that were important. yes. Hello. I'm an ASL instructor. `No. We talk about many things that we did not put in our first book.' This book. another call from Rochester. HUMPHRIES: Neal. and we tell how it was and we talk about what has occurred and what it's like today.CONAN: Let's talk now with Leslie. and a lot has happened since that time. we tried to explain. whereas today. Deaf clubs have really started to disappear. So hi there. We talk about deaf theater. Deaf people used to have--we used to have several deaf clubs in many different cities. CONAN: Ahh. and I'd like to ask you a question. in many ways. however. unfortunately. by the way. Carol and Tom. and we tend to know each other. so it's quite different than the first book. So this is. someone mentioned earlier about deaf clubs. You know our first book was written in 1988. Also. especially in the area of the South. and all of this dialogue about deaf culture and what that actually meant. and we wrote one chapter about that pertaining to parts of our history. You recently wrote a book called "Deaf In America: Voices from a Culture. I'm using the Sprint Video Relay Service. to the public what it meant to be a deaf person. So our book starts with the past. Yes.

absolutely. Thank you so very much. Yes and no. Leslie. you know. visually similar signs for rhymes perhaps?' Ms.. I'll take that. yes. For example. There are limits to what languages can and cannot do compared with other languages. as in ASL. Ms. So. I'm also--I'm hoping that the two of you will print a third or fourth book. PADDEN: Carol here. Yes. thank you very much for the phone call. and you can see this when you watch a story. we have storytelling. Others don't. would it be possible to communicate an example?' Mr. I hope. Missouri. we have poetry. Louis.. You're welcome. sure. Thank you very much. and we may be doing that very soon. does ASL incorporate signs for modern vernacular or slang? Can deaf people get jiggy with it or do they develop their own slang like other languages? And if so. Oh. ASL storytelling can take advantage of the visual medium. like something very hip. Mr. All of those vocabulary items use the same hand shape and can be compared to a rhyme. LESLIE: Sure. We have expressive poetry that does rhyme by using the same hand shape. which are very much a part of our culture. Mr. we have what we call language games. You have to remember that there are two different languages. and I'm so happy you asked that question. some very hip-hop thing on MTV. like on MTV. CONAN: Well. We have newer vernaculars . it's a very rich life. PADDEN: Thank you so much. very much a part of our heritage. Some are created within the language with the users. HUMPHRIES: Oh. Or you may have a hand shape representing the letter three that may be able to sign rooster or sophisticated or prim or walking. This is Tom.. because I'm sure there'll be more changes.CONAN: Leslie. HUMPHRIES: Neal. if you use an open palm hand shape. HUMPHRIES: Thanks.. Leslie. The way we tell stories--our storytelling looks a bit like the techniques they use in film or in television or our stories may even look like pictures. CONAN: Here's a. Mr. `Does ASL contain an analogue for poetry. CONAN: Here's an e-mail question we have from Moose(ph) in St. let me just ask this related question from Donny in Dorchester. yes. HUMPHRIES: Oh. you can pick several signs that all use that same hand shape. and it's evident about how much this may look like film or look.. We do write about that in our book. Thank you.. `I was curious. Some translate well. and we can change a lot of the very rich--the richness in the language.

Mr. I think we're seeing a lot of progress made in areas where they have bilingual approaches to education. That was 34 years ago that this all started in terms of my family's journey. to follow up on the discussion of education and choices of language and culture. One of the issues has to do with reading. CAROL: Yeah. We're talking today about deaf culture. Could you comment on the problems of No Child Left Behind?' And. CONAN: I understand. CONAN: Hello. are with us from San Diego. Here with us in Studio 3A is I. We are having some issues with her passing standardized testing for the No Child Left Behind Act. where children are taught in a visual language and then taught to read after they have learned sign language as a first language. King Jordan. Carol. and they both went to the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington. but that was after 10 years of crawling and scraping through educational bureaucracies. but I can sympathize with the notion of standardized tests. . who's with us from Philadelphia. so they learn to read differently than children who are born hearing. `Hello. what placement she is in. I know all of your guests in one capacity or the other. One graduated from Gallaudet.. So when they're given standardized tests.. and I've raised two deaf children in Philadelphia. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. my nine-year-old daughter is deaf. that may be to you. So some are created internally and some can be translated. CONAN: Let's get another caller on the line. The reason I'm calling specifically." Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. you're on the air. I'm an educator of the deaf. DC. Hi. for middle and high school. So I don't know about your nineyear-old daughter--I'm sorry--what kind of an educational setting she's in. JORDAN: Well. but others can't. choices made by hearing parents. The children who are born deaf never hear language. deaf children sometimes don't score at the level we would hope they would score. We are one of the 95 percent of families whose deaf children are born to hearing parents who typically don't have a clue in terms of making good choices for them.that are different than what we find in English. So they don't survive very well if they're not able to be translated. King Jordan. It's a big challenge in education. the president of Gallaudet University. The co-authors of "Inside Deaf Culture. This is Carol. and very specifically in education of the deaf. and children who are born deaf and aren't exposed to sign language lag even further behind. CAROL (Caller): Hello. the notion of accountability and the accountability on standardized testing that appear in No Child Left Behind are really a big issue in education in general today. is because recently I had the occasion to be part of a major education of the deaf conference in Philadelphia. And here's an e-mail question from the Burnett family(ph).

PADDEN: Us. the same kind of feeding on the fears and ignorance of hearing parents that let me waste the first 10 years or so of my children's life by staying away from deaf people. I think. and I could listen to that message all day.. 35 years later. who were also there in San Diego. Thanks very much... a language that was created to be seen. I... there was tremendous amount of time and energy given to the pursuit of oral education. CAROL: . .. Carol.. We're just going to get a quick comment from King Jordan. We can't hear. Carol Padden and Tom Humphries.. CONAN: Well. I'm glad Carol called. HUMPHRIES: Thank you.. once they got their language and their culture. Ms. co-authors of the book "Inside Deaf Culture. away from sign language and away from deaf culture.. Therefore.. PADDEN: Thanks for calling. JORDAN: Oh. And it wasn't until that turned around by my watching what they needed from their perspective and not from this so-called hearing professionals and medical people who really didn't know what they were doing. What language could be better for vision than sign language. which was continued to be. PADDEN: Thanks so much. Bonnie Sherwood and Mala Poe. That changed and that's when their literacy levels shot up and skyrocketed. That was very important to hear her say that. That's so fundamental and simple that people seem to forget it. Neal.. Mr.. And I'd like to thank our guests. We appreciate the effort that went into this program. Ms.simple way to. Mr. who's with us here in the studio. not a language that was created to be heard and spoken. yeah. JORDAN: . deaf people can't hear. Neal. CONAN: Carol. Ms. which I've come to believe is the birthright of every single deaf child in the world.regardless of hearing parents.CONAN: We just have a couple of minutes left. if you could. CONAN: Carol. we see.. Mr." I'd also like to thank their interpreters. too. Mr. Carol. thanks to everybody who called and thanks to everybody who e-mailed. The.put this.. CAROL: Yeah.. JORDAN: . I thank you for the phone call.. So the point was that as a major focus of this conference at Swarthmore College.

Mr. CONAN: Our thanks also to King Jordan. the president of Gallaudet University and his interpreter. HUMPHRIES: And thank the listeners for us. In Washington. Brad Leon. It was a pleasure to be here. we'd especially like to thank Lorraine Carter and Chip Jones of Caption Reporters Incorporated for providing our real-time online text today. Mr. Appreciate your time today. JORDAN: Thank you. LOAD-DATE: February 10. I'm Neal Conan. Thank you very much. 2005 . Neal. NPR News. CONAN: In addition to our guests and their interpreters.