Friday, March 30, 2007

Linguicism Toward Deaf Signers

Carl Schroeder of Kalaku's Korner blogger/vlogger wrote his comments on John F. Ebgert's 3/30/07 whether Alexander Graham Bell (AGB)'s action equaled "racism" of denying the linguistic minority (deaf signers) such privileges and societal rights to the use of "natural language".

Racism is not really a logical term to describe AGB's eugenics movement for imposing linguistic and cultural superiority/eradication upon deaf American signers of the late 1800's and early 1900's. More approriate terms are linguistic imperialism or attempt to "linguicide" the sociocultural minority, ex. deaf signers of the post-Milan Conference period from conveying and expressing their own thoughts in practical and efficient language usage.

"Linguicism" could be also an acceptable term to describe AGB's misguided ideology of assimilating or centralizing the sociolinguistic minority into the society at large on so-called equal basis. Racism?? No! No!

Deaf Americans and other deaf people everywhere, could enact the strategtic multilingualism policies to ensure the protection and preservation of our beloved and precious language (ASL, LSF, BSL and other more) from possibility of linguistic extinction/loss and sociocultural genocide or undermine the existence of minority language usage.

Deaf People everywhere ought to call for the non-intervention policy to make our natural language of the deaf to the protected status to the listing of endangered language usage in the United States and other countries.

The Auslan language (Australian Sign Language) already have been formally recognized by the Australia national government as "community language" other than spoken/written English and the preferred language of the Deaf Australian Community as the language policy statement(s) in 1987 and 1991. (1)

There are numerous struggles to preserve and formalize the language usage somewhere like Pakistan (Bangla language) and other places nowadays. Such endangered languages have been revived from Hebrew to Hawaiian Language lately. Aragonese, Gaelic and Aramaic language are non-existent language usage so far.

We really could make the language policy of protecting and recognizing the American Sign Language (ASL) at Gallaudet University and other educational facilities of the deaf without making the non-ASL users feel threatened or compromised. That is about the matter of linguistic embraceness and self-determination involved American Sign Language (ASL) and other natural sign language.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)

References -

(1) Lo Bianco (1987). National Policy on Languages. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service

Dawkins J (1991). Australia's Language: The Australian Language and Literacy Policy. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.


This e-article on RLMDEAF blog is copyright protected under the U.S. Copyright Law without properly recognize the contribution of author listed above, 30th March 2007.


  1. Who will be the first great ASL novelist, and be like, "the Victor Hugo of the North American Deaf Community"? It might be possible to do now, with computer technology, to write "video novels" in ASL.

    We need something a major literary star of this caliber to help achieve better what Robert is proposing, to be able to say "Nay" to the naysayers in a very convincing way (and say "Yay!" to the "yaysayers" at the same time.)

  2. Wow! I really never thought about the video novel(s) in ASL.

    You surely have an excellent imagination/vision of futurism like the French futuristic visionary, Victor Hugo! He also envisioned the existence of fax machine and mobile television screen on the wristwatch and elevators in ahead of his time.

    You kinda embolded the image of me swung "Yay!" on PBS's documentary - "Thru Deaf Eyes" from the video excerpt of DPN nighttime rally.

    You were one of very few individuals noticed me from this documentary. :)


  3. Hi Robert,

    Your explanation helped me think more about the term of "linguicide". I just found that word in Wikipedia and there are 4 categories that cause the death of language. Please read below that I copied from Linguicide's Wikipedia.

    Which one below that applies to AGB's nefarious method on our own language.

    1. imposition or prohibition of a language by state authorities

    2. linguistic competition (e.g. English vs. French in scientific publications)

    3. natural decline in populations that speak the language

    4. a colonial era language overwealming the indiginous people's languages, i.e. The Americas and Oceania.

    Keep up with your blogs and some day in the future hope you can vlog!


  4. Deafchip,

    I am really glad that you did check out the related term - "linguicide" on the ISP.

    So we could peppered ourselves with such knowledge of incorporating ASL into deaf classrooms and social scenes under the protected status of endangered language.

    That's what we could fight off sociocultural imperialism from the New Deaf Order to the English-only proponents under legal protection.

    I have some questions regarding the so-called strategic multilingualism language policy whether ASL is just another communication mode, not really seen as a true language.

    Everyone know that the Language Contact (SEE), PSE and LOVE and Total Communication are not really the language(s) themselves.

    You could see why there was the communication policy at Gallaudet University under IKJ's leadership, not the language policy.

    I hope that Dr. Davila and Roz Rosen and other higher education of the deaf finally embrace ASL into their language policy, not the communication policy.

    Of course, ASL is a visual language itself, not written or spoken language.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  5. I'm glad you got your own blog. I really enjoy it! keeep it up.

    Der Sankt

  6. Many thanks for your compliment, Der Sankt.

    I also look forward to see you and other deaf performers on NBC's "Law and Order" deaf epsiode next April 3rd. :) I am still curious about the storyline/plot involved deaf people on this crime drama show.

    I rarely watch "Law and Order" shows, but will give this one a chance. :)


  7. Don't forget that the terms "race" and "racism" have different uses depending on the context. It's possible to use it in the context of talking about the genetics of deafness, although it's a good idea to explain clearly what is meant.

  8. I pondered about Carl Schroeder's comments last weekend on John Egbert to be kinda logical whether AGB was guilty of practicing "racism" against the Deaf people of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Too bad, Carl Schroeder never found any opporunity to defend his agrument about AGB being a racist on Ebgert's blog on this blog.

    AGB's attempts to ban the intermarriage of deaf people and undermine the deaf education with the use of sign language were not classified as "racism".

    Carl Schroder probably was right all along the way about AGB engaged in the concept of racism.


  9. Excellent msg! That is what Our Deaf Community in this country need to have a new law to protect ASL as a linguistic minority! But is that ready to accept the idea of having a new law to protect ASL will affect whole education of the Deaf and will lead to improve the education of the Deaf and would not confuse ASL or Oralist but strenght the position of ASL far better!