Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
I’ve been following several debates on a list for Deaf academics recently – I’m kind of privileged to even be able to follow it, given that I’m not deaf. It’s predominantly a list with academics in the US, UK, Australia etc… there are very few from non-English writing countries and all discussions are held in written English.
So, a recently mail caught my eye asking why it was that there was no method for posting in sign language – either ASL, BSL or any other.
The idea that this is even a sensible suggestion is one that should make the hearing world sit up and take notice. The idea that a group of internationally dispersed academics could conduct academic discussions in a number of different sign languages and all make sense of each other is something that the hearing world should marvel at. Sign languages, however you theorise them, as long as they are natural languages and not some form of signed spoken system like SSE or Cued Speech, are able to flow towards each other in the iconic which still carrying nuanced meaning in a way that spoken languages (with their so-easily-broken point and click sound=meaning reference system) could never do.
But there’s another thought that makes the question pertinent – which is where are the V-lists?
We now have the web tech to create v-lists… so why aren’t we doing it? You wouldn’t want to carry the video in the mail, it would be too big, but you could simply refer people back to a URL on a site like YouTube?
But lists are easy, you just click ‘reply’ and have done with it.
Perhaps Twitter is the answer as you can record the video direct from within the tweet on something like Tweetdeck
What would it take to set up a ‘list’ that worked with video?