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Cued Speech [was: Re: Sign Language?]

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 17:25
At 3:18 PM -0800 1/14/03, Sarah Marie Parker-Allen wrote:
> >In case you don't know what Cued Speech is (it's a bit hard to explain, and >I only know about it thanks to my father's brother, whose son is deaf), >here's a few links: > > > >I should probably point out that in the case of Cued Speech, you'd likely >only actually have to come up with a few extra signs (at most); it's >flexible enough that you can use it as is for almost all the Romance >languages. This is a basic card with the signs; though technically they say >this is a tool for teaching only and isn't accepted within the Deaf >community, I know at least three families that use it exclusively (including >mine) for communication, and eschew ASL or Signed Exact English: > >
Three years ago at the University of Utah, I had a student in one of my courses who had a Cued Speech transliterator. I was very interested, since it was obvious that what she was doing was not ASL. Cued Speech is not meant to be a language in the same sense as ASL; it is meant to be an alternate representation of the ambient spoken language. The signs of Cued Speech represent a phonological level somewhat intermediate between the phonemic and the phonetic. Thus, the sounds of the language are represented manually. Since Cued Speech is meant to be a phonemic representation (roughly), all it takes for the representation of other languages is to ensure that the phonemic system is mapped to the system of signs. I was quite impressed with the fluency of signing. You'll notice that there are two websites (.com and .org). There is a growing division in the Cued Speech community; one of the points of contention is how abstract the phonology of English is which must be represented, with one faction wanting a very surfacy representation (.com), and the other wanting more abstraction (.org). There's more to it than that, but that's what it boiled down to for me, and I have forgotten the particulars now (I did some consulting work last year for the Cued Speech and Language Association of Utah; they were preparing materials and wanted someone who knew about English phonology). I'm not interested in debating the issue of Cued Speech vs ASL in the deaf community; there are very strong feelings on both sides of the divide. I will only say that the families I met who use Cued Speech are satisfied that it meets their needs. What more can you reasonably expect? Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "It is important not to let one's aesthetics interfere with the appreciation of fact." - Stephen Anderson