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This is my sig: Pah! Deaf with a capital D. Do you know what it means?

 photo katie_zps4a6c7eef.jpg

I've explained this before, but, again, Pah refers to the mouth movement, aka mouth morphemes, Deaf people make when they sign success, finally, or at last, or similar words, and if it were vocalized as a word, it would sound like pah. Mouth morphemes give context and meaning to a sign.

Pah! has become a catchphrase for the deaf community, and it has to do with the Deaf President Now movement where they successfully ousted a hearing president in favor of a deaf one at our nation's only liberal arts college for the deaf.

The second part of my sig comes from an episode of Switched at Birth, an ABC Family drama about two girls, one deaf and one hearing, who were, well, switched at birth. In the photo on the left, the actress Katie Leclerc, who portrays the deaf child who was switched, is wearing a Pah! shirt.

In that Switched at Birth episode, one of the deaf characters, Travis is considering a cochlear implant, and another deaf character, Emmett scoffs and says, "You're Deaf with a capital D."

What Emmett was saying was that Travis is so immersed in the deaf culture, he couldn't imagine why he would want to hear. There is a fear among some deaf people that they would lose their Deaf identity if they got a cochlear implant. I don't want to get down into the weeds about CIs, but Deaf people rarely give up their Deaf identity, even after they get implanted.

Television show or not, the truth is Deaf vs deaf has been around for a long time.

Capital D Deaf refers to people who consider themselves part of the deaf community, who use and advocate American Sign Language, and are immersed in the deaf culture.

Small letter deaf refers to the disability, and also to hearing-impaired people who do not consider themselves part of the deaf community. People who lose their hearing due to aging would be in that group, but there are also people who become deaf while young who shun the deaf community or deaf culture for whatever reason.

So, though this is not my whole identity, it does play a major part- Deaf with a capital D.

Who are you? This is an open thread, so feel free to discuss whatever comes to mind.

I leave you with this remarkable video. The beginning shows deaf people from different countries signing, "I am deaf." Considering that there is no universal sign language, the signs, at least for this particular phrase, are strikingly similar.

PS While we are at it, deaf and dumb is offensive. Yes, I know it's "just an expression," but so are many offensive expressions. Cease and desist!

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