Re: [xmca] performance

Date: Tue Mar 13 2007 - 10:33:34 PST

Thanks Chuk. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner Elizabeth, but thank
you for your reply. I guess my main concern is the idea of performance
acting as a "validation" of language, or reinforcing language as an avenue
towards cultural identity and thus mediating cultural identity. The
thought of theatre and poetry playing such a prominent role in the
development of ASL as a language is interesting. Did they play such a role
in "spoken" languages as well? My guess is they did. Goodey describes how
theatre/performance mediated information transmission between literate and
nonliterates persons in the 18th & 19th century. I suppose this
would/could be a similar way of looking at performance in terms of spoken
language, though I don't know if it would effect identity as it did in the
Deaf community...


> the book explains that asl was understood as a mix between french sign,
> signs practiced already in america (e.g. on martha's vineyard and other
> places with more than a few deaf people), and sign 'languages' that are
> just
> translations of enligh. asl was not recognized as its own language until
> william stokoe published "sign languaage structure" in 1960. (of course,
> i'm
> sure there was someone before and more people also important after)
> it seems impossible now to imagine asl as english (being more closely
> related to a sign language connected with french), but it took alot of
> change in the culture for deaf people to believe in asl as being its own
> language. i think that reality is what camille is writing about when she
> says that asl became no longer a translation of english
> also the performance discussed most in the book is deaf theater and
> poetry,
> which was given mostly to deaf (and mixed) audiences, but only rarely to
> hearing ones. this book is more concerned with deaf people's
> understanding
> of themselves as a Deaf culture.
> On 3/8/07, elizabeth anne daigle <> wrote:
>> Camille,
>> Your post raises a number of questions for me. Since I haven't read the
>> book you mention, I am not entirely clear on 'performance'-- (time
>> frame?
>> genre?) but am imagining something like 'Children of a Lesser God' and
>> other
>> plays or movies that ultimately served as educational vehicles for the
>> hearing public (whereas a trail of linguistic research was less
>> effective in
>> changing popular opinion).
>> The propaganda against ASL has a long history, but I am intrigued as to
>> how the authors make the argument that in finally having ASL accepted by
>> the
>> Others as a real and complete language Deaf people changed their
>> conception
>> of it.
>> I am specifically confused by this
>> (you wrote:)-
>> Deaf people began viewing ASL differently
>> once it was established and carried out in performance. It was no longer
>> a
>> mere translation of English, but was its own language with signs and
>> meanings not found in the English language.
>> Do the authors claim that ASL was at some point a translation of
>> English??
>> If so, it's no wonder you're confused.
>> All of this is not to say that your questions are not interesting, but -
>> at least to me- the specifics you're relating them to are
>> misleading. Perhaps you can clarify?
>> -
>> Elizabeth
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