Monday, April 7, 2008

What are your thoughts?

Good morning. It dawned on me over the weekend that it would be a lot easier to answer questions and clear up confusion if I actually knew what the questions and confusion was. So here is your chance to ask questions. Please try to limit them to cochlear implants, early language acquisition, or speech and sign language issues. I may not have the answers, but I will do my best to track them down. Some of the other bloggers on this site may also be the ones taking the reins and answering some of the questions.

I also have a topic for discussion. Within the Signing Exact English group that I have been involved in, the sign for the cochlear implant (snake bite behind the ear) was seen as derogatory and somewhat insulting. We instead used the letter C to I at or just behind the ear. This issue was discussed within the CI Circle several years ago, and since this group is nation and world wide, I know this is not strictly a local issue. The CI Circle also preferred the C to I sign rather than the snake bite sign. So now I want to know what you think. I would love to hear from CI users and those without implants. What are your thoughts?


Native ASL/CI parent and child said...

Interesting timing because my friend and i was talking about the variations for the sign CI yesterday.

I am used to the snake bite sign and I use it on purpose. Probably because I have no qualms about the CI consideering the facthat I am a native Deaf with CI and having a CI kid. It is like an African American calling their own kind whatever they want, but a whitte person can not dare call a Black person the N word.

I like the snake bite. My child uses the sign as well. I do not give a d*** what the non_CI Deaf folks think of us... probably because my footing in the Deaf community is firm as a fifth Deaf gen'er.

But I do empathize with some of the CI folks out there. I endorse the fingerspelled CI sign to refer to cochlear imlants.

Theres another sign using the U handshape to the back of the ear... I think that's an UGLY sign. Yuk.

Lets' advocate for the fingerspelled CI loan sign!


heartie7 said...

It depends on the person's preference, but I really think that the "behind-the-ear" sign (with two fingers together) should be universal because it has no negative connotation and it really mirrors the shape of the CI. Sometime people just sign the snake unintentionally because that is what he/she was taught, and I won't make an argument out of it, but I will model the sign if necessary.

Grendel said...

Oh ... we've been using the H handshape, with two straight fingers together behind the ear. I've seen the claw, snake, or "vampire" approach, but usually that seems to be done by people who feel negatively about a cochlear implant. It doesn't offend me, and I actually like knowing where people stand on the issue up front :) .

Li-Li's Mom

[sorry about the schizophrenic naming, in Blogger, my account is under the name Grendel (my dog)]

mishkazena said...

The S.E.E group shouldn't be dictating to the culturally Deaf people what their signs should be. This decision belongs to the ASL-utilizing Deaf Community alone.

Personally I don't see any negative innuendos with the c.i. sign behind the ear. It is a realistic sign, showing the physical appearance of a c.i.

I believe the sign wasn't used to indicate the snake bite, but that it is hooked on the head.

raychelle said...

People say that the snake-bite (the handshape for two, bent at the knuckles) sign is associated with negative signs such as BLIND, STEAL, VAMPIRE, etc. I disagree because there are plenty of other bent-two handshapes used for other signs that are not negative or derogatory, such as SQUIRREL, SIT, UMPIRE, TRAVEL and ANALYZE. So that argument that the handshape itself is negative is not a good one.

K.L., you ask a very good question and I'm curious myself... which one do ASL-CI users prefer?

The bent-two handshape
The U-handshape, or
Fingerspelling "CI".

As you might have noticed, in my vlogs, I tend to alternate between the bent-two handshape and fingerspelling "CI".... but am open to learning about why this or that is a better sign.

Also, you can set up a poll on this blog asking people to vote :)

J.Matheson said...

I use the vampre one because that was what I were taught to use. I have no problem with that sign. You can tell when those non-ci folks are making fun or being negative about it bu their expressive/body language.

Li-Li's Mom said...

J.Matheson's got a good point -- I'm comfortable with whatever sign the arbiters of ASL select, as long as the associated facial expression is positive and not painful :)

While we're on the topic, though, what is the official standard bearer or source of new words and usage in ASL (like the Oxford English Dictionary of ASL)?

Jean Boutcher said...

Interesting discussion going on here. I use the handshape of snake-bite for both CI and hearing aid. The reason for utilising this handshape is based on how a person "inserts" the CI behind the ear or a hearing aid in the ear. I sometimes fingerspell "CI".

kw said...

I use the "snakebite" sign. It was taught to me by three different Deaf ASL teachers in my area. One is married to a man with a CI and another used to wear a CI herself for awhile before it failed. Since none of them are against the CI, I never got the impression it was a negative sign.

Anonymous said...

i dont see it as derogatory..
i have been teaching ASL for 30 some years...i tell my ASL students to work with your muscles..
(some folks have nerve problems)

most signs are iconic anyway..

Dyniece said...

I've used both the "snakebite" sign and the fingerspelling of C.I. for a long time, however I've noticed that more people are using the "U" handshape behind the ear, and I have to say I like it!

Anonymous said...

I use the "U" handshape behind the ear because I find the snakebit sign offending. Originally it was created to show the old one-channel implants that had holes and no magnet - that's why.. Now that we use magnet for implants, I prefer to use the "u" shape.

Anonymous said...

well ..... it only way to see which most VERY Popular sign all over in USA that sign well known.
Let all Deaf Teachers ASL that teach anybody .... Get the VOTES!
Then put it down on books for to print out the ASL BOOKS to keep spread out to teach what is the right way.