https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Deaf baby becomes first person in Britain to have her sign language name on birth certificate.

Usagiboy7
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Update, you can also get more information from Deaf London

A deaf couple have become the first people in Britain to record their baby's name in sign language on her birth certificate. Theatre director Paula Garfield, 47, and her partner Tomato Lichy, 39, from Wembley, north London, wanted to record Hazel's name in British Sign Language (BSL), but said they were initially told by their local Brent Register Office that it was impossible. Now their personal name for four-year-old Hazel, a reference to her smiling face, has pride of place on her birth certificate - as UbOtDDstarL.

The U represents the chin, bO means a 'baby O' made with the thumb and forefinger, tD means 'hands facing the signer', Dstar means 'the handshape opens' and L shows the shape of the hand. Put that together and it makes a small O shape held at the chin, which then opens into an L shape.

'My daughter's sign name is what it is because her first expression was a smile,' she said. 'There's no way to translate it perfectly into English. 'But we went to the register office and they said it was "ridiculous, you can't register a sign name, don't be silly". So we got in touch with a solicitor, who said the law allows people to have their name on a birth certificate "in their own language".'

'We've been so used to having our language dismissed and we've accepted that. The law is there, and we have rights.

Read more

There are bits left out of the quoted sections above. So, I recommend reading the full article, linked just above. :)

A recurring theme of colonization is the attempt to wipe out the languages of the groups being colonized. Minority groups are often told when and where they are allowed to use their language, (if at all). Even still today, hearing majorities are attempting to undermine Deaf cultural identity by exerting institutional pressure against signed languages. I don't know much about BSL, but in the US, hearing politicians and teachers have tried many strategies to wipe out ASL and weaken deaf people's connection to it. The government closed schools that allowed ASL and replaced them with schools that focused on oralism. Other schools tried to replace ASL with Signed Exact English (SEE).

Language is powerful. Language extinction is limiting our potential as a species to explore, think, and discover. I am strongly in favor of encouraging access and usage of language towards that end (and others), whether spoken-written, signed, signed-written, and so forth. So, I am excited to read that BSL is gaining momentum towards having the same recognized rights as other languages. :)

PS Like I said, I don't know much about BSL, but, I got to watch my friend trying to decipher si5s for the first time. (My friend is fluent in ASL and part of the Deaf community.) I was amazed at how intuitive si5s was for them. If you'd like to check out various ASL writing scripts, including si5s, check out this page.

Is there anything like this for BSL? Have you used it?

*Disclaimer: I am not deaf or hard of hearing. My interest in cultural colonization and signed languages comes from talking with friends who are part of the Deaf community. I've tried to express some of the thoughts they've previously shared with me. It is important to note that the Deaf community is as diverse as any other. So, not everyone agrees with everyone else about these topics. And, as a hearing person, I may have made mistakes somewhere in what I've said do to a misunderstanding. If so, I apologize.

1 year ago

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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A marvellous story

thank you for this story .

http://jackelliot.over-blog.com/2017/04/the-deaf-language-on-a-birth-cerificate.html

But signing a death certificate is not always a straightforward process.

It is interesting to see how differing languages have a legal status

.

.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hopeisnotlost

Thanks for sharing.Amazing things determination and language are.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dr_Patriot
1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Thanks!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SLEJ4
SLEJ4
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Thanks for sharing!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-CEREZA-
-CEREZA-
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Wow! What an amazing achievement for the Deaf community. And a fitting time too, considering it's #DeafAwarenessWeek ! Thanks for sharing :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Oh hey! I didn't realize it was Deaf Awareness Week :D Cool!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Osnakezz
Osnakezz
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Why would a person get a sign language name on his birth certificate? The child does not speak a language yet when it's born. Deaf people talk through using sign language in person, but they don't write in sign language - they instead use normal writing.

Seems a bit ridiculous to me, if you ask.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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"Her", the baby making history was assigned female at birth. Whether that assignment was accurate or not will take some time to determine. But, for the moment, this piece of history belongs to a girl. :)

If someone speaks Chinese, (whether or not they will have an English nickname for their kid to accommodate English speaker's difficulty with Chinese pronunciation--scenario for the sake of the situation), wouldn't it be weird to expect them to put that nickname for their baby on the Birth Certificate instead of the child's actual name?

BSL is a fully legitimate language with native speakers who don't all speak English. If there are bumps to validating that fact in 2017, it is because prejudice and discrimination (audism) has held up the process. I am happy for these people and their child. Finally, their legal rights are being upheld.

I don't fully grasp why people are upset, unless they are having a go to try to rial people up. Or, are people upset that it will make reading the child's name on the Birth Certificate difficult for English speakers? That is a silly thing to be upset about, considering that there are plenty of names from other languages that would be difficult (or impossible) for English speakers who don't know those languages or their scripts. But, people are not arguing that those parents are using their child for publicity.

BSL is not English. ASL is also not English. (BSL and ASL are also not the same language. In fact, they are very different from one another. ASL is linguistically of much closer relation to French Sign Language.)

And as a final piece, for a non-verbal language without a standard written language, there is no such thing as "normal" writing for this situation. We are in an amazing time for language history right now. Maybe we will watch some written forms for one or more sign languages become standardized in our lifetime. So, maybe get out of the way and let it happen.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
elvperPlus
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I completely agree. People will just like the story without thinking of the complications. I also find it hard to respect the decision and I think it's very selfish of the parents to use their baby as a billboard of themselves / of something they believe in.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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Really? The link was to the Daily Mail, so I'm sure there was a lot of criticism and stirring of the pot going on (I do think people should be clear about what they're linking to, many people choose to avoid the Wail's site like the plague). I'm not sure why we are talking about a three year old 'news' story, though.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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This story relates to language access. To me as a sign language learner, it is relevant to the culture.

The story is not exclusive to the Daily Mail. I looked through a few sites running the story and posted the first one that was not so full of adds. After further looking into it just now, here is more info about it from Deaf London.

:)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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Well, another time perhaps you could do us all a favour and be up front about what you're linking to, will you, as many UK readers won't touch that site with a bargepole, misogynistic xenophobic clickbait laden with dodgy ads that it is.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I learn something new everyday. It's not a website I'm familiar with, so, thanks for the run down. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gay4Lingots

What could go wrong with parent's rights over naming their child?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizsue
lizsue
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Some native signers do write in their native languages too. ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sweilan1

Awesome article. Seems as if the general public is becoming more Deaf aware and less audist.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EpicPowerHero

That's a great article, thanks for posting it! I agree with what you said about languages being wiped out. I've hoped to learn ASL someday. I imagine it would be hard to use ASL, with so many Americans not knowing it. I think instead of focusing on wiping out ASL the government should try to spread it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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ASL popularity is on the rise. It's a great time to learn it. Just, be careful. There are hearing people making YouTube videos and trying to pass off SEE as ASL, or who are oblivious about ASL grammar and syntax. Basically, there are a lot of people who are bad at ASL who are trying to teach it to others online. Make sure to check what their credentials. (That is why I like LifePrint so much, solid creds.)

Some SEE has been normalized into ASL as well. So, your local Deaf community is the expert on the language it is using. If they are using a mixture of ASL and SEE, don't argue with them. Respect their agency to take in and use loan words. But, if you are using an SEE sign and they ask you not to use it, please respect that. :)

To find other local signers, check with local universities and community colleges. Ask if they have sign language clubs. Check for local facebook groups to find Deaf socials. (But, if you are a hearing person, ask whether it is ok for you to attend. If they say yes, ask if it is a "voice off" event. (Voice off means no spoken English. Sometimes, writing on paper/phone is ok. Get clarification.)

And, as with other languages, there are likely people who would like to practice over the internet. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EpicPowerHero

Thanks! I'll have to remember this advice if I do begin speaking with ASL signers. When you sign on the internet however do you have to do it over video call?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Yep. As for where to learn it, Memrise is good for picking up a handful of individual signs. But, not so good if you want to become conversational. So, I recommend LifePrint and Bill Vicar's YouTube channel. (Bill Vicars runs LifePrint).

I use a combination of Evernote, LifePrint, and that YouTube channel to help me practice outside of conversation with signers. I uploaded LifePrint's hyperlinked vocab lists onto Evernote (it syncs between phone and computer, which is great. And I just had to copy and past the links into the computer, then sync it to my phone.) Most of these vocab lists are linked to a video of how to do the sign, in case I have forgotten. When I'm on a bus or waiting for an appointment, I can go through the lists and practice the vocab.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EpicPowerHero

Thanks! I was thinking it would be great if Duolingo had an ASL course, but then I just realized that Duo isn't really made to be able to learn signed languages.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hopeisnotlost

Good advice!I learned ASL from neighbor of mine who use to teach at a school.I didn't know there were ways to write it through.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EpicPowerHero

How different is the grammar from English?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sweilan1

Extremely different. No verb conjugations. No verb tenses. No personal pronouns. Classifiers. Facial expressions. Use of space.....

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I would even ask a school teacher's credentials. There are a lot of unqualified people advertising that they know ASL and then getting paid to teach it for k-12 etc. Things to look for are members of the Deaf community and Codas (Child of a deaf adult), state certification, Masters and Ph.D degrees.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sweilan1

If your instructor is an interpreter, ask if he or she is RID certified.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hopeisnotlost

I think they should too.And if you try to learn ASL I'll be glad to try to help you.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Imgayforyou

I enjoy That you have shared this==Thank You==

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zerr_
Zerr_
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This is interesting, thanks for posting.

I have a question about this: I don't know sign language. If I wanted to talk about her in real life, what would I do? Sign the name? Call her /u'bɑtd:stɑ:el/?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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That is a good question. I would guess that among English speakers, you can refer to her as Hazel, since the parents also included it on her Birth Certificate. There is also a video of the interview either in the Daily Mail site I originally linked, but I'm almost certain I recall it being in the Deaf London site I just edited into the top of my post. It has her parents showing how to sign her name too. :)

PS I would guess that it would be /u'bɑtd:stɑ:el/, as those letters are demonstrating motion, rather than sound. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lizsue
lizsue
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Also see https://www.handspeak.com/write/index.php?id=3 for more on ways to write sign languages. :) From the link,

...Regardless of the writing systems, it's a Deaf community that will evolve a writing system and its digits to the highest potential of writing. No writing system [for ASL] will be official for the next years to ensure that it gives the Deaf community a room to experiment and evolve some digits to the highest efficient usage.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dr_Patriot

Looks cool. Reminds me of the idea of writing names in IPA next to their truly "written" forms.

1 year ago
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