Translated from Dutch. Original article by Gaston Dorren.
When I told my friends that I had joined a sign language course, there were two kinds of surprising reactions. Firstly, they showed much more interest than when I was learning Danish, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Romanian or Czech. (No, I don’t speak those languages. And yes, my friends got a lot to digest.) Sign languages seem to entice a lot of curiosity.
Secondly, even though my friend circles consist of a lot of master degree holders, and a doctor, I heard quite a few distressingly misinformed remarks about sign language. Despite so much evangelism in the beginning of the eighties by linguists and sign language advocates, many of the first misconceptions are still around. This is why I have set myself a simple goal: I will summarize seven common, but incorrect assumptions, and will deal with every one of them.
Continue reading A meaningful silence
Recently, I became acquainted with a British fellow, who has serious plans of moving to and working in Japan. There is nothing special about this – there are many people thinking about living in another country, and there are many expatriates sharing their experiences – except for the fact that this fellow and I are both deaf. He noticed on my public resume that I have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, level 2 (old system, equivalent to the current N2), and asked me how I learned Japanese. I pointed him to an article I wrote a few years ago on another website, which I am reposting here with some edits. He told me he has been looking for this kind of information since a long time ago. The reason is that most language learning websites also suggest listening to audio tapes, and other methods which are not really suited to deaf people who also want to learn the language.
So here is my advice. Please note that this advice is by no means limited to deaf students – I believe everybody who wants to learn the Japanese language, will benefit from this article.
Continue reading Learning Japanese – some advice for the deaf