Blog topic written by Hannah Mann, staff writer at DeafandHoH.com
This week’s topic will be regional dialects.
Each region has its own way of speaking (or signing), even within the same language. There is the infamous Southern drawl, which my father would slip into when he was angry or excited; the urbane British accent that many Americans find endearing; even sign languages have their own dialects. For instance, Wisconsin’s brand of ASL has several signs that are not used anywhere else, like the sign for “brown” that uses the “R” handshape.
I find that some accents or dialects are easier for me to understand than others. Since I have many Southern relatives and they tend to speak slower, I have an easier time understanding them. On the other hand, I couldn’t really understand my Philosophy professor’s Australian accent, though I was fascinated by it. I can even lipread British or Chinese accents—that is, I may not necessarily understand what these people are saying, but I can often guess where they’re from by the way they shape their mouths.
I haven’t had the opportunity to actually see other dialects of ASL in action yet, but maybe I’ll get to do that this week when I go to New Orleans for a plenary panel. It’ll be an interesting experience for sure.
Come to this Wednesday’s Open Chat Night and discuss regional dialects and accents—your own, other people’s, how your hearing loss plays into it, and what you think. Hope to see you folks this Wednesday!
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