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Discourse Part VI: Signs of the DB Community Chapter 4.3.6.

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Presentation on theme: "Discourse Part VI: Signs of the DB Community Chapter 4.3.6."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discourse Part VI: Signs of the DB Community Chapter 4.3.6

2 Overview This presentation shows some of the distinctive signs used within the Deaf- Blind Community. There is some overlap with the presentation on DB Community discourse practices. The signs are shown in citation form and follow regular morphological processes to become nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.


4 Blind The sign for “blind” is a variation of the common sign but made on the upper cheek instead of just below the eyes. It is almost always made in the compound form: “deaf-blind”. This is also used to refer to ‘deaf-blind’ people who have useful vision just as the sign ‘deaf’ is used to include people with useful hearing.

5 Classic ASL Sign: Blind

6 Variation used by DB Community : Blind

7 Sighted The sign ‘sighted’ refers both deaf- sighted and hearing-sighted people. It can be made with one hand or with two hands. It would be glossed as a compound “sharp-eyes”.

8 Sighted

9 Usher Syndrome Usher Syndrome – typically referred to simply as “Ushers” – is the most common cause of deaf-blindness. The sign is made on the side of the face from forehead to chin changing from a “U” handshape to an “S” handshape as it moves downward.

10 Usher’s

11 “Usher” The sign “Usher Syndrome” is used as both a medical term (the genetic cause of the condition) and to imply the history of the person and their communication. Thus the ASL sentence “Melinda [is] Usher.” means Melinda was born deaf, developed tunnel vision which made her miss things…, etc.

12 ‘Usher I’ is Unmarked In ASL the sign “Usher” implies Usher I. If Usher II or III are meant, it is usually explicitly stated. (See glossary of the curriculum.)

13 Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Retinitis Pigmentosa is the cause of the blindness component of the Usher Syndrome. People can have RP without a hearing loss, or RP with a minor hearing loss in which case they are typically simply considered ‘blind’ (not deaf-blind). The syndrome Usher includes both deafness and RP.

14 RP The sign is made on the side of the face from forehead to chin changing from a “R” handshape to an “P” handshape as it moves downward. Coincidentally, this formula for signing syndromes has been extended to others, most notably Wardenburg and Downs.

15 Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

16 Tunnel Vision Tunnel vision (poor peripheral vision) is an early symptom of Usher. The sign “tunnel-vision” implies Usher Syndrome. ‘Night blindness’ or poor light reception and difficulty seeing in dim light is also an early symptom of Usher and is also implied in the sign ‘tunnel vision’.

17 Tunnel Vision Sign The sign for tunnel vision is a compound sign made in two movements bordering the face. The first indicates blocked side vision; the second blocked vision above and below, forming a “tunnel”.

18 Tunnel Vision

19 Tactile-Manual Communication Tactile Signing (meaning the use of both signs and fingerspelling tactually) is a mimetic sign showing the action. The non-dominant (receptive) hand is on top of a dominant (signing) hand and moving roughly in a rowing motion as in the sign for “sign-language”.

20 Tactile/Tactual Signing Circular motion up-away-down-toward-up.

21 Tactile Fingerspelling When tactile fingerspelling is distinguished from a tactual way of receiving sign, it follows the ASL production that might be glossed as “giving-data”. This can be made two ways: In the same position as reading signs Towards the receptive hand.

22 Tactile Fingerspelling Sharp outward movement as the hand opens; repeated.

23 Tactile Fingerspelling, cont. This version of the sign often indicates a person who only reads fingerspelling (and not Sign Language).

24 Print-on-Palm (POP) A communication method. Printing letters – spelling things out in block letters on the palm of the DB person. This was used to communicate with others who did not know Sign Language. While it is still used today, this method is not common.

25 ‘Printing’ with your Finger on the Palm of the DB person.

26 POP Uses Block Letters

27 “Writing” Numbers Numbers are often difficult to discern tactually and context does not provide the answer. Printing the numbers on one’s palm is often more clear and a DB person may ask the signer to do this.

28 Listening The ASL sign for listening by ear has been extended to mean listening by eye (‘reading’ Sign Language). This has been extended to mean listening by hand (‘reading’ Sign Language tactually).

29 Visual Listening The thumb is placed at the point of reception (eye) and the fingers curl and open repeatedly signifying ‘drawing/receiving’ the information.

30 Tactual Listening Here the thumb is also placed at the point of reception (the palm) then open and closes as before.

31 Tracking ‘Tracking’ is tracking the hands with both one’s own hand and eyes. Proprioception (knowing where one’s own body is) helps the listener know where to focus their eyes. This is done by DB people with a very narrow tunnel of vision and serves as a transition to listening tactually.

32 Tracking This is a picture of a DB person actually using tracking to read Sign Language. The sign (shown on the next slide) is again mimetic showing a receptive hand tracking the signing hand.

33 Tracking, cont.


35 Moving Back This sign identifies the practice of backing up or positioning oneself farther from the other signer(s) than would be usual in order to better see. Just as when taking a picture, the farther back one is, the more ‘field’ fits in the camera lens, so too, the farther back one is, the more the person with tunnel vision is able to see of the signer.

36 Moving Back, cont. This practice is so common among DB people with tunnel vision that there is a sign identifying it. It begins with the 2-persons Classifier(s) representing the closer position (typically used by sighted deaf people) and moves them farther apart.

37 Moving Back, cont.

38 The White Cane The cane used by blind people is sometimes called a ‘white cane’ or a ‘long cane’ since both qualities distinguish these mobility tools from a support cane. The regular ASL sign for using the long cane is mimetic (represents the action of holding a cane and tapping left and right).

39 Regular ASL Sign

40 Using the White Cane The sign used in the DB Community, however uses a different classifier. The dominant hand index finger ‘taps’ back and forth (left and right) on the palm of the non-dominant hand. The non-dominant hand is palm up and remains stationary.

41 The White Cane (DB Community Sign)

42 (Read) Braille Braille is made with raised dots that are felt by the blind person’s fingers stroking across the page left to right (as the eyes do in reading using vision). The sign for Braille is mimetic and follows the ASL rules for nouns and verbs.

43 Braille

44 Braillers Typing Braille uses 3 fingers on each hand, pressing keys in these combinations. This portable device includes two function keys (on the sides), and a space bar. It also has a Braille Display (the black bar towards the front end of the device.

45 Braillers, cont. Braille Display Function Keys

46 Typing Braille The sign for typing Braille on such a device is a mimetic sign using the three fingers of each hand (index, middle and ring finger) pressing down simultaneously.

47 Close Vision Several forms of blindness cause very blurry vision which results in only being able to see things very close up. In the community this is called ‘close vision’ and is signed “close-up”. In writing it is sometimes abbreviated “CV” as opposed to tunnel vision “TV”.

48 Close Vision

49 Close Vision, cont. Alternatively, a mimetic sign is used to indicate signing “close-up” (leaning slightly forward with slightly hunched shoulders)… as one might in getting up close to communicate.

50 Close Vision, cont.


52 Terms Describing Print Print that is modified for people with low vision may be glossed as ‘large print’ which is sometimes abbreviated on paper as LP, typically 16 point font. It may also be glossed as ‘black print’ meaning the print is not only larger but bolder. By contrast, other print is referred to as ‘regular print’.

53 Acronyms & Loan Signs SSP : Support Service Provider CF: Communication Facilitator DB: Deaf-Blind LP: Large Print O&M: Orientation and Mobility

54 Acronyms & Loan Signs, cont. DBC: Deaf-Blind Communicator PT: Pro-Tactile (see Discourse) ALDs: Assistive Listening Devices (used by hard-of-hearing DB people to augment hearing) FM (a specific type of ALD but often used as generic label)

55 Conclusion Learning these signs will both help you understand and use them, and be an introduction to DB Community discourse practices.

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