Deaf in 1930

Jennifer Lawrence giving you a sign.
Jennifer Lawrence giving you a sign.

As part of my research into what life would be like for Portia in Casebook 10 (wherein she loses her ability to hear and communicate verbally) I have been reading a lot about the time period and the medical community.

One of the most famous schools for the deaf was in Paris: “Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris (INJS) is the current name of the famous school for the Deaf founded by Charles-Michel de l’Épée in 1760 in Paris, France.” – Source: Wikipedia

In the 1930s sign-language had actually fallen out of favour with the medical and educational communities, with both pushing for lip-reading as the better way to communicate.  This is called oralism vs manualism, and is a debate that continues today amongst the hearing and speech impaired.

For the purposes of Portia’s issues, I believe that learning a bit of lip-reading would be beneficial in the short and long-term. She’s going to fight it, but it will be good for her.

Author: Angela Misri

Novelist, Digital Strategist & Journalist

9 thoughts on “Deaf in 1930”

  1. When I studied sign language in my early undergrad days, I learned that the argument over what communication technique to teach was largely because many hearing impaired persons were never taught anything more than the manual alphabet. Later, in the United States there was a great debate about the low literacy of persons who relied on Ameslan, which does not use grammatical English. That led to the development of Signing Exact English, a grammatical form of signing, although Ameslan continues to be the most frequently used. Because sign languages have developed independently in most countries, the relative grammatical correctness of each system varies. But most hearing impaired people have always ended up using a combination of a sign language, the manual alphabet and lipreading, anyway. This has been termed “Total Communication.”

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