LINGUIST List 10.213

Wed Feb 10 1999

Disc: Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. G.Morgan, Sign Language & Cochlear Implants
  2. LYNAM90, Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

Message 1: Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

Date: Mon, 08 Feb 1999 16:21:54 +0000
From: G.Morgan <>
Subject: Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

To Martin and in agreement with Nancy:

Yes this is very complex, also the Deaf people who this affects normally
don't have their say, and hearing people working in the field try to
interpret what we pick up from them and then transfer these ideas to people
who see deafness and sign-language in a very different to way to us, more
like pathology or intervention. But the CI issue is a symptom of today's
trendy topics in science, it fits with brain imaging, molecular genetics
and bionic limbs. Recently I had a conversation with a journalist who was
disappointed to hear that CIs weren't the miracle cure for deafness, she
was surprised that a lot of born deaf people saw them as a threat
especially to the human rights of children. This was not the view she had
got from her CI specialist. CI research is vastly more funded than
linguistic, pedagogic or social science type research within Deaf studies.
And the results are far from clear, especially when all people who cant
hear regardless of etiology are classed as one homogenous group: 'the deaf'.

There is a sophisticated debate and forum of discussion going on in
the Deaf community in Britain about some of these issues, a series of
PhD dissertations from the University of Bristol written by Deaf
people is one example of this. Also the Deaf nation symposium held at
the University of Central Lancashire a couple of years ago. But this
rarely makes it to the level of being discussed on panels of medical
research councils.

For any specific reading or references for the British CI debate please
email me direct

- -----
Gary Morgan
Dept of Linguistics, UCL, London
tel: 0171 4193162 (voice/text)
fax: 0171 3834108
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Message 2: Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 11:21:03 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Sign Language & Cochlear Implants

Sign language is not my area of specialisation, but I have been
fascinated by the discussion on CIs. Lorraine Leeson mentioned the
need to get funding for documenting SLs. Is it the case that all/most
sign languages do not have a written form, and that therefore for L1
sign language speakers all written texts are in a foreign language?

Clodagh Lynam
Arts Faculty Fellow
Deparment of Linguistics
University College Dublin
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