In the historical discussions left by philosophers, we can find not a few descriptions about sign language and deaf people. However, it is hard to say that the accurate translations on each description has been done and philosophical debate has been continuing to this day. The description about sign language and deaf people often includes the author’s own opinion associated with the belief how human’s intelligence should be cultivated and the reader also tends to interpret the description with his/her normative consciousness of scandalized body model. For this reason, the erroneous translations and the non-essential discussions were created and each discussion has been consumed as mere a thought, not as a philosophical problem. In this background, this paper focuses on the modern but the controversial interpretations of Aristotle’s literatures and Wundt’s discussions on sign language. In each discussion, the author shows the possible way how we can argue the original philosophical problem from the contemporary point of view.
In this paper, we analysed terms related to the deaf-mute and the gestural language in primitive sutras translated into Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, English, or Japanese based on systematic, functional linguistics including genre analysis, register analysis, cognitive lexicology comprising semasiology and onomagiology, and translation theory. This indicated how early Buddhism was organised and the diverse Buddhist terms that were utilised in this context at the time. The text mining shows that the diverse terms related to the deaf-mute were observed onomagiologically in the primitive sutras in Pali; however, few were observed semasiologically in the primitive Chinese sutras. Additionally, terms related to the sign (i.e. argot) were observed only in contexts related to commandments in the primitive sutras in Pali; however, they were extended semantically to the gestural language in primitive Chinese sutras. Based on these observations, the contexts showing the interaction of terms related to the deaf-mute and the gestural language were investigated. The analysis revealed that the conceptual system of the deaf-mute and the gestural language in ancient Indian or Chinese societies was symbolised through the translation of the primitive sutras.
This paper examines how sign was accepted in the Chicago day schools for the deaf, during the turn of twentieth century and how deaf people had a voice and became involved in decision making regarding quality day school education for deaf children. The issues about sign and deaf autonomy should not be understood only as problems within deaf education. Big cities like Chicago experienced social changes which caused various social problems. Cities were forced to solve these problems by implementing public school education. This means we need to address the development of public school systems. The sign method was not excluded in the Chicago day schools from its foundation to the mid-1880s, because the Chicago Board of the Education didn’t pay attentions to the methods adopted in deaf schools or the quality of education. The board seemed more interested in resolving the problem of increasing numbers of uneducated deaf children. However, after the late 1880s, the city’s board of education and the state authorities started to be concerned about the quality of the Chicago day schools. The motives were guided by the Chicago deaf community who protested against the mismanagement of the Chicago day schools, the influence of A.G. Bell’s day school movement, and the Progressivists and Chicago citizens who advocated the improvement of society on all levels, including education. Progressivists and citizens believed in equal treatment and educational opportunity for all people including minority groups and disabled children. Therefore, they could not agree with the boarding plan which would separate deaf children from their hearing homes and local communities. Integration and the oral method were preferred by Progressivists and citizens rather than the sign method which normal people never used. Deaf autonomy in the Chicago day schools was not restricted until the mid1890s. The Chicago board initially expected deaf people’s involvement in the Chicago deaf schools reform movement in the late 1890s. Interestingly, another deaf group criticized the Chicago schools’ educational quality and Emery’s superintendency. Furthermore, parents became active and formed the parent association of deaf children. They initiated the school reform movement preferring small day schools and the oral method. The expansion of parents’ role in deaf day schools reflected the notion in public school education where positive educational results depended not only on the pupils’ abilities but also on strong cooperation between parents and schools. The fact that the association members included both hearing people and deaf people indicates the complexity of deaf community. Namely, deaf people formed a variety of deafness-related groups and also expressed different opinions on deaf education.
The present paper discusses a part of the results of a new project for implementing signed language in a Japanese regular primary school. A Deaf teacher taught Japanese Sign Language (JSL) on the basis of the natural approach principle for one year in hard-of-hearing (HH) classes, where 11 HH pupils were enrolled, and the processes of signed language learning by HH pupils were investigated from a sociocultural point of view. These HH pupils usually used speech in their everyday communication and learned JSL as a second language. JSL lessons were video-recorded for 810 minutes, and the utterances (signed and spoken) by HH pupils and the Deaf teacher were transcribed. Their communication and interaction were analyzed qualitatively using the open-code method, and 10 categories were generated: 1) dependency on voice, 2) role of gestures, 3) role of letters, 4) fingerspelling, 5) relation between voice and signing, 6) watching, 7) learning mode, 8) support to other pupils, 9) extension of discourses, and 10) establishment of a dialogue space. Furthermore, these categories were analyzed chronologically at three periods, and four developmental trends were found: (i) changes from oral to manual, (ii) changes from aural to visual, (iii) various and flexible ways of communication and interaction, and (iv) extension of HH pupils’ discourse, which occurred not only with the teacher, but also among themselves. Finally, we discussed support to signed language learning and use for HH pupils in the regular primary school from the standpoint of “a culture” involving Deaf people.