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ASL Terminology:

The Deaf world and the field of ASL studies have a specialized lingo (vocabulary).  I'm not talking about ASL signs, I'm talking about phrases and topics in ASL or English that are used to discuss ASL. 

For example, In our world (the Deaf community) it is common to refer to non-Deaf people as "HEARING PEOPLE."

We refer to a non-Deaf (public) school by using the signs "HEARING SCHOOL."

Our children who can hear are "CODAs." (Child of Deaf Adult). These individuals grow up "hearing" on the outside, but are culturally Deaf inside.  Or perhaps bicultural.)

Usage note for "deaf" vs "Deaf"
Some teachers require their students to capitalize the word Deaf at all times.  If that is what your local instructor wants, then do it his or her way.  As for this web site I tend to try to following the following approach:

deaf: deaf (with a lowercase "d")
The condition of partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing to the extent that one cannot understand speech for everyday communication purposes. (For example, you can't hear well enough to use the phone on a consistent basis.)

Deaf: Deaf (with a capital "D") refers to embracing the cultural norms, beliefs, and values of the Deaf Community. The term "Deaf" should be capitalized when it is used as a shortened reference to being a member of the Deaf Community.
Example:  He is Deaf. (Meaning that he is a member of the Deaf Community.)
Example:  He is deaf. (Meaning that he is lacking in the sense of hearing.)

For a list of terminology used at ASL University, please visit the Glossary page.


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