Have you ever felt disconnected from someone? A co-worker, a teacher, a friend? Could you imagine feeling that way for most of your life? Maybe there’s some wonder in learning about connecting without the means we take for granted.
As kids, we don’t care what language someone speaks, as long as they’re fun to be around. As we grow older, do we have to lose some of that easy-going attitude?
How do we get back to that unbiased view of the world that we had as children? Perhaps rethinking the way communication impacts our perception of people can bring us all a little closer.
Today we take you on a little journey to imagine making those initial connections without being able to know what the other person is saying.
Many of us have bilingual friends, or penpals in other countries, and some of us even have relatives that live abroad. A language that can be written is pretty easy to learn, but what about sign-language?
Consider this: sign language is the 4th most used language in America, according to a survey taken by Gallaudet University. But how many of us who aren’t deaf, or don’t have a deaf relative, know the language? Not as many as you might guess.
Here is an amazing National Geographic video, showing what it’s like to be a deaf person in a hearing world.
Communication happens on many levels and human connection is an instant bond we can all share if we are open to one another, wanting to see the world from the other’s perspective. Do we let language break that chance at connection?
A desire to communicate with others regardless of language barriers goes beyond a fun pass time or great resume builder. Learning new languages allows us to broaden our horizons, and learn from the perspectives of others.
When we teach student’s a language, whether it’s American Sign Language, Spanish, Mandrin, or Russian, we give them an opportunity to expand their horizons, breaking down the walls of “otherness” that language barriers create.
Even one small step in the right direction can create a rippling effect.
Last week was Deaf Awareness Week, and EWC wanted to celebrate. Deaf Awareness Week helps promote the rights and education of the deaf members of our society, and celebrates deaf culture and heritage! If you are interested in learning more check out the World Federation for the Deaf website.
Be understanding, be passionate, be joyous. But most of all, be yourself.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill
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- “Watch: What It’s Like to Read Lips | Short Film Showcase.” YouTube. National Geographic, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1jLkYyODsc>. ↩