to sign (mute people)

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lobelia.ophrys

Senior Member
French
Hello everybody,

While searching how to say, I found "She's hand signaling" and also "She's hand signing".

Which one is correct regarding a mute person who signs?

Thank you in advance!
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I would just say "She's signing" or "She's using sign language." Hand signals are used when you're driving and your car's turn signals are not working.
     

    lobelia.ophrys

    Senior Member
    French
    I would just say "She's signing" or "She's using sign language." Hand signals are used when you're driving and your car's turn signals are not working.
    Thank you very much.

    Because in the screenplay from the film THE PIANO, they say "she's hand signaling" and also "she signs". But on google, I found "hand signing" too, so I was a bit confused.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I would just use "she signs".

    Or: She can sign.

    I have seen "THE PIANO". Very moving. Chill down my spine.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Thank you very much.

    Because in the screenplay from the film THE PIANO, they say "she's hand signaling" and also "she signs". But on google, I found "hand signing" too, so I was a bit confused.
    Without seeing the context, I would assume that when she is 'hand signaling', she is using hand movements that anyone would understand -- such as pointing directions, gesturing for people to come closer or move away, and so on. That is, she is communicating with hearing people who do not know sign language. (Many of these movements vary from country to country, but within a society, people assume they are understood by everybody.)

    When she is signing, she is using hand movements that only someone who knows sign language would understand. That is, she is communicating with deaf people and other people who have learned to sign.
     
    Last edited:

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In the movie, Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) uses signs as an alternative to speaking, but they are not in any recognized sign language. She didn't grow up in a community that used a sign language, and spoke until the age of 6, so she didn't learn any such language. Her signs were improvised and intended to be understood by anyone.

    As a generalization with some exceptions, people who cannot speak generally don't know a sign language either. They aren't part of a Deaf community where signing is used, and they don't need it when someone else speaks. They often write out what they want to say. Today, there is also technology that they can use for this purpose.

    Regarding language, there is a trend toward capitalizing Deaf in contexts such as the previous paragraph. This grows out of a desire by hearing-impaired people to be recognized as a community with its own culture and language, not as deficient versions of "normal" people.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    It is also often the case that some deaf people cannot write, so they can't always write it out, Egmont.

    In the setting of The Piano is/was a whole 'nother world, with no technology of today. I'm confused.

    The "PC" nature of today also didn't apply back then.
     

    lobelia.ophrys

    Senior Member
    French
    It is also often the case that some deaf people cannot write, so they can't always write it out, Egmont.

    In the setting of The Piano is/was a whole 'nother world, with no technology of today. I'm confused.

    The "PC" nature of today also didn't apply back then.
    Indeed, and to be honest, in the film, contrary to what Egmont says, I thought Ada was using real sign language (not always of course... when she's alone with people, she signs differently, but in the presence of her daughter who translates everything for her, then yes, I thought it was real sign language) and that's why I asked that question with "hand signaling/hand signing"
     

    Livie

    New Member
    english American
    You would either say that she was signing, or she was using sign language. But without the context I can’t give you a solid answer, so depending on the context of the sentence depends on how you would word it.

    I watched The Piano recently, and I can tell you that she majority of the hand movements Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) did were not sign language. As Egmont was saying, but some of the hand movements she used were actual signs. I can’t give any examples off the top of my head, but I recognized some of them.

    Also once again as Egmont was saying some people who are Deaf want the “d” capitalized. But don’t over use that. As of right now if they can’t hear and they are big into the deaf culture then it is capitalized. Otherwise it is totally up to them. Also if they are hard-of-hearing and they want to be called Deaf then the “d” is capitalized. Other than that mute, blind, etc. are all lower cased.

    To go with the last comment yes sometime people who are mute or suffer from either: Post-Traumatic-Muteness-Syndrome (PTMS) or Selective Muteness do write the majority of the time because they don’t know sign language. But also people who are born mute, depending on where they live depends on the way they communicate. I am a mute and I live in Vancouver, Washington. I know sign language and I am used to using it, but I live with people who don’t know ASL (American Sign Language) so I always have a notebook on me so I can write my answers down.
    -LL
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    :). Very lovely, Livie. I applaud your entry! Extremely helpful and informative and precise, all at the same time. Thanks.
     
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