Resources: See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary | Official Movie Site

pictures of 2 sign language interpreters worki...

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There are a lot of misconceptions about what it is like to be Deaf in this country, including (1) the idea that it is the same as being hard of hearing, (2) misconceptions about Deaf culture, and (3) misunderstandings about how sign works. Director Hilary Scarl’s addresses all of these issues in See What I’m Saying.

Beyond addressing these misconceptions, this documentary highlights the talent of several deaf entertainers who struggle to make inroads with the hearing community, which often seems to forget that the Deaf community exists.  See What I’m Saying shows us what we’ve been missing–and believe me, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Beethoven’s Nightmare (a self-described Deaf Rock band) and singer TL Forsberg (who lost most of her hearing at age 8) demonstrate that it is not your ears that make you a talented musician. CJ Jones and Robert DeMayo also show off considerable performance talent that is also widely ignored by the hearing community, despite the fact that both of these talented actors have the ability to play hearing roles.  What’s more, the dedication and service of these performers to their community is admirable, and the coverage one of Jones’ biggest successes–the first International Sign Language Theatre Festival in Los Angeles–allows viewers to experience different sign languages and performances from around the world.

Scarl, who is hearing, says that she was inspired to become involved with the Deaf community after seeing Deaf performances.  Indeed, the visual performances that were her inspiration shine through in this documentary, but her manipulation of sound is also impressive.  She uses both visual and hearing elements to show what it is like to be Deaf or hard of hearing in this country, and the result is breath taking.

See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary | Official Movie Site.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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