A Conversation That Has No Sound

How would you describe sign language between two people if you were writing about them? I watched two people having coffee and having a conversation using sign language. They were quiet, but active.  Sometimes a word would be thrown out there, too loud but they can’t hear how it sounds to others.

Seldom does anyone write about a deaf character. I think it is harder to write about being deaf than being blind. We can close our eyes and stop seeing.  It is not so easy to block out sound. Even with ear plugs you can still hear the sound of your own voice when you speak.

In our speech we have tone, rhythm, volume and other aspects we present as sound to communicate. If you were portraying  a conversation in sign language how would you give it the same sense of tone implied and the rhythm in the language and the emphasis when the communication is emotional. Can you describe a conversation that has no sound?

2 thoughts on “A Conversation That Has No Sound

  1. I don’t know if I could describe a conversation with no sound, but I get some hints by watching The Amazing Race on Sunday nights. One team consists of a mother and her deaf son, so we see them interacting with sign language and then we see subtitles of the meanings.

  2. We had two deaf guys in college and I sometimes used to take notes for them. One would sit either side of me as I wrote the notes down and they would copy them. The talked across me in sign language and I well remember the rush of air as their hands moved and the clattering of their teeth as the formed silent words.

    Once, in exasperation, I told them to shut up, that I couldn’t hear a bloody thing. They were highly amused.

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