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seneca Post time: 2015-5-25 20:18
Let us ignore the somewhat special situation of the deaf and the value of sign language; I think ...
Why ignore the deaf? Have policy makers not ignored them enough? Also, if I'm a high school student in China who would rather learn Chinese Sign Language instead of English to be a special education teacher, social worker, or police officer in a less touristic place, why should it matter that Chinese Sign Language is not used in England? According to that logic, British Sign Language is useless because it's not used in China.I'm Canadian, but I believe Canadians could learn from the US in allowing a sign language to fulfil second language requirements for high school graduation. Also, sign languages often have their own literature, believe it or not.
And lastly, you saw people using a sign language in China. How do you know they were both deaf? Given that English is compulsory in Chinese schools, your guess was probably right. In the US though, it would be far more likely than in China or Canada that one of them was hearing and not deaf. You seem to be making the assumption that no hearing person could possibly have an interest in learning a sign language and that aural culture is somehow superior to Deaf culture. I can think of all kinds of reasons, both professionally and personally among family, friends and colleagues, why a hearing person would want to choose a sign language over English as his second language. You seem to have an interest in language teachong, so it surprises me that you would so quickly brush a sign language of as a language that only the deaf could possibly want to learn.
Also as a teacher, you should take more interest in hearing-Deaf communication, dyslexic interlinguistic communication, and language instruction policy as part of public policy. Language has many uses beyond reading literature, business and science. People seem to place so little value on learning a language to just make friends.