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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Fri Feb 15, 2002  1:46 pm
Subject:  Re: Lack of understanding of SW, so frustrating...


This is common among all bilinguals. We had a similar discussion
a few months ago: <5875>. I'll
repeat the quote from John Earl Joseph that struck me so much:

> The expansion of vernacular function does not occur without strong
> resistance. Prejudices die hard, and one will invitably encounter the
> opinion that the vernacular is not suitable for use in formal domains
> [...]. Much of the resistance comes from the higher social strata,
> persons whose ability in handling Standard H may have been acquired at
> the expense of years of effort.

The problem is that not everyone is equally good at learning a
second language (Portuguese, in this case). There are a few who can learn
it, and they succeed, but they see the others as lazy. But it makes no
sense to tie the benefits of a good job, government services, etc. to a
person's skill at learning a second language.

The fact is that a large majority of the Deaf population will
never become fluent in a spoken language. Sign language is the ONLY way
that they will get education, literature, and information. For someone to
deny them this because they didn't learn a spoken language as well as that
person is spiteful and cruel.

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

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