Audism is similar to racism. The word is relatively new and not well-known. It is a belief that Deaf people constitute an underclass.
As toward any underclass, the stereotypical feelings are of their inferiority, dislike of many things about them, and fear of dealing with them. One example is that their sign language is strange, freakish, comical, gestural, and/or alien to speech. Another example is that Deaf people would fail in many common activities, such as raising children, driving a car, operating machinery. A continuing list of examples would fill many lines here.
As you may imagine, it marginalizes Deaf people in the greater society, and is very harmful.
Read our take on audism on Page 6, lower left.
Surdophilia, a form of audism, is fear of deaf people. It is most often a defense for being unable to cope with something not understood.
A "clairvoyant" sees the future. But a person who hears it (from a phantom voice) is a clairaudient .
Phonism, is the hearing of phantom voices from within one's mind.
E.g., the scent of a perfume worn by an old love causes a man to clearly hear her voice out of nowhere. Phonism includes the phantom voices of tinnitus, which can be extremely realistic right after sudden deafness.
Robert Owen, the 19th Century British social reformer, actually published conversations he had with the realistic voices of his tinnitus. He stoutly believed they were spirits of dead Socialists talking to him. Of course it was all coming out of his own brain.
Phonism can be a form of synesthesia, in which one sense stimulates another. For one example, a rare minority of people (mostly females) hear distinctive sound when seeing colors.
The title of Oliver Sacks' book on the Deaf world, Seeing Voices, is in a way synesthesic. It derives from Ovid's Metamorphoses: "I see a voice....". Shakespere said likewise in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
A good book about synesthesia is, The Man Who Tasted Shapes, by R. Cytowic (Bradford).
"Scents, colors, and sounds echo one another". Baudelaire
A rarely used word is tintinnabulation, Most who know, know it from Poe's famous poem, The Bells. The first syllable (tin) is Latin for "little bells". The rest comes from tinnire, "to ring". To "tinnabulate" is to ring continuously. Tinnitus, often involving ringing noises, is similarly derived.
Words or syllables like "tintin" are onomatopes ---they mimic the sounds they describe. There are many examples: buzzer, squeak, spit, snore, sneeze, cough, growl, and bombardment.
Words that are produced in the mouth and on the lips exactly the same, but have different meanings, are homophones E.g.: way and weigh; also
def and deaf (def is a slang word, discussed on our Page 7).
If homophones are also spelled the same, they become homographics ----like pine (a tree) and pine (to languish). Also: saw (to cut wood) and saw (having seen).
Words that look identical in lipreading, and sound almost exactly the same, but are produced differently in the mouth, are homophenes (e.g., saw and sore).
The easiest sound to lipread is the one made with the tongue touching the upper teeth. It's known as a dental. The word "local", begins and ends with dentals. Another sound is called a stop, in which the lips snap shut momentarily to stop the airstream ("bump" begins and ends with stops; so does "pope").
All speech sounds are classified as dentals, stops, fricatives, velars, nasals, etc., to describe what's going on with the airstream in a speaker's mouth.
There are two common words we use that reflect the misery of Deaf people centuries ago, particularly during the Dark Ages, though this connection is rarely evident to users today. Banished to isolated groups, most deaf people were considered freakish and repelling.
These words are absurd and sordid.
Absurd derives from surdis, Latin for "deaf". Today, absurd means "ridiculous", as Deaf people were thought long ago. Similarly, a "surd" (taken from absurd) is a value that makes no sense within basic rules of mathematics.
Likewise, in the Romance languages, "deaf" derives from sourdes, which in Latin means 'filth", again related to deaf people at the time. It evolved into English as another word we use today, sordid, meaning wretched, squalid, or gross. (That metal bowler hat a musician uses to mute the sound of a trumpet, comes from the same root --it's called a sordine. )
Handicap originates from gambling in 16th Century England.
A disadvantaged player had to surrender money to a central pot, usually an upturned cap. As such, he was "hand-in-capped" or handicapped. Handicap moved to horse racing, golf, and cards. It came to indicate any disadvantage, but more so a physical one. In that respect, the word has become something of a no-no (politicaly incorrect).
Atelophobia is the irrational fear of imperfection. Neophobia is the fear of a confusing new situation. They would both apply to the fear a non-disabled person might experience, in early contact with a deaf or otherwise disabled person. It is a defense based on ignorance. So is the next word.
This fear of approaching or being involved with Deaf persons is quite common, according to a Harris Poll some years ago. Surdophobia describes that (but may also apply to anything related to deafness).
Dactylology is the formal name for finger-spelling (and loosely for finger-printing). Chirology means the same, but more broadly to include supposed messages in lines on the palms. George Dalgarno, the 17th Century philosopher and pioneer teacher of the deaf, wrote that every family member should be proficient in the dactylologic alphabet, even if only a single member was deaf. Juan Pablo Bonet, another pioneer in deaf education, said the same thing at about the same time.
Many signs that Deaf people use are iconic. That is, they mimic or indicate something (such as do the icons on your computer screen). Icons for signs that mimic motions, such as to throw a ball, are mimetic.
Signs, icons, and gestures which are easily understood by anyone, are exoteric (e.g., sign language for "drink"). The opposite, esoteric, or arcane, is understood by relatively few (e.g., most of ASL ).
If you sign, you may basically understand a Deaf signer from another part of the USA, or one from a very different background. However, you may stumble over some of his or her unfamiliar signs or signing method. Thus the two of you sign in different dialects. If someone generally in your own dialect, signs in a noticeably unique style, s/he signs in an idiolect.
Of course, these words apply to speech as well.
If you read a lot of common media, you've surely noticed over many years a slew of articles related to deafness with identical titles, such as "Breaking the Sound Barrier". Terms like that, used over and over, are called bromides. (That infers boredom from the same stuff over and over. It comes from the name of vintage drugs that were used to help people to fall asleep).
Similar bromide titles are "Deafening Silence", and "The Sound of Silence" (incidentally, that's the title of a Simon and Garfunkle song). Silence has no sound and cannot deafen. When you put two words of opposing meaning together, you get a word or term called an oxymoron. (It derives from Greek, for sharp and dull at same time).
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