Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Inner Voice

Here’s an interesting fact for you.

As you are reading this piece of text you are automatically sounding out the words in your head. You are making sense of the language by transferring the written to sound. Most of you won’t have to use your lips to do so!

This is something that linguists and researchers call “The inner voice” – we use it all the time: when we are thinking, when we are watching telly, reading, writing to a friend – even when we sleep.

Ok – so here’s the twist:

A profoundly Deaf person has no inner voice.

I’m not talking about your granny, who went deaf in her 60s, or even someone who has a reasonable degree of hearing – we’re talking about (mainly) Sign-Language using, profoundly Deaf (note the capital D) for whom a hearing aid is just a worthless piece of plastic.

This goes someway to explaining why Deaf culture is often at odds with the hearing world.

Try to imagine trying to learn to read without that basic ability to translate the words in your head.

Try to imagine what it must be like to exist silently in a world dominated by sound

Then, when you’ve thought about it for a while, go out and learn Sign Language and Deaf Awareness – it’s the least you can do.


A. Stageman said...

This is a subject that has never crossed my mind...and now that I've thought of it, I am having a very hard time ignoring my "inner voice".

And I'm having an even HARDER time trying to imagine what it's like to have no "inner voice".


The Clandestine Samurai said...

Yes, it is almost impossible for me to imagine what's it's like to not be able to sound things out in my head.

Learning sign language is definitely a consideration.

Honour said...

hey DFTP,
I stumbled on your blog via mr. samurai's blog ... anyway - I have to say your posting on "Abandon Hope" made me laugh ... very apt observation. Very very original thought .. .and depressing too.

Jenny said...

How empty life must be without hearing that inner voice. For me it would, but probably it isn't empty echoing in the profoundly deaf person's brain. They obviously can't feel it that way, cause they don't know it that way.
It is definitely impossible imagine how life would be like if you couldn't hear the words in your head.

lost dreamer said...

It's not something I've ever considered before - but how incredibly strange. I can't imagine not having an inner voice - not 'hearing' my thoughts, not imagining the different voices I give characters in books, not hearing the expression of words as I read.