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29 comments

Love this. We really should be learning BSL as standard education.

I agree. I remember learning some in school and I still remember some of alphabet. But it would be cool if we could have really learned it as a language.

Same. All I know how to say is “thank you,” “I love you”, and “play”

I agree! I've found sign languages are especially rewarding languages to learn because they immediately connect you with the local community of signers. A coworker here, a friend there, a distant relative there... and before you know it you're totally immersed.
Whereas learning a language from a different country isn't always so easy to find people to talk to, with a couple exceptions.

There are a lot of BSL resources on YouTube if anyone is looking for a place to start! :)

I definitely agree. I learnt a tiny, tiny bit at primary school, but that was it.

11 million deaf people? Is that 1 in 6 in the UK?

[–] IrishTheFrenchie say_wut? 27 points

In the US it's 1 in 10, I just looked it up. 1 in 6 seems high, but not impossible if they're counting hard of hearing along with deaf.

[–] ProxyMusic 13 points Edited

But the 1 in 10 figure for the US is way overstated too.

About 2 to 4 of every 1,000 people in the United States are "functionally deaf," though more than half became deaf relatively late in life; fewer than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the United States became deaf before 18 years of age.

2-4 out of 1,000 is nowhere near 1 out of 10.

However, if people with a severe hearing impairment are included with those who are deaf, then the number is 4 to 10 times higher. That is, anywhere from 9 to 22 out of every 1,000 people have a severe hearing impairment or are deaf. Again, at least half of these people reported their hearing loss after 64 years of age.

9 to 22 out of 1,000 is still a long way from 1 out of 10.

Finally, if everyone who has any kind of "trouble" with their hearing is included then anywhere from 37 to 140 out of every 1,000 people in the United States have some kind of hearing loss, with a large share being at least 65 years old.

It's only when you go with the top end of the 32-140 out of 1,000 that you end up with a figure close to 1 out of 10. And the top end of that range means including everyone who has any kind of age-related hearing loss whatsoever, no matter how slight.

I know many people in their 60s, 70s and 80s who officially have hearing loss because their/our hearing has diminished compared to what it was when they/we were younger, but they/we are nowhere near deaf. Most just play the radio and TV a bit louder and sometimes ask others to speak up. A few will end up using hearing aids, the technology of which is incredible today. It's unlikely any will end up relying on SL as their main or sole language.

https://www.gallaudet.edu/office-of-international-affairs/demographics/deaf-employment-reports/

[–] IrishTheFrenchie say_wut? 5 points

It's probably like "legally blind" when by definition that includes people with really bad vision but you can still see.

I thought the same and apparently the meme is right, though as @irishthefrenchie suggested it includes hard of hearing. Apparently 151k people use BSL in the UK.

0.7% of 55M people (TIPs) is 385k. 😅 I just disproved the meme 😅

darn. oh well, it was still a good meme, and the point stands, that a tiny minority wanting to alter the language of the entire rest of the population to support their delusions are… in for a rude awakening.

[–] ProxyMusic 4 points Edited

But people who use BSL is not the same as people who need BSL because they can't hear. Lots more people use sign language than need it. In many families with one deaf child, the parents, siblings and grandparents all will learn and use sign language. Lots of people have studied SL and use it either regularly or on occasion.

The 2011 UK Census I cited in my other comment found that under 22,000 in the UK said their "main language" is SL.

[–] ProxyMusic 7 points Edited

I immediately thought "1 in 6? people in the UK are deaf? WTF?" too.

A UK government website says

11 million people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing.

And the very next line says

There are 151,000 BSL users in the UK.

So the "hard of hearing" in the first sentence is doing a lot of work. It's very common to have hearing loss due to aging and/or exposure to lots of loud noises over time. Many rock musicians from back in the day have significant hearing loss, for example. Many people lose the ability to hear certain frequencies and thus certain noises over time. People lose hearing in the later senior years. But there's a vast universe of difference between having hearing loss of some kind and being so "hard of hearing" that you can't hear or human speech and thus must rely on sign language.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-disabilities-and-impairments-user-profiles/saleem-profoundly-deaf-user

This source says that based on the lats UK Census, which was in 2011, the number of deaf people is nowhere near 1 million, much less 11 million:

Figures released from the 2011 census suggest the Deaf community is smaller than many earlier estimates. According to the statistics, there are 21,971 people who consider their main language to be a sign language in England and Wales. That number is for BSL and other sign languages.

More:

In the 2011 census, 22,000 people in England and Wales said their "main language" was sign language. Of these 15,500 said their "main language" was BSL. That would be about 24,742 sign language users for the whole of the UK.

The GP Patient Survey is a questionnaire that gets sent to around 2.7 million people every year. After some pressure from SignHealth, it asks "Are you a Deaf person who uses sign language?" In the last year, 0.42% of respondents answered "yes" to this question. If you apply that proportion to the total UK population (61 million), then that would give us 254,000 Deaf people.

https://www.unapeda.asso.fr/article.php3?id_article=2045

The numbers online are all over the place. WHO says 5% of the worldwide population or 360 million people have "disabling hearing loss." WHO says 25% of the people on planet earth will "suffer hearing loss by 2050." A paper on PubMed says "fewer than 1 in 20 Americans" are "deaf or hard of hearing."

But the World Federation of the Deaf says there are 70 million deaf people in the world. Many other sources say that 70 million people in the world rely on sign language as their main language. That's less than 1% of the world population.

Galludet, which I trust because it's university for and of deaf people, says this re the USA:

About 2 to 4 of every 1,000 people in the United States are "functionally deaf," though more than half became deaf relatively late in life; fewer than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the United States became deaf before 18 years of age.

However, if people with a severe hearing impairment are included with those who are deaf, then the number is 4 to 10 times higher. That is, anywhere from 9 to 22 out of every 1,000 people have a severe hearing impairment or are deaf. Again, at least half of these people reported their hearing loss after 64 years of age.

Finally, if everyone who has any kind of "trouble" with their hearing is included then anywhere from 37 to 140 out of every 1,000 people in the United States have some kind of hearing loss, with a large share being at least 65 years old.

https://www.gallaudet.edu/office-of-international-affairs/demographics/deaf-employment-reports/

If 1 out of 6 people in the UK are deaf, then that's a huge story and scandal no one has noticed.

Could you imagine if this was something that was actually proposed? The outrage!

This fucking slaps. Goddamn right. It's about time we talk about learning sign language as a standard. It's so fucking useful and not just for the deaf. People with speach difficulties. People with audio processing issues. We lose our hearing as we age. It's inevitable. I would have loved to have signed a word to my aging father instead of shouting it several times as he struggled to make out the consonants.

Sign language can be a lifesaver. It's genuinely such a valuable skill. If everyone would just learn it, we'd have integrated the deaf back into the communities where they live by giving them basic communication with strangers.

I learned how to finger spell with my best friend in elementary school and I've learned nothing since.

The meme might not be entirely accurate, but I do agree sign language should be offered in schools.

I wish I could learn ASL, but I'm bad at reading faces, which is incredibly important in understanding the language.

Yay i love this!!! With masks and glass barriers its so hard to hear what someone is saying, i often sign when i talk without realizing it, which is great way to find out if anyone can understand it

I'm currently learning ASL as a foreign language, it's a very interesting concept. I would recommend it for anybody who's interested. :)