1. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    How do I write this?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Archnenna, Feb 10, 2011.

    Okay, I don't know if this question is in the right section. I apologize if it isn't.

    So I have this girl character of mine who is deaf and I don't know how to write it down. Let me explain it a bit closer.

    So this deaf girl, Indiana, has a twin sister, Dana, who is always with her and who can hear. Dana knows the sign language and Indiana can read lips so sign language is rarely needed for her to use. I just don't know how to write down their conversations.

    Should I put "" at the end and beginning when Indiana 'talks', or should I just put an ' '?

    Basically, what I'm asking is that should I put "" when someone talks, and ' ' when someone uses sign language?

    Oh, and one more question. Can deaf people talk 'normally'? I mean, I heard some of them on the movies talk and I noticed that those movie characters talk with some difficulties with saying some letters and such. Is it always like that? Is it true that it's because they can't hear their voice?

    If someone could answer thesse queastions for me, I'd be really thankful and it'd help a lot.
     
  2. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    In my opinion you would enclose the the sign language portion of the conversation in quotes just like regular dialogue. Of course you will need to explain that this character uses sign language very early in your story, and use phrases like 'she signed', or 'he signed angerly' as your dialogue tags.

    You and I pronounce our words the way we do because that's the way we've always heard them. We can copy pronuciation and inflection because we have heard it (that's why there are different regional accents within the same language). If someone has never heard how a word is pronounced, or lost the ability to hear early in life, before their speach patterns were developed, they can only guess at how a word sounds.
     
  3. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    If Indiana has only recently lost her ability to hear, she should be able to speak relatively fine, since she had been listening to herself speak. If she's been deaf since birth, she would find it very difficult to speak.

    Imagine learning another language only through its writings, never hearing the language spoken. You could only take an educated guess at how the words should sound, having never heard them before.

    As for how to describe sign language, using quotes works well. I would use the full quote marks "like this" instead of the half-quotes. If you didn't like that, you could just pass gists along in the paragraph:

    Amanda shook her head, confused. Too many people were talking at once, too many lips for her to read. Not hearing sounds was a true disadvantage. Tapping Samantha on the shoulder, she quickly used sign language to ask what was going on. Samantha signed back that they were talking about where the money was supposed to go, and if the cops had any leads on them yet.

    Obviously, this is a bit limited, especially if you wanted to get into detailed conversation. It's just a suggestion, take it for what it's worth.
     
  4. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could write it out normally, just mention Indiana used sign language. Then throughout your story remind the reader in various ways that she is using sign language.

    Here is an example:

    "Today is a beautiful day, don't you think?" Indiana asked with her hands.

    I have a character in one of my stories that is mute so she has to communicate in a similar way.
     
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  5. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for opinions and ideas, Terry D, -oz and Ellipse. Those examples and information you gave are very useful. It's clearer to me now. :D
     
  6. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    In books like his Dies the Fire series, S.M. Stirling portrays Sign in italics to distinguish it from spoken speech. It plays a fairly large role in the story -- one of the main characters is deaf -- and I at least had no trouble with this formatting. (I'm sure Cogito, who consistently argues against widespread use of italics, will disagree with me on this. I'm just saying this method has been done before, with good results.)

    As long as you're consistent, though, your readers will likely be fine with whatever you choose.
     
  7. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    In one of my books, the main characters have psi abilities(learning to use them) The teacher encourages them to psi-message each other.
    It was fun writing, Mother is speaking, two other people are psi chatting, and the main character has trouble keeping them all straight.

    "What will my son learn her at the academy?" mother asks the professor.
    "Why do you want to get rid of your powers?" Serana asks mentally.
    "I will help you to learn how to control these mental powers." The teacher sends to him mentally.
    "I hate them, I wish they would just go away!"He yells out loud.
    The people in the room look at him strangely, as only the people sending him messages only know thier statements, and those without mental powers have no idea why he just yelled that. (and to boot, one of the girls is chatty to say the least, and she can speak and psi-message almost at the same time, she loves to communicate.)

    The deaf person says(verbal).... The deaf person signs... speaking with her hands she says....she announces(verbal)
    Find a way to quickly tell the reader how they comunicate, so they can figure out that some people might not know what is being said in sign language even though they are standing right there. (note: some people might think it rude to speak so they can't understand what is being said. This is true for use in different languages too.)
     
  8. MissPomegranate
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    MissPomegranate Member

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    My suggestion would be to either make the deaf girl's dialogue distinguishable in some way, such as italics or by using apostrophes instead of quotation marks. My other suggestion would be to use -oz's idea and describe the jist of what the character is trying to say as a paraphrase.

    However, your character's ability to talk depends on when they became deaf. If they lost their hearing after being able to speak previously, their speech would not be affected. However, if they were born deaf they could not know how the words would be pronounced. Helen Keller learned to speak by mimicing vocal movement, I think...I recalling seeing a video of her with her hand on Anne Sullivans throat and repeating sounds. But, she was also not born deaf and could remember some sounds (like "wawa" which meant "water") so I'm not sure if that played a huge role in her abilities.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would go with "signed", and use ordinary quotes. Once the "signed" is well established, I might dare to drop it just as I drop "said". Or I might not; I'm not sure.

    Example:

    Dana signed, "Where do you want to eat?"

    Indiana shrugged, then signed, "Take your pick. Look, there's Josh!"

    Josh waved frantically as he crossed the street, shouting, "Dana! Indiana! Wait!"

    Indiana shook her head, signing out of Josh's sight, "He really needs to calm down."

    Dana grinned at Indiana, then turned to Josh. "We were just going to lunch. Wanna join us?" Her hands flashed as they echoed her words.

    Josh nodded happily. "Absolutely. Yes. Where?" He repeated the "Where?" with overdramatized enunciation to Indiana, winning himself a look of annoyance.


    ChickenFreak
     
  10. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    I think I'll go with the 'signed'. I'll try to find some youtube videos and explore more around the net. Thanks for the example, ChickenFreak, it really helped!

    And this is a fantasy story and Indiana has sound-based powers. She can create sound waves and sonic screams and such. The ability allows her to 'feel' the sound, as if when someone is speaking, she can feel the vibrations. When she got her powers, they helped her a lot and she managed to 'understand' the people who are talking a bit more.

    I just want to ask, in case someone knows:

    1. Can a person lose their hearing if a building exploded near them?

    2. If yes, can it be only temporary or is it permanently?

    3. When a person is temporary deaf, can she hear a bit more and more every day until her hearing comes back?

    4. With the temporary hearing loss, can the hearing be back in a few years? Like in five, six, seven, eight, etc. years?
     
  11. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    If you search around a bit you'll find the answers you are looking for. I found this on a medical journal with one quick Google search.


    Temporary hearing loss can occur when we're exposed to sudden loud noises, such explosions or firearm blasts. The ear has an affinity for recovery, following what is known as the "temporary threshold shift," but sometimes hearing loss can be permanent.

    The most common causes of hearing loss are ear or sinus infections. Fluid in the ear creates unequal pressure between the outer middle ear, making the eardrum less sensitive to sound. Medications, such as aspirin and chemotherapy drugs, are considered toxic to the ear and can temporarily or permanently damage the auditory nerve. Several powerful antibiotics are known to damage the ear. Examples include gentamycin, streptomycin and tobramycin and other antibiotics that are in the same group, known as aminoglycoside antibiotics.


    A sudden blow to the head can disrupt the transmission of nerve impulses that tell the brain how to interpret sound, also resulting in temporary hearing loss.


    Sounds like you are looking for a reason she has gone deaf? So maybe the ear infection or sudden blow to the head could be easier to write in your story than a building exploding?
     
  12. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I'd be surprised if they didn't, actually. Depending on how close they are, the shockwave will tear their eardrums apart (which will heal) and possibly also cause extensive damage to the inner ear (which will not necessarily heal).

    I think you might enjoy reading this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise-induced_hearing_loss

    Apart from that, you may have heard of the expression "ringing ears". What happens (to me at least) when there is a sharp bang not too far from my ears, is that I get a ringing (or sort of beeping or humming) sound in my ear, which rapidly disappears (in a 5-6 seconds). If the cause of the ringing is repeated too often, or gets even louder, it also hurts.
     
  13. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Clearly you are unfamiliar with the works of the the Die Hard movies. A celluloid classic if ever there was one.:rolleyes: Things blow up all the time and no one ever has a problem with their hearing. :D
     
  14. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    One extremely loud sound can permanently damage the ear. Prolonged loud noise can permanently damage hearing. If you shoot any firearm without hearing protection, it will damage the hearing. If not permanent damage, the hearing will slowly come back, it took three or four days after a day of shooting various firearms without hearing protection. I could hear, but very limited.
    I believe the return of hearing is short term, days possibly weeks. Years? I can't think of situation that would delay that long. Except for surgical fixes of a problem. The peices of the ear are small and fragile, they either heal quicky or they are lost.

    Many explosions, firing fully automatic weapons, and whispering into a cell phone in the next scene. B.Willis is almost as tough as Norris.
    Norris glares at the earth and it turns in fear.
     
  15. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    Thank you people! You were really thankful! I've got everything I needed, this can be closed now :D
     
  16. rohitshingh143
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    rohitshingh143 New Member

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    hi....

    hi everyone.....all help full advices .....



    http://www.worldflightforhearing.com/
     
  17. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I'm not really good with sign language, or ever used one (I probably done so by mistake or something), but I used to work with this company called "The Accessible Living Center," where I had to work with Americans with a diability, some were deaf, and some couldn't talk right (not meanning to make fun of them, of course, I love working with people with diability) and if I was to write a book about an interpretersr using sign language, I would have the interpreters doing dialogue tags rather than talking.

    For instance, I would probably write like this (Let's say Tosha is deaf, and Christina is the interpretor).

    Tosha and Christina were counting.

    "Ten, nine, eight, seven, four..." said Tosha. "Six..."

    Christina quickly swayed her hands across her neck, signaling Tosha to stop counting.

    "What do--do next?" Tosha asked. "Do I do finish count?" Her words stumbled before Christina.

    Christina nodded her head No

    "I think she'll need more practice," said Christina, glancing at Tosha's mother.


    That's something I would write if I was writing a story about a deaf character. Christina's dialogue tags (though she's not talking) are the sign languages (nodding her head, etc), but I'm not really sure if that's what you're asking. I'm not even sure myself what are the rules of writing stories for people with a disability, though I have worked with them before, who are fun to work with, in my opinion.
     
  18. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Great advice imho! The reminders can be very subtle, like
    [Despite the silence, the message was loud and clear]
    [She didn't need to talk with her hands this time - her stiffening body conveyed the message clearly enough].
    [The noise around them didn't bother their conversation]
     

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