I was going over a Lifeprint ASL lesson, and was stopped cold with an imaginary question… I mean, question that only an act of imagination would answer.
I heard a voice when I read when I was a kid–maybe because i learned to read sitting on my aunts lap when she read to me–it was not my voice, it was the voice of the book.
Someone who has never heard, learns to read English (or other spoken language) as a second language. Reading, at first–for a native signer, would be translation from sign–until they were fluent readers.
This is what I was trying to imagine–what form do the written words take, when you have never heard them? Deaf readers achieve a reading, and writing fluency well beyond any that it’s like, when one is first learning to read a second language–it’s not translation. But what then is the relation to signing?
This is a startling thought… that there must really be comprehension that is meta-language–meaning, that finds itself in word, or signs, but is not identical with word or sign. A primacy of meaning before language.
Why does this seem so incredible to me?
Does this suggest that there is a language beyond language, that underlies all other forms of communication: I think of how animals communicate. I think of music: dancing… of all the arts.