William Stokoe

by Bethany

(Louisville, KY)

My favorite person from Deaf history is William Stokoe, because he proved in his dissertation that ASL is a genuine language with unique syntax and grammar. I am not deaf, but I believe that Deaf people should be allowed to use sign language. Because of that, I would have to say my least favorite person from Deaf history is Alexander Graham Bell. It amazes me how many people wanted to write off sign language as “crude gesture”, which could only convey the simplest of ideas. To me, that is nothing but senseless prejudice. I believe all deaf people should be allowed to use sign, and be taught it as a basic right. Oralism, with no sign, I view as oppressive, and if I’m not mistaken many deaf people agree. I am interested in ASL because I like learning languages, and sign language is something entirely different from a spoken language. I have autism, and sometimes it is easier to use sign. I feel like it uses a different part of my brain. That is another reason I think William Stokoe is interesting, because I have an interest in the study of language. I also admire Heather Whitestone, because I like seeing Deaf people, and people with other disabilities, achieving accomplishments in the world.

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