Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"What Did You Say?"

I grew up with some hearing. Only one ear worked, but the one that worked, worked fairly well. So I spent my growing up years as a "hard of hearing hearie." I spoke and my hearing loss was mild enough that I didn't have any trouble speaking and learning new signs. It also left me able to sing, so I did community and professional musical theatre.

But time went on and, at the age of 29, I found myself stone deaf with absolutely no residual hearing whatsoever.

One thing I always enjoyed--other than live theatre--was English grammar. This includes pronunciations. I was a stickler for correct wording. But after I went deaf, pronunciations because a problem for me (for obvious reasons). We moved to a new state--with its own way of doing and saying things. I had to handle people saying, "Pop," instead of "soda," and seemingly trivial things like that. But how to say names of people, organizations, and even city names proved immensely difficult! My family would sit and laugh and laugh, because I pronounced "genre" as "gen-er," and not "johnrah." I thought they were setting me up and being mean when I found out "pilates," was not pronounced "pilots," or an autistic savant was not pronounced the same as "savage."

Yes, it's true that I'm not very skilled with pronunciations nowadays. It's darn impossible to know these things if I have no way of basing things in it.

I guess it's funny ,in a way, to the people who are listening. I'm just thankful that I use sign language and most of my deaf friends don't have a clue of how badly I speak. At least I try, right? I could just turn my voice off. That'd be the easy way. But I much prefer using my signs in public, saving my words to hearies who can then entertain themselves by embarrassing me.

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