A Man Without Words (2nd Edition) by Susan Schaller

By Susan Schaller

For greater than 1 / 4 of a century, Ildefonso, a Mexican Indian, lived in overall isolation, set except the remainder of the realm. He wasn't a political prisoner or a social recluse, he used to be easily born deaf and had by no means been taught even the main easy language. Susan Schaller, then a twenty-four-year-old graduate scholar, encountered him in a category for the deaf the place she have been despatched as an interpreter and the place he sat remoted, for the reason that he knew no signal language. She came across him evidently clever and sharply observant yet not able to speak, and she or he felt pressured to deliver him to a comprehension of phrases. The booklet vividly conveys the problem, the frustrations, and the excitement of commencing the brain of a congenitally deaf individual to the idea that of language. This moment version encompasses a new bankruptcy and afterword.

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Extra info for A Man Without Words (2nd Edition)

Example text

He slapped both hands flat on the table and looked up at me, demanding a response. "Table," I signed. He slapped his book. "Book," I replied. " But as suddenly as he had asked for names, he turned pale, collapsed, and wept. Folding his arms like a cradle on the table, he lay down his head. My fingers were white as I clutched the metal rim of the table, which squeaked under his grief more loudly than his sobbing. He had entered the universe of humanity, discovered the communion of minds. He now knew that he and a cat and the table all had names, and the fruit of his knowledge had opened his eyes to evil.

Was counting more intuitive and basic than naming? I pictured Adam counting and grouping animals for months before he named them. 36 Susan Schaller To rest from the fatigue of our eye-to-eye search for an entrance into each other's head, we sat shoulder to shoulder, lining up numerals in progressively neater rows. I drew an addition sign between two is and placed a 2 underneath. I wrote i + i + i with a 3 under it, then four is, and so on. I explained addition by placing the corresponding number of crayons next to each numeral.

She pointed below her waist, described sexual intercourse, and indicated her pelvic area. "Now? Blood? " I asked. In answer she grabbed my hand and held my ring finger, signing "Man? " To my relief, it was break time. I could only guess at the significance of her communication. She might have been suffering from a physical problem relating to intercourse, but she showed no sign of discomfort or pain, and her few signs and mime did not provide context. While I searched for meanings in her gestures, she looked thoroughly content.

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