O Mythomoteur Surdo

Translated title of the contribution: The Deaf Mythomoteur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review



The gestural origin of human language raises several questions, such as considering that sign languages are not an exclusive of Deaf communities. The existence of sign language villages with fewer Deaf than hearing people, where signed languages widely used (Kusters, 2010), make us question to which extent sign languages are exclusive of Deaf people or of so-called by Deaf communities. As far as we are aware, Deaf culture emerges within Deaf communities. Such occurrence creates a framework that influences how Deaf identities are structured in the case of Deaf people who are sign language users. Holcomb defines seven types of Deaf identities and not all of them are based on Sign Languages and Deaf Culture. Some deaf individuals choose to live their lives away from other deaf people, from signed languages and Deaf Culture and others are, involuntarily isolated due to several reasons or held captive, in the way they are prohibited to meet other deaf people (Holcomb, 2012). This article focuses on Deaf people who use sign language, who produce, consume and are aware of Deaf Culture, and who belong to the Deaf community. These Deaf individuals, in their ongoing identity processes of identity, are the ones whose lives have inspired and are inspired by the Mythomoteur tetrad: the Deaf World, the Deaf Way, Deafhood and, Deaf Gain (Armstrong, 1982; Bauman & Murray, 2014; Erting, Johnson, Smith, & Snider, 1994; Ladd, 2003). However, signed languages are not exclusive of individuals with hearing loss. They are also used and are fulfilling languages for hearing people to express themselves and communicate, which leads us to question how pivotal Deaf Culture really is. This critical view takes us a step further, by questioning the sustainability of a Deaf World/Hearing World binary perspective and by inviting for a closer look to the expansion of the concepts of Deafhood and Deaf Gain. Hearing people who sign often mention many advantages of being a signer, the most significant of which is that they can enjoy first-hand the richness of Deaf Culture. Deaf people, in turn often find themselves in a constant and endless search for the balanced and accomplished bilingual, bimodal and bicultural Deaf existence. This permanent search can be a lifelong frustrating process. However, the Deaf World, the Deaf Way, Deafhood and, Deaf Gain are indisputably empowering concepts, triggering supranational bonds, and inspiring a shared conception of interaction in Deaf communities. Thus, it is important for us to think about how these concepts may interact with both Deaf and hearing individuals and what impact they have in their own lives. This paper aims to focus on the Mythomoteur tetrad and how the dissemination of these elements of Deaf Culture and especially signed languages, which are the enriching human languages of those who choose to raise and move their hands beyond what appears to be exclusively determined by hearing loss.
Translated title of the contributionThe Deaf Mythomoteur
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationLínguas de sinais
Subtitle of host publicationcultura, educação e identidade
EditorsIsabel Correia, Pedro Balaus, Ronaldo Campos
Place of PublicationLisboa
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


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