in between

[Articulating Betweenity]

Mediation/Pronunciation: Mixed and Missing

in between

Lennard Davis: CODA Mediation and Betweenity link to Lennard Davis DALN Record

Such mediation and “pronunciation” of what deafness is (and isn’t) is both literal and figurative, both metaphor and material, in deaf people’s lives.   And one strong site of this nuanced, careful articulation often comes from the people who are “between” the spaces we might (all too simply and innocently) code as “deaf” and “hearing.”   CODAs—“children of deaf adults”—have an identity that is often immersed (or some would argue, even submerged and struggling) in “Deaf-world” as children and then they often grow up later to discover there are others like them and that there is a way now to “pronounce” their identification, their difference (in both deaf and hearing worlds).[7] Finding a way to pronounce (words, identity, emotional and deep family connections, etc.) and to mediate between deaf and hearing worlds is a common—though not always comfortable—between space for many CODAs.  Some sense of this tangled and toggling experience is conveyed in the three video clips here from Lennard Davis.  As a CODA, Davis identifies at least three different ways that “pronunciation” mattered in his life:  first, in his odd and almost “personal” form of American Sign Language, inflected with his parent’s British Sign Language signs and home signs; second, in how he so often served as a mediator, doing the speaking and pronunciation for his “control freak” father in significant communication exchanges with hearing people; and third, how he also carried in his speech some odd mispronunciations in English, based on learning to speak by first hearing his British deaf mother speak.


[7] For scholarly research about CODAs and also some excellent CODA memoirs, I suggest any of the following: Paul Preston, Mother Father Deaf; Lennard Davis, My Sense of Silence; Lou Ann Walker, A Loss for Words; R.H. Miller, Deaf Hearing Boy; Ruth Sidransky, In Silence.

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