Friday, November 9, 2012

Teaching language to the deaf in the 17th century

A linguist is offering details of a centuries-old book that explains attempts to teach the deaf to communicate. David Cram of the University of Oxford is giving a lecture at the Royal today in London. The 300-year-old, leather-bound manual was found at an old house five years ago. It was owned by Alexander Popham, a deaf teenager, who was taught to speak in the 1660s by his tutors, William Holder and John Wallis. They apparently understood the need for the deaf to have their own language - making use of a early version of sign language. Popham became a bit of a celebrity for his effort to speak, eventually marrying the daughter of 17th century intellectual. The talk will be interpreted by a BSL interpreter. You'll find more information here.

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