Disability Services will be posting information each week through the end of the semester called “SIGNS of the Times – ASL Awareness” to raise campus interest in, and awareness of, our students who use sign language.
Why do we need sign language? Why can’t people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing depend on reading lips?
Only 30 – 40% of spoken English can be lip read. Even good lip readers must use context clues to obtain comprehension from reading lips. Normal speech is too fast to easily lip read, many speech movements are not seen, and some words look alike even though they sound different. A common example is “I love you” and “elephant juice”; these are indistinguishable by sight, but clearly have quite different meanings. When you factor in bad lighting, accents, mustaches and beards, chewing gum, and people covering their mouths or turning away while they speak, it is virtually impossible to read lips with 100% accuracy.
In the past year, several hilarious Bad Lip Reading videos have gone viral. While the creator wishes to remain anonymous, he informed The Washington Post that after his mother suffered irreversible hearing loss in her 40s, he began to watch TV on Mute to try to lip read what was being said. He quickly learned how difficult it is, and how comedic his mistakes could be.
Here is an NFL example of ‘A Bad Lip Reading’: