Koe no Katachi

I want to say first off, I am not Deaf. I know very little about Deaf culture or the struggles that the community, the Deaf themselves, or even their families, would face, when integrating into the hearing world. The opinions here are my own, and based on a limited knowledge base, where Deaf culture and  Deaf life is expressed. If I am wrong, I’ll take it, along with any corrections and new bits of information that would help develop better …. well informed … (vocabulary…) opinions.

Koe no Katachi – The shape of voice – a story about a boy who’s continually guilty about having bullied a Deaf classmate when they were in elementary school, and feels that the having no friends thing that came up after the class basically threw him to the wolves after her mother called the school to address the situation when her eighth pair of hearing aids in a month or so gets damaged, was deserved.

But no, wait! I swear it’s better than I make it sound.

Seriously, please you need to watch this if you already haven’t.

The high points for me in watching this are well, not numerous, but there are a few. One being that for the many years I’ve watched  anime, there were few that actually showed protagonists with disabilities as ruling or functioning or even just living and exceeding expectations. In fact I think the same is true outside of anime.

Well, there was FMA. And Switched at Birth. And Toph was pretty badass as a bender. and as a character in general.  But I think for every one show I’ve watched, there are probably like 30 that didn’t explore a character as having a disability.

Honestly, it was a little bit….. refreshing?  I guess? that Nishimiya was capable, but we see her struggling to communicate with her classmates. Which leads to another thing I liked about it. Parents sometimes opt for mainstream education for their children, which is what happened in the movie. And also, how her classmates had trouble communicating  with her.  Which led to conflict, which leads to movie plot, which-

Okay, but here’s the thing, mainstreaming deaf children would have some difficulties. Which weren’t addressed effectively in the school. There was a little attempt for integrating Japanese Sign Language into the classroom, with a session before classes begun, to get the students to understand their fellow classmate a little better. And Nishimiya does get a chance to sign and communicate with her classmates in her own language, something that the other students – and I – take for granted. Ishida, himself, takes JSL classes later on, and we do get to see him sign with Nishimiya later when they reconnect. That tickled me, being a language nerd, because outside of photographs of one JSL sign, -baseball- I dunno much about it. So it was nice to see. We don’t really see much classroom action, but when we do, I have to admit, the lack of an interpreter was obvious. When it was Nishimiya’s turn to read, other students had to prompt her.  Why not have an interpreter for her tho? Expense?

Also kids are meaaaaannn. Most rejected any chance to better understand the new Deaf girl or learn from her. Poor girl had 8 pairs of hearing aids damaged in one form or another. And multiple kids were responsible for bullying her or allowing her bullies to continue, then throw one of their own under the bus. wow kids. Y’all are cold.

I liked, too, how Nishimiya’s family stepped up for her. Her grandmother learned sign language, her mother basically bitchslapped anyone who bullied her daughter for her deafness. But within the family unit, her deafness was just another part of life for them. Her younger sister looked out for her, but it wasn’t just because of her deafness. She looked out for her, as any sister would for her siblings – who do you like? how did they react? why confess nowwwwwww????!!!! Overall, her deafness didn’t hamper how she interacted with them, whether verbally, through text, or through signing. And I loved how  the  writers almost made it a point to show not only how difficult it can be for the deaf, in a world that doesn’t cater for lack, but also, how normal life is for Nishimiya. She’s a teen dealing with teen troubles. She’s as normal as anyone else.

I could probably continue to list things that I liked about it, where learning about Deaf culture and Deaf life is concerned, but I think I’ve trampled through enough spoiler territory for one day.

At the end of the day though, it falls pretty snugly into Slice-of-life boy-likes-girl/girl-likes-boy territory. If you’re like me and a closet romantic, you’d like it. You get lots of that, which seems to be a staple for a good half of the Slice-of-life anime I’ve watched. But what makes it different is the expression of a very real divide that really needs to be addressed.

It did as the title promised, and presented the need of voice, and to be heard and understood. For both Nishimiya and Ishida.  Nishimiya got communication with the hearing.  Ishida learned to properly express himself to others. They’re the perfect parallels,  from their being bullied and targeted to their obvious struggles with their lives, and their relationships with  their families. They are the same, despite their differences. The movie didn’t only focus on that by making Nishimiya’s Deafness the key plot. Instead, it incorporated it, and mixed it in effectively. Nishimiya was a part of a whole in their group of friends. She was equally affected by the past and present as everyone was.

Basically I love this movie. I endorse it.

Go watch it. It’s worth it.



D&D? No? ConLang, then

I ended last year really wanting to play D&D. I entered this year really wanting to play D&D. Unfortunately, with my schedule being the way it is, it’s hard for me to get a proper timing  to join a party. Although i do have an open invitation to one, so yay.

In the meantime, I have contracted the conlang bug. Well, maybe. That may not be the best analogy. either way, I’ve created four continents, all of which, naturally, will have multiple races, nations, and languages. but what languages are those? And there’s an intercontinental senate that governs a fair bit of areas, like trade and international relations and i dun’ know yet. And so many concepts are coming out of the woodwork, and thus, a need for language to define them, and, I really miss linguistics.

So, so far, I’ve decided on creating said languages, for this world. By myself, or with the help of my friends. I mean, one to help with the geography, one with the species and races, and well, me and another for the languages.  And even if this doesn’t evolve into our own little D&D-esque ttrpg, I’ll have a world and languages to help me write a story

But I now appreciate the years  that Tolkien put into his own languages. I haven’t even gotten to the vocabulary of my one language  properly yet. I’m still stuck on the phonological constraints that possibly define it.

Or maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Conlangers, any tips?


My personal project on Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language

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Minimal pairs – Point of difference is in movement. WEIGH alternates hand movements up and down , while WEIGHT is produced by identical movement of both hands

Yes! This. Again.

No, I haven’t joined a class, although, given my intent to take on the personal project of analyzing  the Syntax of TTSL (dunno how though – what angles do i take?) I may just have to.

Looking back at  my undergrad thesis, and knowing full well that I may not be able to publish it on a public forum like this one,(I probably signed away my rights to do with it as I wish after submission) I’m remembering why I wanted to do this. Because, Why Not? It’s a language, so it must have elements that other languages have. Why not show it? And, since my thesis focused on proving some phonological elements  present in TTSL, just like spoken language, just like other signed languages, why not try looking at it from a syntactic view?

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Disyllabic sign – two morphemes – B handshape to T [syllable break] P handshape upward movement from upturned palm – Hold-Mov-Hold.Hold-Mov-Hold

Luckily, my old supervisor is willing to help me with it, although, I may have to show why I’m doing this on my own. Honestly, it’s because I’m curious as to how the grammatical structure of TTSL manifests itself, and how it compares to Trinidadian Standard English (TSE), and because I’m a linguist. Today I net an Indian national, who schooled  some locals about the differences (socially, linguistically, the pragmatics) between different languages found here that are from India originally. I wanted to talk about it, but alas! I know very little about the subject. Also he was fluent in Spanish! we had a brief exchange, and that alone fascinated me! And thinking about it, it also shows me that territories that are primarily Anglophone, have a very linguistically Anglocentric attitude!

Anyways, back to my project.

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Even mimetic signs are influenced by the contraints that influences other signs in TTSL

tumblr is to blame for my raised interest.

So many SLs are presented over there, and I feel left out. I wanna join in and show people that Trinidad and Tobago has one too! And it’s just as complex and important as everyone else’s languages.

A lot has been done for TTSL as of late, and I’m proud to have witnessed some of it. I just wanna do my share in doing what I do best – researching things people are unaware of and stick it in their faces at weird points in time.

But this one will have a meaningful purpose.

Also, see how I not so sneakily sneaked in  three phonological elements of TTSL? Minimal pairing/grouping, syllables, and constraints that order the production of signs in meaningful ways – OT.  You see these in spoken and signed languages.



I may have gotten my answer about the TARDIS and sign language.


I wish I could get the source gifset, but as it stands, this screenshot will have to do. But I do have the original video source.

Why is this important to me? Well, it’s actually pretty amazing that they not only included a Deaf woman as a major character (if only for the two-parter) but they made her an employee of UNIT, competent among her colleagues, and basically impervious to the ghost things! She’s a competent short-term companion, showing the Doctor what he missed. It was her that he went to.

It helps solidify the idea that Deaf isn’t disadvantageous.

So kudos BBC. Y’all are great there.

Also, what would make me useless and irritating in this episode is the fact that he says his TARDIS has a universal translator and that he speaks every language. Y’all remember my gripe about that?

Well, seems I’ve gotten my answer. In terms of the reality where we know it’s a TV show, it’s wonderful to see diversity extending to different languages, as this two-parter did. In the reality where the Doctor exists past pop culture and as a real entity, yeah, no, I’m gonna make my displeasure known to him. Every language pffffahhhh

“Yeah, I know we have a ghost on our hands, and it’s not so cute as old Mr. Jenkins from Scooby Doo, and it wants to kill us, and can physically do so, while we can’t kill them much less touch them, cuz they’re dead. But you lied! You don’t speak every language!”

“Semaphore,  he says!”

“We’re finishing this later!”

“What, you can speak horse and baby but you don’t know British Sign?! You practically live in Britain!!!! I don’t care if that’s not a legitimate excuse, you liar!”

Did you take off the TARDIS translator before we came?”

“Oy! Can you ask Cass if she needs an interpreter to understand us? Like, does she see us sign when we communicate? Cuz I can see her sign and not understand it. Why? Cuz he-” *pointing at the Doctor “- lied!”

“Wait, your name’s Lunn? Why did I think it was Moran? I like Moran better, I’ll call you Moran.”

“So the universal translator only works on spoken languages throughout time and space? Yes, this is completely important and needs to be addressed now!”

How can you speak horse!! There is nothing to suggest that horses can talk!  Extremely communicative, yes, but language they do not have.”

“I’m not putting off that 1977 trip to Nicaragua. Although, now, what’s the point?”

“So do you only know every spoken language then? Say something in Dothraki. Like, not quoted from Game of thrones. That was a whole spoken language developed for the show. With grammar and everything. How about Tolkien’s Elvish? No. Paolini’s. Sing the Elements song in Paolini’s Elvish.”

“He better come back, I’m not finished with this just yet.”

“Well, we’re trapped for a while. Can you two teach me some BSL while we wait for something to happen?

– Kaye~

Addressing Language in The Little Mermaid

More precisely, I wanna suggest a different course of events that isn’t the witch taking her voice, and look at the Mermaid’s ability to communicate her love for the prince verbally, or through the use of language of any form. I’m going to look at Disney’s 1989 production, the ladybird Little Mermaid book of the Favourite Tales collection that I got for my birthday from my cousin when I had my Little Mermaid party ( it was awesome), this version, and the information about Mermaids and Mermish from The Goblet of Fire.

Because I’m both linguist and geek, and debunking things is a staple of given fandoms.

Okay, so compilation of info concerning the reason the Little Mermaid can’t talk.
1)  Disney said it was the witch’s spell
2)  My book says she would be dumb after drinking a potion
3)  the link above gives proof for LM having had her tongue cut out

“But if you take away my voice,” said the little mermaid, “what is left for me?”

“Your beautiful form, your graceful walk, and your expressive eyes; surely with these you can enchain a man’s heart. Well, have you lost your courage? Put out your little tongue that I may cut it off as my payment; then you shall have the powerful draught.”

“It shall be,” said the little mermaid.

Which kind of plays into Ursula’s whole body language bit in the movie.

The last one makes me doubt the authenticity of my book now.

Okay so here we have three given reasons as to why she couldn’t talk.

Here I’m going to get into my hypothesis. What if she never took these extensive measures and willingly forfeited her ability to speak, so that she still had her tongue and could actually speak to the prince (just without putting [the Mermish equivalent of] “I” and “love” and “you”  together, to be directed to the prince?

Hold up.

Mermish equivalent? But what about Danish, which I’m positing the prince spoke? 


Continuing my point, what if she wasn’t physically hampered in her communication, either by spell, potion or cutting her tongue out? What if it was just plain ol’ Language barriers? I mean, he was from land, possibly Denmark where Hans Christian Andersen was from. She was from the sea, deep down, a princess of an underwater kingdom. They would have different languages, wouldn’t they? In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel barely knew the words and concepts of the human world for all her research ( a.k.a. Scuttle). In the series of the same name, Ariel got grounded for a period of time measured by tides. Sorry, she was beached. Grounded is a land-based concept it seems. It may be possible to come up with a Danish equivalent for these concepts expressed in Mermish, but really….  ….eeeeehhhh

Looking at Disney’s movie, we, the audience, see the movie from Ariel’s point of view for most of it, like in her songs, and I’m stating the Part of your World (Reprise) where we hear Ariel sing. We hear lyrics. At one point, we see things from Eric’s POV, where Vanessa “sings” to prove she’s the girl he’s been looking for. The “singing” was vocalisation to Eric. It was what he heard on the beach when Ariel found him. No lyrics, just melody.

Here’s where I’m gonna take liberties with GoF.

What does GoF show us about Mermish? You can’t understand it above the ground. It’s shrieking and vocalisations in the air. Underwater, it’s fine, Harry heard the Mermaids in clear English. ( They were British Mermaids (?)) Above ground, Dumbledore was shrieking like Norman Bates’ victims with Ron Swanson’s deadpan expression on his face.

I’m guessing that our blue-eyed heartthrob wouldn’t take to our fiery (unburnable) redhead, if she’d suddenly started shrieking to tell Chef Louis that she can’t eat the crab because…… she’s …. allergic ( totally not because he’s her Father’s advisor or anything)

My guess too, is that musically, the shrieking can be something melodic, as we saw with Vanessa.

Also, I’m considering Signed languages. In the series, Ariel and Flounder make friends with a Deaf Mermaid and her Octopus friend-slash-interpreter. So, assuming that they were from Atlantica, we see that there is a signed language, which I’m dubbing Signed Atlantican Mermish. Because I’m ridiculous. Forgive me.

So, SAM. Even if Ariel had learned SAM, it may not necessarily be understandable to the Danish Deaf, who would use their version of Danish Sign. Even if she signed there is no way she could make herself understandable to her prince. He may not know DSL, and surely wouldn’t know SAM or Atlantican Mermish. And within a space of the three days she has, she can’t learn his language and he wouldn’t think to learn hers. And if she took him underwater, so he can hear her speak Danish ( because that’s how Mermish apparently works according to GoF- Because she’s a Mermaid in Danish territory?) , dude, he has lungs. You met him when he was drowning. He can’t live underwater.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and if you don’t consider the more violent or invasive reasons, but instead consider something as simple as language barriers, it’s not a stretch to see the difficulty the Little Mermaid would have had.

To conclude, basically, even if she was whole, she still wouldn’t have gotten her prince. Language barriers separate us all.

But this is a fairy tale. So what. *sweeps PC off desk*

– Kaye~

Excuse me, Mx.

There are a few things for me to blog about since they’re all in my head. The race-based culture shock experienced by my sister in University compared to my own sex & sexuality and gender based culture shock in the same campus, although different environments (We enrolled in different faculties).  My new gardening hobby, and a newfound appreciation for the fruits of the vine parable. A rant about my improvement in crochet. How celebrities become role models and how they affect youth populations based on my life from 2004 to rightly 2011. Relearning an old family dynamic, while establishing a new one. That one dude who brought up the past, and how oddly cool I am with it.

But these are all personal, and I’m still trying to find the words for some of these.

Instead, I think I’ll look at that gender neutral personal (for people dude, come on) pronoun, Mx.

I’ll try to go back to what I learned in sociolinguistics, although I haven’t in a while.

I place this disclaimer. I am a Christian. But in this, I intend to neither condone or discriminate against the LBGTQ community. Just using my linguist skills to comment and post observations. I’m not putting my opinion on the wider issue. There will not be any good or bad. Just more and less. My opinions and observations all have to do with how I see English developing. Honestly Language is all I wanna focus on. So if you have anything to say on language development from your own observations, or to correct me, feel free to comment. I will not reply or acknowledge anyone bashing anyone on this. You have been informed.

It’s an old article, and I can’t find now, >=( , but if you aren’t already aware, the LGBTQ community is happy, cuz gender neutral pronoun that is deliciously accepted as non binary! The Oxford English Dictionary is hoping to fill a void in the non-gender conforming community by introducing the gender-neutral title “Mx.

My first question is etymology. Where did it come from? As I’m writing this, I’m doing my research. I’ll get it soon enough I expect. So far though this is the closest I got, and it gives a little of a definition.

My second question is how will this affect language? Well duh. Society affects language affects society, so personally I’m not surprised. With this last decade, gender and sexuality is being explored and more is being revealed, and more is being understand about both broad groups, and how one isn’t interchangeable with the other. Of course, me with my binary mind ( ha, ‘binary’, never entered my vocab as associated with sexuality and gender until recently. I’d do a separate rant, but for the purpose of this one, it can be understood as included) , I get tied with coming up with examples.

So this new element of society needs to have terminology that addresses it. So naturally, language develops around it. English has unofficially accepted it, as tumblr, Facebook, WordPress, twitter and other social sites have shown. I’d imagine that so have other languages around the world. But as an anglophone, English has unofficially accepted it. And now, it seems that its dictionaries will.

But how does this affect languages? Language. Dictionaries can be considered to be a list of standard and accepted terms. I mean, if ‘selfie’ and ‘hashtag’ can…

So ‘Mx’ is one step closer to Standard English status. Also ‘Misc” according to that article linked with the definition.

That’s how. We accept it, Dictionaries accept it, academia and ‘higher institutions’ accept it – dude it’s already here. We’ve already been witness to and testimonies of how it’s affecting English.

The question now, is how will this affect society?  Aren’t we already seeing it? Set up a tumblr account. They’ll show you. Or just go and talk to someone. More and more people are being comfortable to identify as part of the spectrum. More and more people are using the terminology, and it’s getting more ingrained in the populations (whatever the community). More and more people are beginning to understand the LGBTQ grouping, and children are already ‘yah, whatevs’ about it, while 20 years ago, no one talked about it, so the world was largely uninformed.

So I expect in five years time the majority of nations will include Mx. as a legal title alongside Mr. Mrs. And Ms.

Cuz that’s how languages work.

– Kaye~