deaf/Deaf: Origins and Usage

This article discusses the origin of the term Deaf, the original intention behind the term, and its original usage. Later sections address more recent problematic interpretations of the meaning and usage of the term.

Deaf—Origins and Original Usage

One of the first known uses of the word Deaf was in a paper James Woodward wrote and presented in March 1975, at a symposium on majority and minority language at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Amsterdam. The title of the paper was “How You Gonna Get to Heaven if You Can’t Talk With Jesus: The Educational Establishment Vs. the Deaf Community.” Woodward stated: “Throughout this paper, the convention of capitalizing the word ‘Deaf’ is utilized when the word refers to any aspect of ...

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