W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2005

Re: Accessibility for Deaf

From: <Stuart.M.Smith@manchester.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 19:44:21 +0000 (GMT)
Message-ID: <9955524.1128714261615.JavaMail.ocs@arke-pub1.theogony.net>
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Again, Randal you miss the point about cultural weighting. It is not that the word can't mean other things it does and it doesn't mean that the originator of a phrase can't mean something else. However, some words simply become too weighted to be used usefully in a neutral context "dumb" is one of those words.

You can disagree, for yourself, that's fine but you cannot change that for many people, the word "dumb" is culturally weighted towards stupidity e.g. the use of phrases such as "dumbass" etc, which have far more common currency as usage than its use as "mute".

There are phrases and words used in reference to race that orignally started neutral and retain that meaning but still have such a strong negative cultural association that they have become unacceptable in academic description.

I stand by my point that "dumb" is too cultural weighted with connotations of offense to be used in association with those who have speech impairment to be of any neutral use as a point of reference.


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