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Seeing Voices [Paperback]

Oliver Sacks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book by Sacks, Oliver

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating overview of Deaf Culture June 1 2002
By A Customer
Oliver Sacks, the author of Awakenings, presents an overview of deafness and deaf culture. The book is written in three parts. Part 1 covers a history of deafness with the first deaf schools in France. The history examines the controversy between the oral method and sign language.
Part 2 extensively looks at sign as a distinct language with its own syntax and grammar.
Part 3 is an excellent synopsis of the 1988 uprising at Gallaudet University over the selection of a new president.
This book offers a fascinating overview of deaf culture by a talented writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER
Most of the information that we get about the world comes through the sense of sight. Therefore it would seem that it there is one sense that we would be loath to part with, it would be this one. And yet, it is the sense of hearing that has the greatest impact on the acquisition of language and subsequently on the formation of our minds. If we don't acquire language really early on in our lives, we are bound to lead a very limited existence as compared to most other people. It is these facts and some other very deep and important ones that I was able to gather from this Oliver Sacks book. It really opened my mind to the world of deaf people in a profoundly different way. Sacks documents various attempts over the last few centuries to give deaf people a chance to acquire a sign language, and different approaches to the education of the deaf. The book also opened my eyes to the fact that the sign language is a real language, qualitatively and profoundly different from simple gesticulations and gestures that we engage on a daily basis in our regular communications. In fact, the sign language is in one sense much more complex than the regular spoken language. One can argue that the spoken language is one-dimensional - it consists of sounds of different pitch and duration in time. On the other hand, the sign language is four-dimensional - it employs all three dimensions of space to create various hand configurations and adds an extra layer in the form of motion.

One of the greatest features of Olives Sacks' writing is the highly sophisticated and literary style that he employs. I would love reading his books even if he were describing the content of a box of cereal. We are fortunate that his writing brilliance is matched with the vast knowledge and expertise that he has in neuroscience. It is this incredible combination of writing and scientific talent that makes each of his books a masterpiece.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete Aug. 31 2003
By Tom
Being a Deaf person, I enjoy reading about the culture, the history, the outlook of others. That's why I was particulary excited when I got my hands on this book. And while I was interested throughout the book, I found my blood pressure frequently rising as I read the author's biased and one-track-mind approach.
He speaks as if all deaf people are the same and that one language is right for all. I, personally, use the language he speaks of, however, it is simply not healthy to presume all deaf people do as well. The largest thing he fails to even mention once is the fact that the large majority of deaf people became deaf after the age of 18.
That being said, if you're interested in learning nothing more than what this man thinks and his delight in learning a handful of signs and communicating with us less fortunate people (sarcasm), read away. If, on the other hand, you want to truly learn more about the culture and not only what Oliver Sacks believes, click on the back arrow at the top of your screen and continue your search. :o(
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