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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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Language Dec 29 2000
Seeing Voices gives a clear answer to the question, "Which comes first? Language or thought." The answer, "Language." As Sacks retells stories of the profoundly deaf deprived of "language" into early adulthood, the pattern emerges: Without language there is no abstraction, no ability to achieve love or communication, and all life becomes an inarticulate groaning to have basic needs met immediately. There is no sense of time - life becomes an eternal present. The discovery of language leads to intense sadness as one realizes the lonely prison they have been in. In a long life of reading, this is the first book I immediately re-read on completing it the first time.
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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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