@Mentions It’S An Important Distinction, So Let’S Unpack It

twitter thread from

It’s an important distinction, so let’s unpack it.

To check whether #Makaton is a natural #language like English or #BritishSignLanguage, let’s ask a few questions:

@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Is #Makaton rich enough to express every human communication need, from education to work to philosophy to poetry? Or is it limited in its use?
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Which modality does #Makaton use? Is it a signed language, a spoken language, or a communication tool that combines signs (borrowed from #BSL or invented by non-native signers without consulting #Deaf people, a.k.a. cultural appropriation) with spoken English & picture cards?
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Is #Makaton vocabulary fixed (yes) or does it evolve over time or allow natural variation according to e.g. region? (No.)

Can #Makaton users innovate new signs for new concepts to keep pace with the ever-changing world we live in? (No.)

@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Does #Makaton have its own grammar that allows users to comfortably communicate at a natural pace? (No.) Or is it comprised of vocabulary from one language / modality (#BSL and pseudo-BSL) mapped onto the grammar of another language (spoken English)? (Yes.)
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Can #Deaf people understand people who use #Makaton? (No.) Why are their complaints dismissed? #BSL (which Makaton borrows from) is the Deaf community’s language. Nobody else’s.
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing TL; DR: #Makaton is not a language. If anything, it is a kind of #pidgin at the intersection between signed English (with invented or incorrect #BSL signs), spoken English & symbol cards. But Sign Supported English (#SSE) already exists; many #Deaf people use it or understand it.
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing #Makaton is not appropriate for communication with #Deaf people of any age. #BritishSignLanguage (#BSL) is a full, expressive, rich language in its own right, recognised in law by the #BSLAct 2022 as an indigenous #language of Great Britain. Makaton has had no such recognition.
@mentions@MaryOToole10 @StaffsPLOD @BDA_Deaf @DEAFvibe @ddeaflinks @SignHealth @ActionOnHearing Hearing people who profit from teaching #Makaton as “sign language” are committing #culturalappropriation & endangering #Deaf people who cannot understand nurses, teachers or social workers who think they can “sign”. No. Enough. The language of the Deaf community is #BSL or #ISL.

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