DEBATE OF THE DAY: Should we all learn sign language?
Amidst the endless noise and babble of modern life, hand gestures make people more attractive and powerful, says research into public speakers.
One film was the clear favourite at the Oscars on Sunday night: The Power of the Dog. But when the moment came for Liza Minnelli to announce the Best Picture, the envelope contained a shock. The winner was… CODA, a film made for a modest $10m.
The letters stand for Child of Deaf Adults, and the film stars the British actress Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, the only member of her family who can hear. As their link to the wider world she faces a seemingly impossible choice: stay to help her parents run their fishing business or pursue her own career as a singer.
Troy Kotsur, who plays Ruby’s father Frank, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
In a speech made in sign language, he said, “This is our moment,” dedicating his award to all Deaf and disabled people.
Around a third of the film’s dialogue is in American Sign Language (ASL), with subtitles so that people who have not learnt it can follow what is being said. All the Deaf roles are played by Deaf actors. In the French film it was based on, the parents were both played by people who could hear.
Research has shown that people who use sign language are better at reading others’ emotions, and at following directions. It has also been found that people who use a lot of gestures make more of an impact as public speakers.
Should we all learn sign language?
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Los Angeles, USA