Sign language is something that excites and fascinates my mother. She was reading an article related to her university study and she read this passage to me. It immediately engrossed me.
The story of a wedding at the end of A Loss for Words illustrates and widens this observation. The author, Lou Ann, faces the incapability to interpret the whole beauty and depth of the speech given in sign language by her father during her sister’s wedding. ‘My interpretation was inadequate. My father’s signing was graceful and expansive. It had the beauty of a conductor leading a symphony orchestra. There was nothing clichéd in what he signed. No translation could have been as expressive or as moving as the way he drew his hands through the air.’ Facial expression, movements, sense of space are a part of sign language. That opens up a whole new reservoir of the depth of meaning and expressions of meaning.
Encountering Deaf People and Levinas by Sandra Daktaraite.
I encourage you to think about this. She could not translate a speech in sign language because there were no words that expressed so richly and completely the eloquent language of the body. This is profound for me. I adore language, and this passage made me rethink my perception of language. Language is verbal and physical. How beautiful is that?!!