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Hannah Carper
901624863
Instructor Milde
English 101
2nd Oct. 2016
Language Full of Grace
a language, full of grace,,, visible, invisible, dark, and clear. (Walker, 169) American
Sign language. Arguably one of the most beautiful languages of the world. [American] sign
[language] is the language of humans connecting, (169) says Lou Ann Walker in her article
entitled, Losing the Language of Silence. Her authority, emotion, and logic are evident in many
ways and shown either through direct wording or described experiences. Losing the Language
of Silence is a wonderful article, giving us insight into the lives of the deaf, teaching us what
losing sign language might mean for society, and convincing each and every one of her readers
that theyve always wanted to learn sign language. She flawlessly demonstrates her superior
abilities as an author while simultaneously showing her readers the person behind the article.
The Article
Lou Ann Walkers main point in writing Losing the Language of Silence is to convey
that sign language is a dying language. She first tells us of her background, how she was raised,
how she learned sign language, and how she now views it. Lou Ann tells us that cochlear
implants, which are small devices implanted into the brain and inner ear that allow a person to
hear, and oralism, which is the art of lip reading and learning to understand without hearing,

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are continually taking the place of sign language; that there seems to be this idea that sign
language, cochlear implants, and oralism are mutually exclusive, and that you must pick one or
the other. In doing this, Lou Ann gives us a history of sign language, insight into what it means to
speak sign language, and finally, reaches the epitome of her article when she tells us, As
someone who lives in the world of words and signs, I support whatever will give a child as much
language as possible. I am for cochlear implants and I am for sign language. I wish so many
people didnt see those two as mutually exclusive. (171) Lou Ann Walker teaches us, through
her powerful use of written words and her understanding of the deaf world, to appreciate our
hearing, deafness, or whatever spoken or signed language that we are blessed to have.
Ethos
American Sign Language was Lou Ann Walkers first language. Though she was not
prelingually deaf, as her parents were, she was taught American Sign Language in order that she
might communicate with her parents and understand how her parents communicated. Lou Ann
Walker does not tell us how she learned to speak, but she does communicate that she speaks as
well as signs. Because her parents are deaf, we can conclude that Lou Ann Walker has first-hand
experience and understanding of what it means to be deaf and insight into what it means to be a
part of the deaf community, and how it feels to be a deaf, sign language speaking person in a
hearing world. Because she speaks sign language, she understands the emotions and movements
required to sign effectively. Lou Ann Walker also gives us some proof of her credibility. All the
quotes and experiences described are her own. Instead of pulling from the writings of others and
citing other sources, Lou Ann Walker actually went to St. Josephs School for the Deaf and
talked through sign language, to some of the students and teachers. Her experiences through
learning sign language, signing with her parents and others, and first hand experiencing St.

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Peters School for the Deaf, gives her credibility as an author, authority on sing language and
deafness, and our trust as readers.
Pathos
Lou Anne Walker describes American Sign Language as a language of extraordinary
intimacy. (169) Her passion for the language is clearly expressed in her writing and her depth
of emotion is felt by her readers. We know that sign language is close to her heart for many
different reasons. Lou Ann tells us that American Sign Language was her first language. Her
parents, who were prelingually deaf, presumably taught her American Sign Language before she
learned to speak English. Throughout her article, Lou Ann communicates the extreme personal
contact one must have with the person they are signing with. Instead of talking to someone
while texting, or yelling at one another from across the house, in order to sign with someone, you
must be looking at that person. The primary sensory loss, deafness is portrayed to be overcome
by sign language. Through this analogy, Lou Ann makes Sign Language and deafness personal.
Everyone loves a story of darkness overcome by light. In her analogy, deafness is the ultimate
evil, overcome by the enlightening of sign language. In describing the prejudices and stares deaf
individuals endure, Lou Ann pulls at our heartstrings, for everyone knows the pain of judgment
for their individuality. Lou Ann makes this article personal for even those who know nothing of
Sign Language. She makes her readers feel the pain, joy, and intimacy, she feels while signing.
Logos
The logic of Lou Anns article seems hidden under the emotions for sign language and
expert knowledge she presents about deafness. We are so overwhelmed with feelings of joy,
longing, and awe, that our discernment in giving credibility to an article based on its logic is

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clouded. Once we are able to get passed our raging emotions and awe of her authority, we are
able to see small hints of the logic behind Losing the Language of Silence. Lou Anns logic
seems to convince us that sign language, oralism, and cochlear implants, are all viewed as
mutually exclusive. Sign Language is dying. All language is a gift. Therefore, we should use as
many means necessary in order to have as much language as we can; rescuing sign language
from impending death. Lou Ann uses her authority, emotion, and logical statements to back up
her points. She liberally mixes her emotions, authority, and logic to build an impenetrable
argument. To break this argument, you would need to find fault in her logic, which would
require you to also disprove her authority and deny the emotions she presents. This approach,
whether it be intentional or not, is ingenious, and requires us to look at her article in awe and
bow to the weight of her logic.
Underlying Themes: Audism
Although Lou Ann does not mention it directly, Language Awareness mentions the
concept of audism in relation to Losing the Language of Silence. (172) Audism is defined as,
the notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear. (Audism) Though Lou Ann
doesnt mention it, we can assume from her strong feeling in regards to deafness being a gift that
she is totally against audism. But would she be for the reverse? Since Lou Ann regards deafness
as a gift, would she argue for the superiority of those who are deaf over those who hear? After
all, through the emotion of her writing, Lou Ann has us coveting the feelings imparted through
signing, the joy and intimacy felt in connection with others through signing, and the seemingly
high status that learning and knowing sign language tend to convey. Indeed, though Lou Ann
ends her article by stating that sign Language is a gift, she also states that she is for, whatever
will give a child as much language as possible. (Walker 171) Therefore, we can conclude that

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Lou Ann does not believe that deafness is an advantage, only that she wishes all those who are
deaf to view their deafness as a gift, and that those who are able to hear, should also view their
ability to hear and speak as an advantage. Lou Ann is not for audism, but language in general,
whatever language may look like for different people.
Conclusion
Losing the language of Silence offers us a refreshing read by an ingenious author. Lou
Ann Walker uses her authority, emotion, and logic in perfect harmony to create an article which
is almost infallible. She creates in us an awe for her authority, an emotion we did not know was
possible for us to feel, and a deep understanding of her complex and hidden logic. The insight
she gives us into the lives and struggles of the deaf is heart-warming and stirs in us a desire to
better understand the struggles and joys of being deaf. Lou Ann shows us how the deaf feel in a
hearing world, the struggles they deal with every day, and the way that we, as hearing people,
should think about deafness. Not as a curse, or the lack of something, but as a gift, a, language
full of grace. (169)

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Works Cited
Walker, Lou Ann. Losing the Language of Silence. Language Awareness. Eschholz, Paul;
Rosa, Alfred; and Clark, Virginia. 12 edition. Macmillian Learning. 2016 p. 168-172.
Wikipedia contributors. "Audism." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia, 7 Sep. 2016. Web. 7 Sep. 2016.