It reminds me of Oliver Sacks's lovely book, "Seeing Voices," describing Martha's Vineyard many years ago. The island had a very high percentage of deaf people, so high that many if not most of the hearing people could sign. Signing was so intrinsic to the society's communication that if you asked a resident whether a particular neighbor was deaf, he'd have to stop and think. "Old Joe? Yes, come to think of it, I believe he was deaf." It must have been one of the very few communities in which deaf people were not socially isolated.
Interesting. I may have to check out that book.
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