Cued Speech Returns to National Spotlight: For All the Wrong Reasons


Dr. Richard Cornett, who coined Cued Speech in 1966, quotes: “I had supposed that deaf persons were bookworms, served by reading as their one clear window on the world. A few months of study convinced me that the underlying cause of their reading problem was the lack of any reasonable way to learn spoken language, without which they could not use speech for communication, become good lip readers, or learn to read (as opposed to being taught the recognition of each written world). So, I really started with the conclusion that what was needed was a convenient way to represent the spoken language accurately, through vision, in real time. That was the problem I set out to solve, the perceived need that set my direction.”

Today, in 2019, hearing people who had been doing the tricks of “hearing-washing” Deaf people to recognize and claim that Cued Speech is the gateway to the clear window on the world of excelling in written English and a better reader. Cued Speech is just a tool. Besides, Cued Speech is a hearing privilege.

Way before the first selfie, American Sign Language (ASL) had shown the myth of Cued Speech about how it would improve superior written English skills; it has already shown a myth already. Besides, ASL was discovered and wandered in the search of language truth first before Cued Speech and it is too late.


Cued Speech had rejected ASL, showing its own reflection of language oppression what it is known as language hegemony in Deaf world, just like the power of English attempting to control the world as highly recommend to read a book called “Globish: How English Became the World’s Language” by Robert McCrum, co-author of “The Story of English”—Pstt. It is really good book to read. Really!

Let’s turn our thoughts to the language hegemony. It strikes me the most that the Cued Speech is ideological more than phenomenal. Its “OR” choice: to weaken or destroy ASL and Deaf Culture based on its proposed creation of a “new order of Deaf people” into Oralism.

Improving written English is better when Cued Speech is in the picture, and the problem is that it has been brainwashed. However, Cued Speech is just bullshit, and it is no wonder that Cued Speech is so fossilized it has gone too long and proved enough that Cued Speech was never a success. ASL, one of top five most popular languages in America, nothing can beat that!

The leadership of Cued Speech is still flawed, yet, dumbing Deaf people down. Familiarity breeds contempt. Come on, it applauds me the most that Deaf people would claim that Cued Speech would improve English skills when they never experienced Cued Speech themselves and yet, give the power to Cued Speech Association.

Let’s look at this way. ASL, Deaf Culture, Deaf Life—is the reason they are breathing the most because of the strongest bond ever. There are “plenty” of ASL curriculum showing it’s the strongest accreditation”—derived from an old Latinate word for “trustworthy” and in today’s terms, it means ASL should be trusted as high quality.

I mean, come on, ASL was discovered in 1965, beating Cued Speech by a year, and it has shown far more sophisticated and serious institution than most of us could ever imagine, but seeing its validity and appreciating its importance for Deaf culture upon having a clear definition of what ASL is all about.

In closing, what I am trying to convey the message above is that Cued Speech is not enchantment and its primary intent is not to take idle excursions into imaginary lands inhabited by characters from classics. It is disenchantment enough to take a hard look at essential realities through the language and culture Deaf people knows the best. Hearing privileges does not belong in this society.

The whole point is that ASL had already shown or proved that emotional, intellectual, and linguistically realities are what so much of the truth in Deaf life seems designed to challenge us, Deaf people from.

Sure, what I had learned so much how much ASL is important to Deaf life, it’s damn beautiful, cannot describe so powerfully, that ASL is a radical, in that it addresses the roots of our own experience, and that is powerful, in that its intention is to overturn and banish illusion—illiteracy in ASL and Deaf Culture. Personal, social, and cultural rationalizations concerning ourselves as Deaf people—we need to stand up against Cued Speech.

ASL will never steal away from intellectual freedom out of oppressive language such as Cued Speech, and we need to continue standing up against Cued Speech and its Oralism practices.

LEAD-K is what had been struck in hearing world, and had been a sad state of our own Deaf society is in to cause a Deaf person to want to be defined in someone else’s language. Isn’t that what ASL is all about? Being translated, being lost in the translation? On the other hand, it is going to be a great way to explain the reason in the fresh air of truth. It really makes many Deaf people want to learn how to discuss ASL.


Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.


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