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Thread: Functioning as a Deaf wizard/witch

  1. #1
    Nagini Riddle

    Functioning as a Deaf wizard/witch

    Hey, all! I am fascinated by Deaf Culture, and started thinking about maybe writing a story based on the Wizarding world with a Deaf person. My question is:

    How do you think a Deaf person would function in the magical world???

    There are some things magic can't change, and I think being Deaf would be one of them. So, if a witch or wizard was born deaf, how do you think they would go about performing magic, seeing as they wouldn't be able to hear the spells. I don't wish to offend the Deaf Community- I am truly curious and interested to see what others have to say for this.

    Please in your responses, be kind. We don't want to offend anyone.

  2. #2
    Apple Wood Hufflepuff
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    I don't think not being able to hear the spells would really have anything to do with it. As we know, spells give off flashes of light, and if you were deaf, I think one of the things you would have to learn fairly quickly is the distinctions between light colours--not just green, purple, red, but light green, dark green, medium purple, etc.

    I think being deaf in the HP universe would be even more difficult than it is in RL, tbh. And it's not really because of not being able to hear, imho--a lot of what people learn takes place in books, and people can lip-read as long as the speaker is looking right at them. No, I think the most difficult thing about being deaf in HP would be pronunciation, for sure, and saying what you mean to. Since deaf people can't hear what they're saying, they tend to mispronounce words, and as we know from canon, saying things correctly is extremely important. Remember how you have to speak clearly while you use Floo Powder? Yes, there are nonverbal spells, but they are very difficult to learn and people don't usually learn them until sixth year. If Ron had problems with pronouncing Leviosa, it would be even harder for a deaf eleven-year-old.

    One thing that you might want to consider is whether or not sign language could be used for spells. My gut feeling says no, or highly unlikely, since sign language requires two hands for most of the more difficult words, and spelling things out sounds way too complicated and/or unnecessary as most deaf people don't use the alphabet while they're speaking anyway. If you do use sign language!spells for your story, you have to make sure that they don't coincide with British sign language (as you're American, I believe, and ASL does stand for American sign language.... ) and that they can be done while holding a wand. However, I still don't believe that these would be used, especially not regularly, as they take too long to do and leave a bit of a weakness.

    I think nonverbal spells would be the way to go. We know that they aren't generally learned until sixth year, but I think exceptions could be made for deaf people. They would definitely have to work hard at it, and certainly wouldn't be in the same curriculum as Harry's class, but I think it's definitely possible that they could do it.

    It's really up to you, though

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  3. #3
    Nagini Riddle
    Actually, I did think about that. However, since Deaf people don't hear, they also don't "hear themselves think," especially when born deaf. If they've never heard sound, how do you expect them to think in sound?

    So, do you think there is a way to do nonverbal spells without thinking of the word? Would a mental image of what they want done be enough? Or would they have to see the spell written out, and try to pronounce it in their thoughts?

    I think that is my main question. Does the word matter, or is it more your conviction, determination, and will?

  4. #4
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    If you consider Magical children before they have a wand, they use thoughts and uncontrolled emotions to cast magic. I think a deaf witch or wizard would have to learn to channel these emotions through a wand. There are certainly classes at Hogwarts where they could still learn, and learn well (Herbology, Potions, Astronomy, Ancient Runes etc etc). Basically any class that doesn't require 'wand-waving' can be taught to a deaf witch/wizard. Where incantations have to be used (Transfiguration, Charms), then they'd need specialist help. It's entirely possible that their non-verbal skills would be more proficient than those of their hearing counterparts, but they would need assistance harnessing this power.


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  5. #5
    Nagini Riddle
    That makes sense. Do you think there would be a special sign language for witches and wizards, or would they use the same as the country they live in uses?

    And, do you think a deaf witch or wizard would be able to attend Hogwarts? Or would the parents more likely want to teach the child themselves?

    As for history, do you think Deaf witches and wizards went through the same treatment as deaf people did- when it was considered to be evil?

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