Introduction

This site contains an overview of the third edition of For Hearing People Only, details on the optional components (a teacher’s guide and student’s workbook, both in progress), and ordering information.

HPO is written for people who have questions about Deaf culture, sign language, and Deaf life in general, and need a quick answer. It is not intended to be an in-depth excursion into a vast and complex subject, but to provide accurate and provocative answers to over a hundred persistent questions. It is a handbook for beginners. Each chapter is designed as an independent unit focusing on one topic.

It’s for students and casual readers taking a peek into this subject for the first time. It can be used as a handy in-class or supplementary text in beginning ASL, Deaf Studies, or Introduction to Deaf Culture classes. In response to the requests we’ve gotten from teachers, this third edition will be available with an optional teacher’s guide and a student’s workbook.

Since its original publication in Fall 1992, HPO has become Deaf Life Press’s best-selling book, and a staple of classes across the nation. It is written, illustrated, and published by Deaf people. It’s for all beginners. (And, yes, we know that deaf people read it too!)

When we began monthly publication of DEAF LIFE in July 1988, we recognized the need to include an informative column written especially for our hearing readers, featuring commonly asked questions (some of them sent in by our readers others based on questions we ourselves had been asked time and time again) with our responses. It has become one of our most enduringly popular features–perhaps the most popular.

In 1992, responding to an ASL teacher’s encouragement, we published a compilation of "For Hearing People Only" columns in book form–Deaf Life Press’s first book. One year later, we published the revised, expanded second edition, which is still in print, currently in its 14th printing. This new edition is more than double the size of the second one, and has been completely revised. (The second edition has 336 pages and 60 chapters; the third edition, published in April 2003, has 768 pages and 131 chapters.)

Smart people can ask dumb questions, but “dumb” questions aren’t necessarily dumb–and all questions deserve good answers. In this book, we hope that you’ll find some enlightening answers to your questions.

Our foremost concern is to provide honest answers to people’s questions. Our perspective is based on our own experiences as deaf persons and members of the Deaf community, and embodies a Deaf viewpoint—a viewpoint that is often suppressed, distorted, or disregarded in “mainstream” media coverage. A few readers may find certain statements offensive, so we have included a brief cautionary note asking readers to approach the book with an open mind. The vast majority of readers, however, enjoy reading HPO and benefit from it.


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