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Culture is defined as socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.

This would apply to the deaf community.

Within the deaf community is a wide variety of patterns, poetry, humor, and language.

The deaf have jokes that a hearing person would not understand without an explanation. They have poetry and musical talent.

Their language, American Sign Language here in America, has structure and expressive grammer. Not to mention many dialects and accents.

There is even proper etiquette for communicating to a deaf person through the sign language interpreter.

The deaf community has it's own culture and we must all learn to respect it.

Examples of Deaf culture in New Zealand.

Walking in between two Deaf people who are in conversation is considered very rude. (However, it is obviously not rude if they are on different sides of the room).

When a Deaf person wishes to get the attention of another person, there are a number of different ways they will do it. The following is a list of some ways. None of these are considered rude in the Deaf culture

  • Tap them on the shoulder
  • Ask another person to tap them on the shoulder
  • Stamp their feet (causes vibrations on the floor)
  • Flash the lights in the room

Pointing is considered rude in many cultures, however with the Deaf, it is totally acceptable and indeed sometimes the only way to get a meaning across.

The deaf are very abrupt and straight to the point. The language does not have room for the subtleties that English has. For example if two deaf people haven't seen each other in a long time, and one has put on weight, the other may very well simply comment and say "You look so fat". This is something that often offends people when they first learn sign language.

In a related note, there are very few topics in conversation that are taboo. They will talk about things that would make most people in Western cultures blush.

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