Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

A forum for general discussion of the game: Open to all punters
User avatar
BMFJack
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:53 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by BMFJack » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:58 pm

I wanted to refrain from joining in on the mute conversation, but I took ASL for two years and I think a more accurate depiction of the situation goes like this:

The term "mute" is simply misleading, as it's definition is such that a person who is mute cannot talk and/or make vocal noises. As such, people who are deaf but not mute simply prefer the term "voice-off" because it's more accurate. I was never given the impression that "mute" is offensive in the slightest, just that it isn't accurate.

"Voice-off" is the preferred term, as I understand, because it makes a distinct difference between someone who cannot talk, and someone who chooses not to make noises that aren't really considered speech. There are a number of deaf people who can talk just fine, they simply can't hear. The majority of these cases are developed deafness, but some people who are born deaf learn to speak relatively normally. I've met quite a few deaf people who could both speak and read lips, making it pretty difficult to tell that they couldn't hear.

Trying to steer us back on topic, I don't see how anyone could truly hate Misha. Sure, I dislike her, but I couldn't hate her. Hell, if Misha were real we'd probably be friends.

I might be able to see hating her at first, because she can be incredibly annoying, but the more you get to know Misha I think you'd have to be heartless to still truly hate her.

User avatar
metalangel
Posts: 842
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by metalangel » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:11 am

brythain wrote: Being only slightly less ignorant now than I was a few days ago, could you please elaborate on why 'mute' is seen as pejorative or politically incorrect or otherwise worse than 'voice-off'? The latter term seems rather contrived: it's an unnatural construction, and if it's to gain currency, perhaps it's good that someone explains it. I'm somewhere in my fifth decade now, and only because I have relatives who are speech therapists have I ever heard the term. I had not connected it with 'deaf' ('hearing-impaired'?) until now. I understand why 'dumb' might be pejorative, since we use it that way in common conversation, but the only time I've seen 'mute' and 'mutie' as pejorative is in X-Men comics.
From the Canadian Association of the Deaf:
deaf-mute
Unacceptable. A deaf person may choose not to use his/her voice; this does not make him/her a "mute".
The NAD and WFD both agree with this.

Discussion on "For Hearing People Only", a book explaining about Deaf Culture:
"The next phrase, "deaf mute," might seem a bit more benign, but it is still inaccurate and offensive. The authors of For Hearing People Only (a wonderful question and answer book about Deaf Culture) write that at one time both of these terms "reflected a common misconception that deafness caused muteness. People believed that deaf people couldn’t speak, that they were incapable of speech." This is simply not true. As Burke writes, "It has come to be viewed as an insult because many if not most deaf people CAN learn to talk." The inability to hear does not render one unable to speak, and certainly not unable to communicate. My old professor Lyes Bousseloub was born deaf but he can still utter certain key words much better that I would have expected him to. As for communication, I've been to a few Deaf socials and those people are more chatty than most Hearing people I know. To tack on the word "mute" when describing them is just a waste of breath."

TL;DR: The difference is that one is something that cannot be changed, and the other is a conscious choice by an individual.

User avatar
brythain
Posts: 3519
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia
Contact:

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by brythain » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:02 am

metalangel wrote:TL;DR: The difference is that one is something that cannot be changed, and the other is a conscious choice by an individual.
Got that. It is elective behaviour, then, as long as it's not something physiological that prevents speech. Thanks!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6041
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:41 am

The definition of the word "mute" includes selective mutism, so I don't see why using the term should be wrong.
If some people choose to be offended by that term… Well, there's nothing nobody will be offended by - especially in the US it seems.

People should consider if there is an intent to insult before they take offense from such things - and in the case of the word "mute" I can't imagine a situation where it would be used with such intent - especially if the alternative is a word few people have even heard.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

ProfAllister
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by ProfAllister » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:03 pm

Now, as always, keep in mind that I am not myself deaf, and my ASL study has been extremely limited, and my knowledge is mostly secondhand. On the other hand, I try to do significant research, interviews, and vetting of comments before I say something TOO stupid.

From the hearing perspective - which I share with most of the people here - the distinction between "mute" and "voice off" is one of apathy, with a leaning toward the more natural-feeling "mute." However, this is really a case where it's best to try hopping into the other person's shoes.

As I've mentioned in previous discussions, Deaf have a history of being marginalised and lumped in with the mentally incompetent. It's no coincidence that "dumb" means both "unable to speak/mute" and "mentally deficient." It's not terribly surprising, either - deafness presents a massive communication barrier between Deaf and Hearing. For much of history, oral communication was pretty much the only form of communication in regular use, and remains the primary (and first) form for the vast majority of the world's population. As established in countless works of science fiction, communication is consistently the basis for establishing anything beyond rudimentary animal intelligence.

So you've got the history, which drives deaf to represent themselves in a manner that recognises their intelligence and agency. To retread previous ground for a moment, "mute" carries connotations of suppression. You mute the speakers when you don't want sound. A mute is a device applied to a musical instrument to (usually) muffle the sound. In these cases, there is the assumption that sound is the natural state of things, and the muting represents artificiality and obstruction. By comparison, "voice off" (to my mind) evokes the idea of configuration settings for a game (or something similar). You may decide that you want to turn Auto-Save or double-tap to run or 3-D shadows off, but it's entirely a matter of choice. The fact that some hardware settings are less suited to certain features only enhances the metaphor. As for the awkwardness of phrasing, I'd guess that comes from the syntax of ASL, where "voice off" is a natural/literal translation of the associated signs.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

User avatar
metalangel
Posts: 842
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by metalangel » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:08 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:The definition of the word "mute" includes selective mutism, so I don't see why using the term should be wrong.
If some people choose to be offended by that term… Well, there's nothing nobody will be offended by - especially in the US it seems.

People should consider if there is an intent to insult before they take offense from such things - and in the case of the word "mute" I can't imagine a situation where it would be used with such intent - especially if the alternative is a word few people have even heard.

You should consider respecting the other person's wishes to not have that word used to describe them, irregardless of your own views as to whether it should be seen as offensive.

Kutagh
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by Kutagh » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:33 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:[..]

People should consider if there is an intent to insult before they take offense from such things - and in the case of the word "mute" I can't imagine a situation where it would be used with such intent - especially if the alternative is a word few people have even heard.
I disagree with considering whether there is an intent to insult. For decades, people thought that deaf people were dumb. I'm pretty certain that (most of) them did not intend to insult the deaf population but merely stating a fact (which is in hindsight not quite true). Still, without the intention of insulting or even malice, they effectively harmed the development of the deaf population by denying them proper opportunities to educate themselves or to work.
Yes, it is usually not necessary to lash out about it, but it certainly needs to be corrected to prevent misinformed people spread a harmful influence through the community. And especially with the deaf community still feeling like the hearing world is repressing them, the last thing you want to do is ignorantly keep insulting them and keep fueling the hate for the hearing world.

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6041
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:40 pm

If you try to never say anything that anyone will feel offended by you won't be able to open your mouth anymore except to breathe.

For a long time "mute" was considered preferable to "dumb" because of the negative connotations of "dumb", and I understand that.
Now "voice-off" is supposed to be the politically correct version of the day even though a) hardly anyone even knows the term and b) there are no commonplace negative connotations to the word "mute". (For me it doesn't even have the connotation of suppressing my remote control.)

It's the same as the word "negro" which was at one time considered to be a more polite substitute for "coloured". Even MLK referred to black people as negro in his most famous speech. Today it is a word you can't use in polite company.

I doubt "Voice-off" will ever be widespread enough to garner that much hatred.

"Muteness" is not an insult. It is a clinical term, and as such it is as inoffensive as it gets. If somebody chooses to be offended regardless of that I can't help them.
For decades, people thought that deaf people were dumb. I'm pretty certain that (most of) them did not intend to insult the deaf population but merely stating a fact (which is in hindsight not quite true). Still, without the intention of insulting or even malice, they effectively harmed the development of the deaf population by denying them proper opportunities to educate themselves or to work.
Originally mute - or voice-off - people were called dumb, because they were. That was the meaning of the word dumb at the time. Only later did "dumb" gain the second meaning of "stupid", because people began to think that muteness came with stupidity - and for the record: I don't think that is okay at all. Then because of those negative connotations they chose another word from Latin roots instead of Middle English ones to describe the lack of the ability - or willingness - to speak.

And I think I'll retire from this discussion at this point. Looking at the original topic of this thread, I am amazed it has not been thoroughly cooked already.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

User avatar
metalangel
Posts: 842
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by metalangel » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:53 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:If you try to never say anything that anyone will feel offended by you won't be able to open your mouth anymore except to breathe.
Don't be ridiculous - if you make a faux pas, you're told not to say that word (and why) and you know not to. Arguing back as you are and/or persisting in using it is where the problems start.
For a long time "mute" was considered preferable to "dumb" because of the negative connotations of "dumb", and I understand that.
Now "voice-off" is supposed to be the politically correct version of the day even though a) hardly anyone even knows the term and b) there are no commonplace negative connotations to the word "mute". (For me it doesn't even have the connotation of suppressing my remote control.)

It's the same as the word "negro" which was at one time considered to be a more polite substitute for "coloured". Even MLK referred to black people as negro in his most famous speech. Today it is a word you can't use in polite company.
Can you see the parallel there? A word that was widespread and accepted is now considered offensive?
"Muteness" is not an insult. It is a clinical term, and as such it is as inoffensive as it gets. If somebody chooses to be offended regardless of that I can't help them.
That's all your opinion, which you are entitled to have. You're implying that the Deaf community is being illogical or unreasonable in being offended, and in the face of reasoned explanations.

Originally mute - or voice-off - people were called dumb, because they were. That was the meaning of the word dumb at the time. Only later did "dumb" gain the second meaning of "stupid", because people began to think that muteness came with stupidity - and for the record: I don't think that is okay at all. Then because of those negative connotations they chose another word from Latin roots instead of Middle English ones to describe the lack of the ability - or willingness - to speak.
Yes, and "negro" has its roots in Latin too, what's your point? You don't get to choose, you're not a member of the community, you don't have the history of the negative connotations associated with the word as part of your culture and upbringing. Has it occurred to you that part of this is that they have been able to choose their own term that they prefer, rather than one that was given to them by others who much like you decided they knew what was best? It's like saying you object to Aboriginal people who in Canada who have picked the term 'First Nations' to describe themselves to replace 'Indians'.

User avatar
BMFJack
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:53 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by BMFJack » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:14 am

metalangel wrote:That's all your opinion, which you are entitled to have. You're implying that the Deaf community is being illogical or unreasonable in being offended, and in the face of reasoned explanations.
In reference specifically to where Mirage says that "Mute" is a clinical term, that is not his opinion. That's a fact.

I think it's a little bit more than implied. Given that the specific definition (and every instance of the definition that I can find) clearly says that a mute person can either choose to be silent or be unable to make noise, I'd agree. Not only that, but with all of the deaf people that I have met not a single one has ever been offended by the term mute.

It's been my experience that when people get offended, it's unreasonable a vast majority of the time. That may just be because I live in the Deep South in USA, though.

User avatar
Atario
Posts: 1358
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:06 am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by Atario » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:41 am

metalangel wrote:Please tell me that's not a serious comment.
Deadly serious. And I don't appreciate your dismissive tone.
From the Canadian Association of the Deaf:
deaf-mute
Unacceptable. A deaf person may choose not to use his/her voice; this does not make him/her a "mute".
The NAD and WFD both agree with this.
This is an argument from authority, and it erroneously presumes a particular type of muteness to be the only type. Furthermore, if one can be "deaf-blind" or any other combination of things, there's no reason why that particular combination should be "unacceptable", Association or no.
Discussion on "For Hearing People Only", a book explaining about Deaf Culture:
"The next phrase, "deaf mute," might seem a bit more benign, but it is still inaccurate and offensive. The authors of For Hearing People Only (a wonderful question and answer book about Deaf Culture) write that at one time both of these terms "reflected a common misconception that deafness caused muteness. People believed that deaf people couldn’t speak, that they were incapable of speech." This is simply not true. As Burke writes, "It has come to be viewed as an insult because many if not most deaf people CAN learn to talk." The inability to hear does not render one unable to speak, and certainly not unable to communicate. My old professor Lyes Bousseloub was born deaf but he can still utter certain key words much better that I would have expected him to. As for communication, I've been to a few Deaf socials and those people are more chatty than most Hearing people I know. To tack on the word "mute" when describing them is just a waste of breath."
Again, this presupposes that "mute" can only mean physically incapable, which is incorrect. In fact, in the dictionary definition I'm looking at right now, the first one listed is "refraining from speech or utterance", and only when we come to the definition where it mentions being "incapable" does it say the term is offensive in that use — the one you're advocating be the only one. At any rate, it seems that those taking offense at the term are assuming the offensive version and not the benign one. But it shouldn't be surprising; taking offense is a well-known pastime.
ProfAllister wrote:So you've got the history, which drives deaf to represent themselves in a manner that recognises their intelligence and agency.
That's well and good, but there's a problem with the response being to forbid terminology: that it encourages the presumption of inferiority. Term X used to be fine to describe Group A; but now it's considered insulting, so we must all move on to the fresh shiny new Term Y. But what happened to make Term X change into an insult? The only thing that happened to it was its long association with Group A. Therefore, in forbidding Term X, we must be saying that Group A is so bad that it gradually infects the very words used to describe it. Apply Term Y, wait till that one is also considered insulting, invent Term Z, rinse and repeat ad infinitum. This is the Dysphemism Treadmill.

Instead of saying "don't use Term X because it insults those poor, pitiable members of Group A", we should be saying "there's nothing wrong with being in Group A, so why would Term X be insulting?".
"mute" carries connotations of suppression. You mute the speakers when you don't want sound. A mute is a device applied to a musical instrument to (usually) muffle the sound. In these cases, there is the assumption that sound is the natural state of things, and the muting represents artificiality and obstruction.
Er. What? You mute something when the sound is annoying you, which is an assumption that the sound is the problem, the unusual thing. The muteness is a blessed relief from vexation. I have pretty positive associations with it…
metalangel wrote:You should consider respecting the other person's wishes to not have that word used to describe them, irregardless of your own views as to whether it should be seen as offensive.
Adopting this as a general policy is the surest way I can think of to invest the maximum power possible into the loudest complainers.
Mirage_GSM wrote:this thread, I am amazed it has not been thoroughly cooked already.
Ah, but you see, disabilities are an expressly allowed topic in all cases! We're immune! Immune, I say! [Thread immediately gets locked anyway]
metalangel wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:If you try to never say anything that anyone will feel offended by you won't be able to open your mouth anymore except to breathe.
Don't be ridiculous - if you make a faux pas, you're told not to say that word (and why) and you know not to. Arguing back as you are and/or persisting in using it is where the problems start.
Yeah, Mirage, don't you know you don't get to have agency of your own or advocate for your own viewpoint? I mean, at least pick a group to be a part of so you can join in on the forbidding.
Can you see the parallel there? A word that was widespread and accepted is now considered offensive?
Can you?
You don't get to choose, you're not a member of the community, you don't have the history of the negative connotations associated with the word as part of your culture and upbringing. Has it occurred to you that part of this is that they have been able to choose their own term that they prefer, rather than one that was given to them by others who much like you decided they knew what was best?
Every person in the world is described using a plethora of terms all the time, none of which they themselves chose. I never chose the term "brown-haired"; so do I get to forbid you from using it because I've taken some notion to be offended by it? And then do I get to go on to demand that you start using the term "fhqwhgads" instead or you're an insensitive swine?
NB: none of the above is a request

Mutou Gets Fired — a little one-shot fanfic I wrote

Notguest
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:56 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by Notguest » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:57 am

I think the bigger problem is that no replacement term is offered. I have literally never seen the term "voice off" before this thread. Eventually I did find some usages of it online (1, 2), but they put it in scare quotes, almost as if it is not standard terminology that everyone would be expected to recognize.

User avatar
BMFJack
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:53 pm

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by BMFJack » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:00 am

Atario wrote:we should be saying "there's nothing wrong with being in Group A, so why would Term X be insulting?".

...

Every person in the world is described using a plethora of terms all the time, none of which they themselves chose. I never chose the term "brown-haired"; so do I get to forbid you from using it because I've taken some notion to be offended by it? And then do I get to go on to demand that you start using the term "fhqwhgads" instead or you're an insensitive swine?

I think this pretty much sums up the entire argument pretty accurately.

I've heard the term voice-off before, but only my ASL instructor used it. Even then, she was referring to the fact that she would not be speaking for the remainder of the class.

User avatar
brythain
Posts: 3519
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia
Contact:

Re: Anyone else hate Misha?

Post by brythain » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:39 am

I'm quite sure all that stuff about deaf/mute belongs in another thread. Unless it's all a matter of hating Misha because she's not mute, or not deaf. Or something.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

ProfAllister
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Adaptive technology

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:25 am

Since it's not related to Misha hate, and people had been complaining, I figured that this would be the most appropriate thread to carry on the "voice off" vs "mute" conversation, as such matters tend to come up most often in relation to cochlear implants and similar augmentation devices. (ref: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10005)

In simplest terms, "mute" was chosen by hearies to describe deafies who don't speak; "voice off" was chosen by deafies who don't speak to describe themselves.

I was going to cite the whole "Eskimo vs Inuit" thing, but some cursory research indicates that that whole matter is much more complex and fascinating than I had assumed.

As for the "unfamiliar usage" or "uncommon term," I see that largely as a matter of not engaging in the Deaf culture, where it's most likely to be "heard." To use an extreme and not necessarily applicable example (but one that has a healthy dose of snark), the term "mohel" is a bit on the obscure and unusual end unless you tend to regularly tread the Jewish or circumcision cirlces, but that doesn't mean you're justified on using the "more common" term of " Jew dickchopper."

Should people be offended by the term "mute?" Probably not (I encourage thick skin in most matters).

Do people get offended by the term mute? Demonstrably.

Should we care? There's not really any obligation, but it's the polite thing to do.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

Post Reply