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

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:58 am

metalangel wrote:
Charmant wrote:
That's assuming the intent even is to cause trouble.
If you're asked to stop doing something and you keep doing it anyway, what other intention could you have?
Exactly zero persons in this thread are using the word "mute" with the intention to cause trouble/insult.

They use it because it is the correct term.

I'm sure you will also find people who would take exception to the term "voice-off" - maybe because it might suggest something machine-like that could be changed at the push of a button. If such a person - or a group of such people - came along what would you do?
Would you simply agree not to use "voice-off" henceforth so as not to insult them?
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by metalangel » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:58 am

Mirage_GSM wrote: Exactly zero persons in this thread are using the word "mute" with the intention to cause trouble/insult.
I know.
They use it because it is the correct term.
It isn't, and that's why we're discussing this.
I'm sure you will also find people who would take exception to the term "voice-off" - maybe because it might suggest something machine-like that could be changed at the push of a button. If such a person - or a group of such people - came along what would you do?
Would you simply agree not to use "voice-off" henceforth so as not to insult them?
For the sake of your hypothetical group of people, I would tell them why I'd been using it up until that point, and stop using it around them. I'm sure you can see that I can't stop using it altogether because there's another group of people who prefer its use, and those people actually exist.

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

Post by CoffeeDrive » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:16 am

My Deaf cousin refers to herself as "Mute" and that's how I refer to her.

In fact i've not met anyone Deaf who prefers to be known as "Voice-off"
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by BMFJack » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:23 am

CoffeeDrive wrote:In fact i've not met anyone Deaf who prefers to be known as "Voice-off"
This is almost the entireity of my argument. That coupled with the fact that I can only find obscure references to 'mute' being offensive.

I don't doubt that there are deaf people who take offense to the term mute, but take any large group of people and you'll find a bunch of weird stuff they're offended by. What I'm saying is that the deaf community, by and large, are not offended by the term mute and that is my personal experience, and apparently it is the personal experience of others as well.

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

Post by metalangel » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:12 pm

Turns out this whole thing was covered years ago in the Talk page for Deaf-Mute on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ADeaf-mute

The argument proceeded almost identically to this one too. This makes me think we won't get anywhere here.

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

Post by brythain » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:37 pm

metalangel wrote:Turns out this whole thing was covered years ago in the Talk page for Deaf-Mute on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ADeaf-mute

The argument proceeded almost identically to this one too. This makes me think we won't get anywhere here.
Hmmm. I've read through what feels like about fifty pages on the matter now, thanks to all those who've contributed. My opinion (not binding on anyone, nor intending to insult) seems to be crystallising.

Clearly hyphenation binds the two terms to indicate concurrent possession of two statuses. There are deaf people, mute people and people who are both. There are people who are deaf and can talk if they wish, or if circumstances allow; these would be deaf but not mute (except in the sense that I too would be 'mute' if I chose not to talk, which is a common English usage). There are people who are mute because they have no spoken language, or because their physical status does not allow it; clearly not all of them are deaf.

There are a number of people who find the use of the word 'mute' so synonymous with 'dumb' that 'mute' is as pejorative as 'dumb' would be. It's best not to use the m-word in their presence. The term deaf-mute, consisting of two technically accurate and attested terms, is possibly non-pejorative. It's not quite the same as the n-word, which when used between friends is okay but when used by non-n-people is considered vile.

Conclusions: I've learnt about yet another area of sensitivity, and it's a bit like clearing all nut traces from my house just before my nut-allergic relatives visit. Also, because of the sociocultural fabric woven around different terms, it's never possible to draw a clean analogy between use of one term and use of another.
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by Charmant » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:16 pm

metalangel wrote:
Charmant wrote:
That's assuming the intent even is to cause trouble.
If you're asked to stop doing something and you keep doing it anyway, what other intention could you have?
Exercising your basic right and capability to utilize the English language as you choose?
In fact, I'd argue it's more troublesome for someone to just be arbitrarily offended over nothing.

Let's say Person A takes offense to Person B's words. He explains the issue. Person B continues to use the offending words in a specifically derogatory manner. Person A is justified in continued offense as the intent behind the usage is to cause trouble.

Now, second scenario. Let's say Person A takes offense to Person B's words. He explains the issue. Person B explains that he is not using the word derogatorily and then continues to use the word having explained himself. Person A continues to take offense despite being shown there is none to be taken. In that case, Person A is not justified and creating an issue where none need exist.

If someone calls a guy mute as if it's an insult or something to be mocked, by all means, be offended. If someone calls a guy mute as a mere denotation of his soundless condition, offense is just ridiculous. It'd be like a black person being super offended at being called black. Sure, it may not be technically as PC as "African American" but it's by no means offensive to any rational human being.

People would be a lot better off in general if they focused less on words and more on the meaning behind them. "Mute" just means soundless. Some guy prefers "Voice Off"? Great. He can call himself that. Me? I prefer "mute" so I'll call him that. Nobody needs to be offended on either end when the meaning is exactly the same.

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

Post by brythain » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:16 pm

Charmant wrote:People would be a lot better off in general if they focused less on words and more on the meaning behind them. "Mute" just means soundless. Some guy prefers "Voice Off"? Great. He can call himself that. Me? I prefer "mute" so I'll call him that. Nobody needs to be offended on either end when the meaning is exactly the same.
Whereas this is generally true, the point then would be that you know this offends him (for whatever reason or lack of it) and you are deliberately offending him because you believe he shouldn't be offended. But the fact remains that he is, so now this is just provocation. The right to free speech is not one that should be limited by coercion, but it can be tempered by courtesy. This is true of many things that you can say which would be descriptively accurate but hurtful—you can always claim that accuracy trumps personal feelings, but would you deliberately extend that claim to every human being you encounter simply because you personally feel that their personal feelings shouldn't matter?
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by BMFJack » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:27 am

metalangel wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:They use it because it is the correct term.
It isn't, and that's why we're discussing this.
Now here I can definitively say you're wrong. Googling "define mute" gives me this: "refraining from speech or temporarily speechless"

Dictionary.com uses the definition "silent; refraining from speech or utterance." Even Merriam Webster defines it as "not able or willing to speak"

The Free Dictionary solely defines it as a choice: "Refraining from producing speech or vocal sound."

So to say that it isn't the correct term is obviously wrong. We're discussing this because you - and only you - have asserted that it's offensive, despite much evidence to the contrary. Sure, there is a way to use it to make it offensive... but primarily, it is not an offensive term.

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

Post by ProfAllister » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:48 am

BMFJack wrote:
metalangel wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:They use it because it is the correct term.
It isn't, and that's why we're discussing this.
Now here I can definitively say you're wrong. Googling "define mute" gives me this: "refraining from speech or temporarily speechless"

Dictionary.com uses the definition "silent; refraining from speech or utterance." Even Merriam Webster defines it as "not able or willing to speak"

The Free Dictionary solely defines it as a choice: "Refraining from producing speech or vocal sound."

So to say that it isn't the correct term is obviously wrong. We're discussing this because you - and only you - have asserted that it's offensive, despite much evidence to the contrary. Sure, there is a way to use it to make it offensive... but primarily, it is not an offensive term.
I've tried to use my busy life as an excuse to let this drop, but there's no way I can let this go by.

Point the First: Dig a little deeper on those definitions you're referencing. You may notice that nearly all of them have a definition applicable to this conversation in the vicinity of the word "offensive."

Point the Second: People claim that there are only obscure references online that claim that "mute" isn't acceptable. I'm somewhat baffled by this and it makes me wonder where you're looking.

Point the Third: I'm getting the impression that part of the disagreement is a miscommunication on usage. "Voice-off" isn't so much a descriptor of what one is as it is what he does. I don't think you're likely to hear someone refer to themselves as a "Voice-off" (at least, not as a formal designation), but rather, that person would express that they choose/prefer to go/be voice-off. What does that mean, then? Simple: a deaf person is referred to as "deaf." If he's elected to not speak, you would communicate that "he prefers to be voice-off," or even "he's strictly voice-off."

Hopefully that gives a little more clarity on the whole matter.
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by BMFJack » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:09 am

I say obscure because I've only seen it in definitions, usually in the tertiary or further removed definition. Additionally, all three of the links you posted up answer the question "Is it acceptable to use the term deaf-mute, deaf and dumb, or hearing impaired?"

Only the third link singles out the use of mute, instead of deaf-mute. And it's inaccurate: " “mute” also means silent and without voice. This label is technically inaccurate "

Mute can mean silent or without voice, but is not exclusively defined as such. I've already provided multiple definitions and their sources for the term mute.

Beyond all of that, what do you have to say about the personal experiences that myself and CoffeeDrive have had? He has a family memeber who is deaf; I've met hundreds of deaf people during the two years I was learning ASL.

Edit; I did a bunch of looking around, and every instance of mute being deemed offensive that I could find was only when referring to deaf people in general as mute. Basically, to ignorantly call all deaf people mute. Which isn't the case here at all.
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by brythain » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:10 am

ProfAllister wrote:Point the Second: People claim that there are only obscure references online that claim that "mute" isn't acceptable. I'm somewhat baffled by this and it makes me wonder where you're looking.
The WFD says that 'hearing impaired' is also unacceptable when used in reference to a deaf person who can't talk.
The NAD says that 'Deaf' refers only to people who share ASL as a common language.
Gallaudet, as a preeminent institution in translation and interpretation, defers to the NAD on this topic.

I'm more inclined to adopt these guidelines from HMG instead, because they seem to make more sense. Especially the points under section 3.

There's also a very useful bunch of pointers here.

Edit: I like this one in particular; it's worthy of a direct quote:-
Principle Five: Don't Overdo It

Be careful with the term special. In some respects, we are all special. From another perspective, people with disabilities are not necessarily special even if they are enrolled in "special education."

"Language challenged" or "hearing challenged" may imply that people need to try harder than they are trying at present.

Blatant euphemisms (differently hearing, physically different, differently abled, speech inconvenienced, vertically challenged, horizontally challenged, chronologically gifted) don't hide disability, but they can produce confusion. It is not more sensitive to refer to individuals who are physically within normal limits as temporarily ablebodied (TABs) or momentarily ablebodied (MABs).
And finally, the NCDJ Style Guide says Hello. :)
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Re: Adaptive technology

Post by Atario » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:59 pm

metalangel wrote:
Atario wrote: If that were what I said, you might have a point.
You can explain what you meant, if you like.
It's not even down to shades of meaning, it's straight-up misrepresentation on your part. I said people primarily know the word as a label on a playback device, so it's primarily a choice-thing in people's minds, and therefore the rarer no-choice meaning should be the one to differentiate itself, if such a thing should even be done in the first place. Then you pretended I said my remote has a mute button, therefore there can be no other meaning. All the while yourself insisting that there can be no other meaning than the no-choice meaning.
You did. However, you seem to be firmly in the "don't" camp.
In this case, the word has not been reclaimed.
Your efforts seem aimed not only at sabotaging any such reclamation, but at furthering perceptions of offense. It's very unclear what improvement you hope to be made to the lexicon by doing this.
It goes both way. You're not accepting the point of view that it's offensive at all. There's got to be some give and take here, and you are continuing to argue against this despite being repeatedly told of the negative associations for a lot of people.
I'm wrong and have to shut up and submit to the New Received Meaning, end of story? How is that give and take?

Are there people out there who will be offended? Sure, I bet there are, somewhere. I have yet to meet any, but if I ever do find any, I'll let them tell me directly if they themselves are personally offended. I won't like being told how I can and can't talk, but I'll probably go along with it, at least when they're around. Of course, this feeling of walking on eggshells could very well cause me to minimize my contact with them.

I have a feeling it will go like that with most people, including everyone in this thread, even the lurkers. So the upshot of this insistence on a slur meaning will mainly be (1) driving people away from themselves and (2) cementing the slur meaning in place and empowering it as one.
Being a petulant child is not the issue. The issue is attempting to police other people based on one's own unwitting enshrinement of slurs.
Should I just let you persist in your ignorance next time?
If by "ignorance", you mean "unfamiliarity with this supposed verboten status", that's one thing. But I have a distinct feeling you actually mean "obvious caveman-like inferiority to enlightened people like myself".
So when he advocates for his viewpoint, it's just to cause trouble, but when you do, it's not?
That's not the context of these comments. I was saying that if you said something offensive, you'd be told and why. That is where the 'persisting in using it afterwards just to cause trouble' thing comes from.
But that's exactly what's happened here. You told him it's offensive; he questioned it; and then you berated him for arguing back at you.
Is being deliberately offensive when you know better a 'viewpoint'?
Is automatically acceding to every demand a viewpoint?
If you're asked to stop doing something and you keep doing it anyway, what other intention could you have?
I'm going to have to ask you to stop using the word "intention". If you persist, you're only trying to cause trouble.
brythain wrote:The NAD says that 'Deaf' refers only to people who share ASL as a common language.
Really? That seems awfully exclusionary. They're saying JSL or BSL communities are therefore not Deaf?
It is not more sensitive to refer to individuals who are physically within normal limits as temporarily ablebodied (TABs) or momentarily ablebodied (MABs).
That sounds like a threat! :lol:
NB: none of the above is a request

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:43 pm

ProfAllister wrote:Point the Second: People claim that there are only obscure references online that claim that "mute" isn't acceptable. I'm somewhat baffled by this and it makes me wonder where you're looking.
neither of those three links claims the term "mute" is offensive. All three refer to the term "deaf-mute". Neither source even mentions "voice-off"
metalangel wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:They use it because it is the correct term.
It isn't, and that's why we're discussing this.
If you think you know better than merriam webster oxforddictionaries and google, then I don't think anything I say will be able to convince you differently.^^°
I'm sure you will also find people who would take exception to the term "voice-off" - maybe because it might suggest something machine-like that could be changed at the push of a button. If such a person - or a group of such people - came along what would you do?
Would you simply agree not to use "voice-off" henceforth so as not to insult them?
For the sake of your hypothetical group of people, I would tell them why I'd been using it up until that point, and stop using it around them. I'm sure you can see that I can't stop using it altogether because there's another group of people who prefer its use, and those people actually exist.
I that case let's agree that if I ever meet you - or one of your group - in person I will refrain from using this word out of consideration for you.
As there is another group who prefers to use the term "mute" (i.e. the rest of the english speaking world - and they absolutely exist) I will continue to use that term while on the internet.
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Re: Terminology debate - "mute" versus "voice-off"

Post by Charmant » Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:53 pm

brythain wrote:
Charmant wrote:People would be a lot better off in general if they focused less on words and more on the meaning behind them. "Mute" just means soundless. Some guy prefers "Voice Off"? Great. He can call himself that. Me? I prefer "mute" so I'll call him that. Nobody needs to be offended on either end when the meaning is exactly the same.
Whereas this is generally true, the point then would be that you know this offends him (for whatever reason or lack of it) and you are deliberately offending him because you believe he shouldn't be offended. But the fact remains that he is, so now this is just provocation. The right to free speech is not one that should be limited by coercion, but it can be tempered by courtesy. This is true of many things that you can say which would be descriptively accurate but hurtful—you can always claim that accuracy trumps personal feelings, but would you deliberately extend that claim to every human being you encounter simply because you personally feel that their personal feelings shouldn't matter?
If I am using the term "mute" in a non-derogatory manner solely for the purpose of accurately denoting their soundlessness, and they actively choose to ignore this reality for the sake of persisting in being offended in a scenario where it has been shown that no offensive intent is involved, I most certainly would say their feelings shouldn't matter. You don't get to be offended when there is nothing present at which to be offended.

It'd be about as valid as me deciding I'm offended by the name "brythain" despite there being nothing actually offensive about it at all. Now, are you gonna go change your username so as to honor my arbitrary nonsense? No, because that'd be a really stupid thing to have to accommodate.

Actually, a more forum-appropriate example comes to mind: "Katawa Shoujo" offended some on account of "katawa" being a literal translation of "cripple". Did 4LS alter the title, or offer an alternative-titled version for potentially-offended people to download? No. They explained that there is no offensive intent, considered the matter settled, and went on their way with the title still in place. And it wasn't even remotely about "provocation".

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