These are the kind of signs you expect to see on MV. But another kind of “sign” is also associated with the Vineyard… signing for the deaf.
There was an unusally high number of deaf people on Martha’s Vineyard starting as far back as the 17th century. Some early settlers carried the gene for deafness and over the years generation after generation of children were born deaf.
Hearing Had to Learn SignIf you could create a deaf utopia, what would it be like?Everyone would communicate in sign language, both deaf and hearing. Many, if not most, children would be born deaf.Deaf Utopia Did ExistThere actually was such a place once. It was an isolated island off the Massachusetts coast – Martha’s Vineyard…
Martha’s Vineyard created MVSL (Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language) which later merged with the American Sign Language.
Sign language was used freely on the Vineyard by hearing and deaf residents alike. Deafness on MV peaked in 1854 and around 1952 the last person born deaf died.
The book “Everyone Here Spoke Sing Language” by Nora Ellen Groce is an interesting and informative telling of the deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard.