Home Deaf Stuff Learning another language

Learning another language

by Sherrie

For the majority of my life, I wanted to learn another language, especially at school.

However, teachers would not allow me. They said they simply did not have the resources nor did they know how to teach a deaf student another language.

As you can imagine, I was largely disappointed by this.

After many years of searching high and low for a Deaf friendly website/program where I could learn another language, I came across Duolingo. I’ve been using it for a while now and I am extremely impressed, especially with the capability to turn off the speaking and listening activities so you can solely focus on words, grammar and whatnot.

I’m now on Level 6 in German, although it is a difficult language to learn. To become better, one needs to practice it daily.

Duolingo currently offers German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian for English speakers, and I highly recommend it. It’s also available as an app for iOS and Android devices.

If you have always wanted to learn another language, then what are you waiting for? Duolingo is waiting for you!

Happy language learning!


PS – I still think that schools should include their deaf and hard of hearing students in LOTE (Language other than English) classes. We’re already bilingual, so why cannot we be multilingual? 😉

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Maresha Ebert December 9, 2013 - 11:34 pm

Great post Sherrie! 🙂
i can relate…i really wanted to a beginners language for my HSC (as one of my 2 unit subjects) for a challenger but i never did! Yep, go figure everyone was thinking that crazy deaf girl wanting to learn a 2nd spoken language! Oh well! It was disappointing! But glad there’s that site you mentioned! I might check it out and get it on my iPad! Thanks! 😀

Megan W December 10, 2013 - 2:56 am

I did learn Indonesian when I was at school because I was classified as “smart” along with my classmates, or even more smarter. It was okay, I wasn’t interested. If it was French or German I would definitely go for it. 🙂

Staci April 23, 2014 - 12:54 pm

I’m a deaf American. I guess American deafs can learn languages. I know some. I certainly started learning Spanish in 3rd grade and it was in a mainstreamed classroom. My interpreter couldn’t keep up and it started my love of languages. Same thing in 6th grade, but with the addition of French.

Then fast forward to college, I went to Rochester Institute of Technology. There, me and another deaf girl took Italian. We had an interpreter that knows Italian, Italian sign language, and we had extra tutoring from our Italian teacher. It was so helpful. Plus me and the other girl was a part of an Italian play during the event and it was fun. The college does offer languages and allows deafs to take any if desired. There’s even Spanish classes that is deaf only. I know Gallaudet also offer foreign language.

Now, I’m picking up Spanish again, especially since I’m in Mexico at the moment. I do want to learn Mexican sign language as well.

Don’t let being deaf stop you from learning languages, and these teachers sucks. You can certainly learn languages, even if it’s mainly writing/reading.

Sherrie April 23, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Thanks Staci – very appreciative for your advice. The education system in Australia isn’t so accommodating when it comes to Deaf students wanting to learn another language, which is a pity because we have the ability to learn another language being that we’re already bilingual from birth/early age.


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