What Texting, Sign Language, and Captioning Have in Common


American Sign Language: Just one of 200 recognized sign languages across the globe!

I was reading recently that texting is the greatest communication tool to have entered the lives of Deaf people in a long time. It makes sense: a widespread mainstream text-based system that can bridge the communication gap between the Deaf and the non-Deaf, as well as between those who speak different sign languages. There are different ways to write sign languages, one example being the new ASLphabet, but in general, sign speakers also need to learn a local lingua franca in order to communicate with the larger community. Before texting became mainstream, this communication was often done in the common language through the medium of pen and paper. Perhaps in the near future, phones will be equipped with written sign languages making communication among the Deaf that much more specific.

There are over 200 recognized sign languages. Each of these needs to be understood as a language unto itself and each is spatial and physical in different ways from, for instance, English. While they don’t necessarily make reference to other languages, they may borrow words from other languages. Interestingly, American Sign Language, or ASL, has more in common with French Sign Language, or FSL, than it does with British Sign Language. And where in spoken English, we have phonemes, or units of sound, in sign language, the phonemes are spatial and gestural.

Like texting, captioning is a similar type of tool. While still mainly reliant on the common language – in our case, English – as opposed to specific sign languages, it does aid in communicating what’s happening on screen to the Deaf. Similar to sign language, though, we try to use location techniques to convey meaning – the spacing and positioning of words on the screen to indicate a specific speaker.

All of this to say that as technology evolves and communication among all kinds of people becomes easier, we’re proud and excited to be part of an industry that, in our little way, facilitates this.

Further reading on sign language

Here’s the Wikipedia entry on American Sign Language.
Here’s a basic but good summary of the debate around sign language being an “actual” language.
And here’s a very cool story about one young woman who has brought music to the Deaf through her signed music videos channel.

This month’s transcription fail

A FAIR ISLE sweater (seen here) becomes a VIRILE sweater—which we don’t feel the need to show you a photo of. Whoops!

July’s recipe: Eggs in a Pile O’ Onions

Delicious, wholesome, warm, yum.

We’re in the business of easy recipes around here, and this one is no different. Delicious, wholesome, and warm, you’ll find most of these ingredients in your pantry and fridge already.

Loosely based on this recipe.


2 onions, sliced thinly
1-2 T coconut oil
2 eggs
a bed of salad greens
salt and pepper


In a frying pan, melt the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions caramelize, which can take a surprisingly long time — be sure to keep the heat low so as not to scorch the onions and add water from time to time to keep some liquid in the pan. Stir frequently to ensure even browning. When the onions are fairly brown, turn the heat down slightly, and gently crack two eggs onto the onions. Cover with a lid until the eggs are cooked to your desired doneness: runny, slightly runny, or fully set.

Gently lift each egg out of the pan, divide the onions onto two plates arranged with the salad greens, and place the eggs on top of the onions. An avocado sliced on top makes a nice addition, as does bacon and/or mushrooms (cook these with the onions, or add in later if pre-cooked). Enjoy!