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Contact: Dr. Karen DilkaEastern Kentucky University • Date submitted to deafed.net – February 27, 2006 • To contact the author for permission to use this PowerPoint, please e-mail: Karen.Dilka@EKU.EDU • To use this PowerPoint presentation in its entirety, please give credit to the author.
L’Abbe Charles Michel de l’Epee “The Father of the Deaf”
Early Life Events • Born November 24th, 1712, father was a royal architect • Became a lawyer at age 21 • In 1738, at age 26, takes his vows as a priest, is now known as L’Abbe de l’Epee
Beginning Deaf Work In 1760, began to teach two teenage deaf girls for fear of their spiritual void from a faith transmitted by the sense of hearing. He used Bonnet’s “The Pronunciation of the letters and the art of teaching deaf and mute to speak” as a guide. That same year, he started a shelter for the deaf in Paris.
Contributions to the Education of the Deaf • Founded the first free public educational institution, the National Institute for Deaf Mutes, in Paris in 1771; the first school for the Deaf in the world. • Helped to bring recognition to the use of sign language. • Showed that sign language was a natural language and the Deaf were equal to all others.
Contributions continued • Gave the Deaf the opportunity to learn a trade in addition to the French language. • He began writing a dictionary before his death, which published in its entirety in 1896. • Unlike other educators of the Deaf at the time, de l’Epee shared his methods of teaching. He published several papers and books.
The National Institutefor Deaf Mutes • Students were taught a trade in addition to the French language. • This was Laurent Clerc’s first school. • L’Abbe Roch-Ambroise Sicard took over after de l’Epee’s death.
de l’Epee’s Legacy “Before him, we were nothing; we were pariahs, plunged into chaos and ignorance, marginals, and ignored; now we exist; we have been restored to society.” Common Deaf banquet toast of the nineteenth century
Caution L’Abbe de l’Epee did not invent French Sign Language. He did however take the existing signs from the Parisian Deaf. He added the grammar of the French language and a structure for the teaching of the language.
Resources Fisher, Renate. “Abbe de l’Epee and the Living Dictionary” in Deaf History Unveiled: Interpretations from the New Scholarship. John Vickrey Van Cleve, ed. Gallaudet University Press, Washington, D.C. 1993, pp. 13 - 26. Laurent Clerc (VT), DeBee Communications, 1995. Members.aol.com/lbox7272/deaf_history.htm Mottez, Bernard. “The Deaf-Mute Banquets and the Birth of the Deaf Movement” in Deaf History Unveiled: Interpretations from the New Scholarship. John Vickrey Van Cleve, ed. Gallaudet University Press, Washington, D.C. 1993, pp. 27 - 39. Van Cleve, John V., ed. Gallaudet Encyclopedia of Deaf People and Deafness. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: St. Louis, 1987. When the Mind Hears: Chapter 1: My New Family (VT), Sign Media, Inc. 1993. When the Mind Hears: Exclusive Interview with Harlan Lane (VT), Sign Media, Inc. 1995. www.gallaudet.edu/~mssdlrc/clerc/ www.nyx.net/~sbechtel/isrid/terp/deaf_history.html#1790’s www.ksl.g.se/e05lepee.html