Love Is a Universal Language…Weddings Sometimes Require Translation

I don’t know how many of you are fellow fans of Lolcats, but I find them remarkably funny. What surprised me was the discovery that someone has actually translated wedding vows into Lolspeak.

Of course Lolspeak isn’t the only possible language to hold your wedding in. How about Klingon for my fellow Trekkies?

Of course, these are languages that exist only in imagination. They’re fun to play with and amusing to know, but not really vital in day-to-day life.

But what if a participant – or honored guest – has a significant hearing impairment? That’s a far more serious issue.

This really isn’t a new question. In fact, there are references to and descriptions of weddings involving some form of sign language dating back at least as far as the sixteenth century. For instance, this wedding held in 1576:

…and because the sayde Thomas was and is naturally deafe, and also dumbe, so that the order of the form of marriage used usually amongst others, which can heare and speake, could not for his parte be observed. After the approbation had from Thomas, the Bishoppe of Lincolne, John Chippendale, doctor in law, and commissarye, as also of Mr. Richd. Davye, then Mayor of the town of Leicester, with others of his brethren, with the rest of the parishe, the said Thomas, for the expressing of his mind instead of words, of his own accord used these signs :
First, he embraced her with his arms, and took her by the hand, putt a ring upon her finger, and layde his hande upon his hearte, and then upon her hearte, and held up his handes toward heaven. And to show his continuance to dwell with her to his lyves ende, he did it by closing of his eyes with his handes, and digginge out of the earth with his foote, and pullinge as though he would ring a bell, with diverse other signes.

Today, of course, sign language is formalized, though, as with verbal languages, there are regional differences. That means this gentleman was able to say his vows in a recognized language.

If you expect to have members of the Deaf community at your wedding, though, one thing is sure: they’ll appreciate being thoughtfully included in the proceedings. Consider having your vows printed on your program, or even hiring an interpreter to sign the ceremony as you speak it.

Part of being a good host is recognizing and doing your best to comfortably accommodate the needs of your guests. That includes their ability to understand the event as it happens.

2 Responses to “Love Is a Universal Language…Weddings Sometimes Require Translation”

  1. Never teh Bride May 31, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    That account gave me a shiver — how sweet! *sniff*

  2. La BellaDonna June 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    I’m actually amazed, in a happy way, that even though “the sayde Thomas was and is naturally deafe, and also dumbe,” he was not assumed to be mentally incapable, nor needing a guardian to make his choice for him. He made his own choice absolutely clear!

    1576 seems to have been a better year than I would have expected for folks like Thomas.