An Awful Sign Language Book from ’74

Hey, I’m all about finding fun new ways to educate people, and sign language is certainly a worthy subject.  But this just crosses a line into seventies cringe that I can’t abide.

The book is Handtalk and features pictures of the author, Mary Beth Miller, and others playfully “acting out” the alphabet and words.  Let’s just say, Mary Beth sometimes gets carried away.

I don’t have the patience to scan all the letters… consider this a blessing as one can handle only so much Mary Beth.

Ah.  A break from Mary Beth.  Let’s take a minute to check out the introduction:

You don’t have to use your voice to talk.  You can talk with your eyes, your face, your hands, your body.  This is the first book of its kind for young people on two ways that deaf people talk: finger spelling and signing.  You already know many handtalk signs in this book, like big, crazy, hello.

Above: the sign for “Morning”; Below: the sign for “If you don’t shut up, I’m going to stab you.”

Q: “Where did I hide my weed?”


Look out – Mary Beth is back!!

A bizarre little story. “…under a very ugly volcano lived a very ugly vampire with his beautiful vulture.”  I think Mary Beth is high.

There’s a joke I could say here, but I’m just going to leave it be.

Z is for “zipper” and it looks as though Mary Beth is starting to strip for us.  I think it’s time we leave this book, and quickly.


    • Yes. She may have been a nice lady, but let’s just say she doesn’t have the face of someone who should be doing any fully color photo spreads.


  1. Hey. Not cool. If you’re not ASL Deaf you wouldn’t know the context Mary Beth does her work in. It’s very rude for you to pass judgement like this.


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