Like Plain English

I have never been a Shakespeare fanatic. Mostly because I never understood the language of his plays. In high school, I read and watched a few plays (movies) in English class and did the homework discussion questions but always seemed to grasp the scenes differently than others in the class.

“So what is going on in this scene here?” Or, “What does this character mean when he says this?” I would sit and hope that I would not be chosen. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was not understanding.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have this problem all the time–only when discussing Shakespeare or poetry (like his Sonnets.) I love books, English class, creative writing and diagramming sentences. However, if I made a list of my favorite classic authors of all time, Shakespeare would not be in the top five. But I have discovered something that is helping me appreciate the works of Shakespeare. It is called, “plain English language.”

Barnes and Nobles could just very well be what I consider a great hangout place. It is almost like a huge library where you have freedom to chat and walk around with your coffee. I often go in to the local store just to look around at the bargain books, read a few children books and see what is newly released. In this meandering a few months ago, I headed towards the playwright section. Mom and I had watched James Stewart’s old film, Harvey, and I knew it was based on the play of the same name by Mary Chase. I wanted to see if there was a copy of the original play. There wasn’t, but I found the play Our Town, by Thorton Wilder, and skimmed through the text remembering seeing the play in the Creede Repertory Theatre and crying during the final scene. Excellent play.

What fascinated me the most in this section was the amount of Shakespeare plays available. I think all (even his Sonnets) were on the shelf. I didn’t bother to skim through them, but picked up this instead:


It is genius! This morning I sat at Beans-n-Cream sipping my Pumpkin & Spice coffee and found that I was not only enjoying the play, but understanding the play. Shakespeare is on the left page–plain English translation is on the right page. Maybe this is considered a “cheat sheet,” but in my opinion…if it allows me to understand the text of someone who is considered to be one of the greatest writers in the English language, then it is worth the modern translation.

My everyday conversations can parallel much to that of a Shakespeare play. As much as I do my best to lip read, words and phrases constantly get mixed up; I miss context or transition clues to next conversation; and I sometimes just say, “I have idea what you’re talking about.” Lately, if it really important– after attempting fingerspelling, but obvious that I still am missing one or two words–my parents will write it down. Like plain English and I understand.

When it comes to translation in communication, I think I use a lot of different methods: sign language interpreters, text messages, closed captions on television or movies, and a Captel service when talking on the telephone. After my hearing dropped and I returned the Phonak Cros, I decided a better investment would be a Cap Tel landline phone. Up until this point, I have been using an internet caption service through Sprint. It was free and accessibly convenient in college. But it is getting more inconvenient: To make a phone call, I would have to start my computer, get on the site, log in, put my number in and then the person’s number who is receiving the call, press enter, wait for Sprint Cap Tel to call me, press send and finally be set up for the conversation.

It is not like a TTY or landline phone where captions are fast, accurate and promising not to cut out of a conversation. (Believe me, many times during chats with credit card companies gets frustrating as you never get the same representative.) I will say that I found humor though…because the captions are based on voice recognition, there were many laughable “read between the line” moments. I can relate–happens to me in real life daily.

But these woes are no longer my concern. I am now the owner of a Cap Tel captioned phone!!!

It works fantastic and I finally understand the whole phone conversation! It provides accuracy and convenience (especially safety for emergency phone calls). On the bottom of the screen there are little boxes…the left is mine and the right is the person I am calling. When talking, the box flashes, so I know when to listen and when they are done speaking. My box flashes too, and st often in red, which means I am talking too loud. Ironic, since most of the time people say I talk too quiet. This phone allows me to receive calls, make my own appointments, and best of all-talk to my grandparents (as well as other family and friends.) Out of all the new accommodations made recently and still to come–this is placed in the top five favorites, perhaps even as number one.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

7 responses to “Like Plain English

  1. Sheri

    Sounds like this will be a tremendous help to you!! 🙂

  2. Tracy

    Let’s try it out 🙂 Excited for you!! Thankful God is concerned with every detail of our lives 🙂

  3. I could be really excited if I felt it would work for my sister. She is 98% deaf and is hard to understand when she talks. I wish she would like a computer, even if she just used it to correspond to family. Maybe I need to pray about that:) I am excited that you have this new device! What a joy it must be for you. I also like Barnes and Nobles:)….but then I love books:):) Have a sweet day Melinda.

  4. Megan

    This new mode of communication is truly a blessing for sure!! Now if only my cell service would work on my end… no more of this cutting out business. LOL 🙂

  5. Megan

    Speaking of communication – we need to Skype soon! Yay! XOXO, Megs

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