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49 13 In Aachen, Mama presents Maria with a black dress because of the death of her mother. Juliane does not stay much longer with the Bundens on Stromgasse .At Easter 1908, she graduates from school. Maria and ­ Adelheid get a new little foster sister. Mama says,“Anna Dilesio comes from far away, from Italy.” Maria likes looking at her because she seems so strangely beautiful. With her dark eyes, her brown skin and black hair, she looks like a gypsy girl. Gypsies can often be seen in the town.The little one has brought dolls with her that can be wound up.They move their legs slowly and stiffly and walk across the table or around in a circle. Maria and Adelheid take their new sister to school. Maria has to learn so much! Words, that she learns to write, she cannot simply pronounce as they are written, that in itself would be difficult enough. No, there is something more important to learn if she wants hearing people to understand her speech.The teacher writes on the blackboard: father, ruler, field. Next to these he writes apple, sister, and run. Below the word father he writes a double aa, below ruler a double uu, and below field a double ii. The other words remain as they are. Now Maria has to learn and commit to memory that there are words whose vowels are drawn out, twice as long as a simple vowel. In the word field she can recognize it by the additional e, even though she must not pronounce the e. From now on, Maria writes words with drawn out vowels, like far, with a double vowel written below them. And there is still something more. If a word has several syllables, one syllable is always emphasized more strongly. How is Maria to know that? But, she has to know in order to be understood. So, with each word with more than one syllable she places an accent stroke on the emphasized one. She writes Chrístmas, páraffin, expénsive. She cannot feel the stressed syllable herself, she has to take the teacher’s word for it Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 49 4/26/2017 12:17:35 PM 50 Maria Wallisfurth and learn everything by heart. She fills page after page with words with emphasized syllables and notes for long vowels. Of course, there are some words she just cannot manage. She always says“réfusé” when she means“refúse.” So, sometimes rather odd sentences come about when she speaks.What hearing people never think about deaf children have to learn with a huge effort. Children who can hear learn words by simply repeating them with the proper sound and emphasis. Slowly, they grow into the language. Every word is spoken correctly if it sounds as it was heard. In these times of strenuous learning, Maria is surprised when the teacher is sometimes not satisfied with her, although she has made every effort. According to him, she speaks too loudly and too high-pitched, she tries too hard. She yells, instead of speaking normally because she cannot tell the difference between too much and just enough. After the teacher’s admonitions, she says sadly,“I don’t feel. I am too loud. I don’t know what I should do. I am sorry.” “We have patience, the two of us,” the teacher says kindly. With time, it gets better.Anyone who speaks slowly and clearly and uses words that Maria has learned can converse with her. But she must always be able to see the speaker’s mouth. In darkness, all conversation stops. That’s why deaf children always turn their faces to the last sources of light when it begins to get dark.They want to be able to understand each other. They have learned from their teacher that they should use their hands as little as possible when talking. The more words they learn, and the better they can use them, the less they need gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. Among themselves, of course, they will never be able to do without these means of expression. Soon Maria no longer needs to lipread each letter and sound individually , she can recognize entire words. Even when reading, she no longer proceeds from letter to letter but can add word to word to arrive at sentences and at meaning. She learns to name things she cannot see but only feel or imagine, like...


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Subject Headings

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  • Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.
  • Prisoners of war -- Cuba -- Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.
  • Afghan War, 2001- -- Prisoners and prisons, American.
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.
  • Khan, Mahvish Rukhsana -- Diaries.
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