Twinkling Watermelon, how accurate is the sign language?

Does someone know how accurate it is? To me it looks as if they mostly just randomly do something as it looks different then the official sign language I’ve seen in class (had a hearing impaired classmate for a while) or on tv.


I have no idea, but I know for sure that the signs are different for every country/language.


Yes, and sign language is also not a literal translation of what has been said but more an interpetation of the keywords or how to explain it. They don’t sign word per word and facial expressions are also an important addition.

But in the drama it looks so random to me.


That depends. With NmG for example, it’s word by word, but with NGT, it isn’t.
I haven’t seen the drama yet but as said, there are so many variations so who knows? We need someone specialized in the Korean variations to verify.
We used to have someone on Viki who knew Dutch and Russian sign languages, but I don’t think she’s still around.


I know a little bit of sign language. I don’t know about this particular drama but the one instance where I saw an interchange of sign language in a Korean drama, I could understand it. It was expressed using the subject-object-verb format of Korean as opposed to the subject-verb-object format of English.


We’ll need someone fluent in Korean Sign Language for that to verify.

Other than that, I did notice repitations of signs, and they were pretty consistent. A “morning” sign was a fist rising up from an horizontal arm. A “pretty” sign was index finger on right cheek being twirled.

I did wonder though, how did the child actors learn in? The older brother did not make much signs in ep 1, I wonder if he was just not able to pull it off so they removed his signs.


I wondered about that too, but it is as @irmar said, in different country, different sign language…

But certain expressions are shown with same signs… I think they keep them accurate as possible, so also deaf people can understand it…

I think this is a good opportunity to show the awareness of the difficulties that deaf persons have… I have a profound hearing loss and am grateful for subtitles or CC, even in languages I can speak or understand… and hearing aids can never produce a natural hearing again…


Hmmm, interesting question. I haven’t seen it yet, but as a linguist, now I’m more curious to see it. As was already said, from what I know too, there’s a different sign language for every language. I haven’t done much analyzing when it comes to sign languages, but I do wonder if and where there are similarities and differences in the signs across different languages. I’m very curious to see what anyone versed in the Korean sign language will answer.


Oh, children are very clever little monkeys, they learn pretty quickly this kind of non-verbal thing!


There was this film, CODA, about deaf people, that got an Oscar last year, the remake of French film “La famille Bélier” (which I liked better). In “La famille Bélier” the actors playing the parents were not deaf, and they, as well as the daughter, had to learn sign language for 4 months, 4 hours a day. It seems, however, it wasn’t enough (but how much more preparation is an actor expected to do?). Although this wonderful film was a huge success, the deaf community (and more so outside France) criticized their sign language as inadequate, especially the mother’s, saying that they couldn’t understand her and had to use subtitles.

But others, not so radical, said the film is not a documentary, and they liked it nevertheless:

In politically correct America, where the deaf community has some chillingly extremist members (who refuse to talk, refuse hearing aids, saying they are proud to be deaf, despise everyone who makes an effort to get rid of their disability etc.) casting hearing actors would have caused an uproar (and Marlee Matlin made a huge fuss saying she would not do the role if they dared to do so), so the parents and the brother were actual deaf actors (the father got an Oscar). But the deaf community was still not satisfied; they said that the main lead girl (who is not deaf and must not be deaf), didn’t do well enough, she looked as “a beginner” at sign language, and also that the dialogue was a bit off, it wasn’t something deaf people would say.

I mean… you can’t please them! A serious effort was made at authenticity, there was sincerity and goodwill, but… Films are not made only for them, and the rest of us enjoyed them well enough. I find it really petty to nitpick so much.

Just like when the YouTubers TwoSetViolin (I do enjoy their videos) use scathing sarcasm for actors who pretend to play the violin for their role in dramas and films. Come on! Should an actor study for 10-15 years 3-4 hours per day the piano, the violin, ballet, all kind of sports, and be knowledgeable in all of those, just in case he has to play the role of a musician, dancer or sportsman? How can you be good as a real professional in all of those things? You’d had to be Superman. Get a real violinist/pianist/ballet dancer/sportsman? Who said they can act convincingly, though?
They also criticized Henry Lau because his violin-playing was mediocre compared to professional symphonic orchestra members. Well, he also sings, dances and plays the piano, takes part in reality shows etc. The hours in a day wouldn’t be enough if he were to excel in every one of those things.
These people seem to live in their own bubble and have no idea of the outside world, and that not everybody has to be 100% perfect to play a role in a film or drama!

Yoo Ah In playing the piano in Secret love affair (2014). Which professional pianist could have played that role like him?

How did you play the role of pianist?

YAI: It didn’t come out easily at first, but it was not that difficult. I like music too. Perhaps it would be difficult if you had to play the piano for real. But there’s no problem as long as you’re acting in accordance to the flow of music. There were many scenes of the piano to express the feelings through the music, and I had to express the emotions of the drama a lot, but I feel very satisfied because I was able to perform well.

Can you play the piano in the first place?

YAI : No I don’t play piano at all. I practiced a lot to move naturally with the flow of music. Far from the feeling of burden, it was very fun.

It seemed that you play the piano for real.

YAI: I think it is important [to look real]. But of course, the expression of emotion is also important. I think the scenes, in which we play the piano and express our feeling, went very well.


I’m sorry, but I don’t think people content with their life and abilities, as it is, are extremists.
We shouldn’t force people to conform to our standards.
There are ways to communicate without oral language. We’re just not trying.
It might be disability to us, since we hear and communite a certain way, but what are the deaf people really missing? They can use sign language, they can use light instead of sound to indicate something etc.
I think you just want to force the minority to be like the majority without thinking about their situation and feelings. If you were forced to abanddon the oral language and forced into sign language while having problems seeing, I don’t think you would be happy.
There are many artworks, which express some feeling deaf people have to experience.
(Betty Miller)
I’m not sure about America, but in a lot of countries, the system fails them. The language that is the most natural to them isn’t accepted. They are forced to learn in a language which they have troubles understanding or they just striaght up don’t know and noone really cares. People who teach deaf kids AREN’T required to know the sign language while some students can understand only that. There aren’t any laws that would enforce change.

Hearing aids aren’t perfect either. A lot of people can’t get used to them or those aids make them uncomfortable and they abbandon them.
You can watch Sound of Metal, it’s an interesting story about some parts of experience of loosing hearing and coming to terms with it.

I very strongly incourage you to read, watch and learn more about deaf people and their community. You words and your opinions might seem like it’s not a big deal, but we as a sociaty create laws, we create the counties, we have the strenght to enforce change that would make living easier for the minorities. If you’d like to, I could search for some more art/articles/movies, so you can understand that world a little bit better.

People have the right to complain regardless of the topic. Some reviews will be possitive, some will be not. That’s just life.
I believe the criticism is neccesary if the movie is about something that is really important to you.
If you saw an English movie with supposedly English characters and they spoke in a heavy Polish accent. you would probably leave a review, saying that the casting should be from people, whose native language is English. It’s the same sort of situation, just with deaf people you don’t get as many movies.


Yes some nitpick about everything. Of course someone who never did play a piano cannot play a flawless Beethoven for a drama.

I think it’s great that they added this to Twinkling Watermelon. If it’s accurate or not, I’m sure all actors do their very best and it’s the effort that counts. Maybe it makes hearing impaired people feel more included :slight_smile: Next to that I think the Kdrama is good so far but I only started watching it yesterday and only saw 2 eps so far.


Yes, sure, they do, and I have the right to find it petty or whatever. As they can criticize a movie, I can criticize the. Nobody is immune.

We watch Korean dramas with supposedly English-language characters all the time, and we do jokingly remark on their bad accent or acting, but we don’t get really made, because we know that it’s difficult in Korea to find real English or American actors, so they make do with what they have (I’ve heard they even hire tourists for those small parts)
And when we hear East Asian operatic singers like Cai Chengyu who is singing in “La Traviata” and say “Alfledo” instead of “Alfredo”, we smile but good-naturedly, we make allowances, because how difficult must it be for a Chinese person to say the R sound? We praise him for the effort though, if he got everything else right - which he has!
So in your opinion Othello must only be played by an Arab, the musical King and I always by a Thai male lead and British female lead, and Cleopatra only by a Greek-Egyptian actress while her lovers Anthony and Caesare only by Italians. “Aida” too, nobody should sing the role of Aida if they are not Ethiopian. How many Ethiopian sopranos are there to go around? Are you serious?

Oh I did, after this whole debacle. And I was astonished at how exclusionary they are.
If you’ve seen the film (the original one, I don’t remember about the US version), at some point the mother says of her daughter “I was sad when I found out she wasn’t deaf”. As if it hearing were a flaw.
This is from an article in French:

« A ta naissance, quand j’ai su que tu étais entendante… j’ai tellement pleuré ! J’ai jamais pu encadrer les entendants ! C’est ton père qui me consolait. Il me disait : T’inquiète pas. Elle sera sourde dans sa tête. On va l’élever comme une sourde… et maintenant, tu chantes ?! »
Quand la mère a découvert que sa fille serait entendante, c’était une peine de cœur pour elle. Elle voulait que sa fille partageât la culture unique des sourds.

Making life easier for minorities is one thing, and I think there is none of us who doesn’t agree with that. But the deaf extremists go much, much further than that.
Here are some excerpts from the basic Wikipedia article on Deaf culture

Deafness is not generally considered a condition that needs to be fixed.
The term “Deaf Gain” is used by Deaf people, to re-frame the perceived losses of Deafness and “hearing loss” to highlight the benefits of being deaf.
The use of a sign language is central to Deaf cultural identity. Oralist approaches to educating deaf children thereby pose a threat to the continued existence of Deaf culture. Some members of Deaf communities may also oppose technological innovations like cochlear implants for the same reason.
The medical model of disability can be aligned with technological advancements in cochlear implants. This is due to the fact that cochlear implants can be perceived to “cure” deafness or fix an individual’s hearing,[39] when in reality those who are Deaf may not feel a need to be cured or fixed.

(I won’t comment on this, I think that it comments itself, and people can form their own opinion. )

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I can criticize you and you can criticize me criticizing you, sure, why not

Funny accent can be okay, if it’s only something that appears once in a while and is not a full focus of the story.
If the character speaks English for the whole duration of the drama and they can’t pronounce English, I think they should be recasted.
There are examples of good casting like her:

Her character is native English and she speaks both good English and Korean.

The roles should be picked in a way to represent the original thought in the most accurate way. It’s the importance if casting. If someone isn’t able to sign well enough in a movie in which signing is one of the main topics, that’s an issue of bad casting.

I think you should learn before you make a stance. It’s easy to judge people, when not seeing their perspective.

Hm, I wonder why…

I think aside from agreeing, we should listen to their opinions. Why they feel a certain way and why they want certain things to be a certain way. You can’t help someone by forcing them into something that makes you feel better, you need to do something that makes THEM feel better.

I will give you some videos about the issue of the oralism.

The problem is deaf people were getting forced into learning lip reading and speaking while still being deaf (I don’t know, if you can see how difficult that is). As a result of it, many of them recieved unadequate education. They were treated as someone that needs to assimilate into the hearing society and do everything to be accepted, while they can fully converse in ASL and they don’t miss out on anything in their communities.
Are you surprised that they are angry and frustrated? I’m not. I can fully understand that.
This is an issue that has a long history and a lot of nuances.
The deaf children are mostly born into hearing families and those families often don’t know, what to do and how to help them. Their ideas about deafness are only from a hearing person view, so sometimes the child ends up hurt by their choices.
As it’s said in the last movie, I believe people have the rights to choose, if they want to live with hearing aids and mostly as a hearing person or if they want to stay the way they are and sign. (there’s also the fact that some people will never be able to hear or afford the implants/aids)


Forced? All kids are “forced” to learn stuff, go to school even if they don’t want to, take a bath when they don’t want to, leave their computer games to do homework, maybe also foreign languages, ballet, music and sports and so many other things that any parent can tell you are done with them not cooperating at all. But kids learn more quickly than adults, they are little sponges, they adjust. And after an initial struggle, their social life will be so much easier!

Deaf people cannot communicate completely with people who don’t know sign language. As a result, they become isolated from the rest of the city inhabitants, and can have significant interactions predominantly with their own community.
They say they are a “language minority”. But people from language minorities, when they live in a foreign country, make an effort to learn the language of the surrounding country they live in. They don’t say “Oh, I am a proud Afar, and I will only speak Afar, and if others want to talk to me, they have to learn Afar”.

My mother was -non completely, but almost- deaf in the last few years of her life. She refused to wear her earpieces (saying that she heard too loud random noises like the refrigerator or the street, which she wasn’t used to anymore) and they were obsolete anyway, didn’t work that well, and we didn’t have money to buy new ones.
She became quite isolated, and I saw her retreat in a world of her own. On the phone it was easier because I had got her a phone especially made for old people, with very loud volume, which she could turn on. I had to speak with a very bass voice (she perceived bass sounds better), enunciating every word slowly and clearly. When in person, her friends after a while forgot they had to do this, or got tired of doing it, and they started speaking with their normal voice, and quickly. So she had become quite good at lip reading, although a late starter. She had become so proficient at this that it cost her life.
When Covid came, she used to tell considerate visitors who came wearing a mask to remove their masks so that she could understand what they were saying. Of course it so happened that someone brought her the virus, and she died for this stupid reason. (Not to mention that I also almost lost my life at that time)
Since then, I have wished a thousand, a million times that I had put a debt on my credit card and bought her new earpieces, I wished I would have begged her or blackmailed her to use them even if they were a bit uncomfortable, so she would still be at my side now. Maybe not for long, as she was old anyway; but not die like this, all alone, in a hospital room, among strangers dressed like astronauts.

But covid aside, I saw very well the isolation this brought. When the senses retreat one by one, vision, hearing, smell and taste… then you know that the person has taken a slippery road towards the end.

How can people say that not being able to see or hear is not an impairment, that it’s not a disability, but a desirable thing, and even desire that their child is born with it?

Make it make sense!


Check with @bepina and/or the teams.

You’re saying all that after watching the things I sent you?

And maybe you’re missing some important interactions by not knowing sign language. But I don’t think you should be forced to learn to sign instead of oral language at school or at home.

Today I got asked two times, where something was in English. I generally often get asked things in English, maybe I have the “English speaker aura”. I don’t mind it, that people live in my country and don’t know Polish. Sometimes they even don’t know English, but we always manage. It’s nothing scary.

I don’t know, if I can comment on your mother’s story or if you’re comfortable with that. I’m assuming since you’ve brought this up, I can, if not, let me know!
The isolation “hearing - deaf” is why the communities are so important. It’s difficult for people to communicate, when they have different ways of communication.
Some people just won’t hear you, no matter how loud you speak.
The sign language is great in a way that most people (deaf or hearing) can learn it and comunicate in the most easy way, without having to repeat, focus strongly on looking at the lips etc
The deaf communities allow people to “talk” freely and be comfortable without hearing. It makes people not feel isolated.

I’m sorry for your loss. I know it won’t change anything, but you shouldn’t blame yourself.

Everyone has different life experiences. When someone hearing looses the ability to hear, they miss it, want to hear again. It was something that they had and they mourn it.
When someone is born deaf, they are used to being this way, they’ve never heard so they don’t miss it. When later in life they get implants, they are often overwhelmed by enerything having sound and they want to go back to the way they used to feel.
And if both parents are deaf and don’t feel like they miss out on anything, they might want their child to be the same way, because then they will be able to show them everything. If they will have a hearing child, they will have to teach them to speak and it might seem more difficult to them.
However if someone strongly wants their child to be a certain way and will be disappointed in them, if they are different, I believe they shouldn’t be parents. Regardless if they want their child to be deaf, hearing, a doctor, a beautiful woman, a strong man or a lawyer.

As for missing sound, I sometimes go around in the headphones, not listening to anything, the sounds just irritate me, like I can’t stand it.


Sure. But, apart from the community, isn’t it nice when there is a way of building bridge with others as well? That’s all I’m saying.

Yes, that’s exactly my mom with the fridge and the noise from the streets. People who hear stop hearing them, they have learned to filter them out. Once we lived on a very busy street but it never bothered me. One day we made a recording and I listened to it, and I was very surprised to hear all that noise, that I normally didn’t hear. This filtering of non-useful sounds needs time and experience to happen, so it’s very natural that someone who isn’t used to much sound will pay undue attention to even irrelevant and useless ones.
On the extreme of this phenomenon, once I took an interview of Yehudi Menuhin, when he came to Athens for a concert. He was telling me that young people of our times have a percentage of deafness because of listening to very loud music with headphones, living in constantly noisy cities and frequenting night clubs, discos (at that time that was what they all did on Saturday nights) and attending rock concerts. I don’t remember the numbers he quoted, but I remember being surprised at how high they were. Those people seemed not to be bothered by the very high levels of sound, because they had gotten used to it. But their body WAS bothered and reacted, and that’s why their hearing progressively diminished.

Anyway. I think you and I have digressed a bit too much from the original question about Twinkling Watermelon… :slight_smile:


It’s nice to have a bridge, but that bridge should be based on the fundaments of mutual understanding. Right now we’re only on the level of building the basics such as laws and optimal ways to construct many different things.
I don’t know about your or others, who read this, countries. In Poland every few years there are reports that come out and say “the situation is still bad” and we’re still at a point where a lot of things need to be fixed, before we can truly rest happy.
For anyone interessted:
It’s government site, you can look around it, there are more articles on this topic there, statistics, problems and proposed solutions.
Another thing I want to add, is that while I try to understand different perspectives, I’m still a hearing person. To “build bridges” we need representatives of both sides. It’s important for the people concerned by certain changes to be present in the conversation (oralism and Bell, we don’t want to be like that).

Tiny bit too much :laughing:

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These are incredibly ignorant & prejudiced remarks from an obliviously privileged perspective.

I won’t waste more energy on engaging your hateful remarks, but this is for others who may wander into this thread:

This user’s characterization of an entire, diverse, misunderstood community of people is shamefully inaccurate and I encourage everyone to approach “others” (especially those in a minority group) with kindness, curiosity, and humility.