What does coda mean? The word coda, or CODA, is an acronym that stands for child of deaf adult(s). Coda is typically used to specifically refer to a hearing person who has a deaf parent or parents or a deaf guardian or guardians. It does not necessarily refer to a young person—the word child is used to indicate the family relationship, as opposed to the age. (The acronym koda, for kid of deaf adult(s), is sometimes used to distinguish such a person as being under 18.) The term child of deaf adult(s) uses the word deaf in a general way to mean completely or partially without the sense of hearing. In other contexts, the capitalized form Deaf is typically used in terms referring to the culture or community of deaf people—and sometimes even more specifically to refer to those who use American Sign Language (ASL) as a primary means of communication. However, some may use the capitalized form Deaf in all cases, including when spelling out the meaning of the acronym CODA. Coda is pronounced as a word and not as individual letters (that is, not like C-O-D-A). It’s typically used as a noun to refer to such a person, as in As codas, we have a unique connection to the Deaf community. Coda can also be used as an adjective, as in coda culture or CODA organizations. The word coda is most often used by children of deaf adults themselves, as a way to self-identify, as well as by organizations composed of such members. However, it is also used by others outside of these communities and organizations. Example: I’m a coda, so keep in mind that ASL is my first language.
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