SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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February 11, 1998

SUBJECT: Annual Membership Meeting

Hello Everyone -
As I write to you, I look out at a beautiful canyon. The wildlife is wonderful. Small squirrels and rabbits with little white tails scamper in front of my window. And I have the good fortune to have a computer, so we can communicate. I feel very fortunate :-)

I am writing to report news from the DAC. We have had a busy time lately. Our Annual Membership & Board Meeting was held on February 8th in my new home. It was fun showing everyone our new office!

Twenty people attended. The board meeting was held first. Then Darline Clark and Dave Gunsauls (who are getting married in July :-) gave a short presentation about our accomplishments in 1997, and our plans for 1998. Angela Jones, from Network Interpreting Services, interpreted.

Darline, who is the author of our ASL Children's Stories Series, began by showing the group Goldilocks, Humpty Dumpty and Cinderella. Just as Darline opened the books, their daughter Tiffany, who is a year and eight months old, grabbed the books and started reading them! We all laughed and it was a great moment to remember :-) Dave then explained that he is the new editor of our SignWriter Newsletter online. Dave's first issue will be posted on our SignWritingSite in Spring, 1998. Dave will write all his newsletters in ASL in SignWriting, from a Deaf perspective.

I then summarized our plans for the SignWriting Literacy Project. I showed the group two studies on Sign Language literacy. The first was published in Denmark in 1985, which I hope to translate from Danish into English. Two of our board members, Anne Ulrichs Goldman and Margit Bojstrup-Kesner, are Danish-Americans, and they will hopefully act as my editors on the translation :-)

The second and most recent study is a master's degree thesis by Janice Gangel-Vasquez, completed Winter 1997. This new study will be posted on our SignWritingSite in the future. Although it is only a short study, it is important for the history of SignWriting. Literacy levels of Deaf children in Nicaragua were studied and the results point to success in reading signs. Quoting from the thesis: "The test results support the hypothesis that even beginning signers can be taught to recognize written sign. Further, there is evidence that achievement of sign literacy may open the door to literacy in an oral language." We had hoped that Janice herself could present this to the group, but the long drive from Los Angeles in the rain did not make it possible. Janice and I hope to work together in the future to summarize the results for educators.

After the meeting adjourned, I gave an informal demonstration of our new computer program, SignWriter 5.0 in Java, programmed by Rich Kadel from DTAI. The program is not completed yet, but we discussed the new features we are planning, including pull-down menus written in ASL or any signed language. Instead of the menus using English words to say "File, New, Open, Save, Quit" and so forth, we will be able to place the equivalent signs in place of the words. It was fun to see the ASL signs for Cut, Copy and Paste in the menus!

All in all it was a great meeting. Wish you all could have been with us!

All good wishes -

Valerie :-)