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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Apr 27, 1999  7:07 pm
Subject:  Re: Silent News Article, March 1999

April 27, 1999

Hi Everyone...
First, I would like to thank the author, Alexandra Han, who wrote the
article in Silent News, for the excellent article! SignWriting is not an
easy subject to write about, because there are so many details involved.
And as articles go, this article was much more accurate than most.

Now that I have posted the article, exactly as it was written, I think I
should point out two statements that are not entirely correct. Of course I
would never normally mention this to others, except this is the SignWriting
List! So such details may be of interest to you....

Here is one statement from the article:

>Ironically, even though SignWriting was originally
>invented in a lingusitics lab with the advice and assistance of many native
>ASL signers...

It is true that we have had the excellent advice of many ASL signers!
However, we do not have a linguistics lab....

I guess it is a matter of "terminology" or semantics. The term "linguistics
lab" to me, means that the group is located at a university or possibly at
a research institute, and that there is funding from a big-time government
grant, and that we have mostly linguists working here :-)

Do all of you define the term "linguistics lab" that way?

Well...anyway...our organization, the DAC, has had wonderful linguists
working with us over the years, especially Dr. Karen van Hoek, who is now
at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Karen can tell you first hand,
that as an organization, the DAC is much more relaxed. I work out of my
house, and I am not a linguist. But I feel very lucky to work with such
wonderful people, in our relaxed fashion. And we certainly have gotten a
lot accomplished over the years, even if we are not associated with a
bigger educational institution.

The second statement from the article:

>English glosses, which have been used for many years to represent ASL,
>shows a picture of a person signing a sign, with the written English
>version beneath the sign.

Gosh...I sure wish English glosses included pictures of people signing!
That would be visual and that would be better! - I believe that the author
didn't realize that usually English glosses are written without pictures.

In the article, I was referring to English glosses that are written without
any pictures at all. They are English words placed in ASL sign order...and
English glosses used without any visual pictures or SignWriting can be, in
my opinion, confusing and inaccurate. So that is what I meant :-)

And last, I would like to thank all of you who gave interviews to Alexandra
Han last December. I know around 15 of you took time from your busy days to
give your opinions on SignWriting.

I had hoped the article would include some of your interviews, and I was
disappointed when I found they were not there. It may be that the article
was originally longer, and was cut by the editor at Silent News. This
happens a lot in newspapers. They only have so much space, and they cut
articles all the time.

Instead, the article mentions controversy in the beginning, but then never
quotes anyone else's feelings about it! The article only includes the
interview with me. So....anyway....I want to thank all of you for
contributing your feelings about SignWriting....and I always appreciate
your feedback....

My next posting is SignWriting and facial expressions .....

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton


The DAC, Deaf Action Committee for SW
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

  Replies Author Date
1180 Re: Silent News Article, March 1999 Valerie Sutton Wed  4/28/1999

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