forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  James R Womack
Date:  Wed May 19, 1999  1:00 pm
Subject:  Re: researching

On Wed, 19 May 1999 02:54:09 -0700 Joe Martin

>Re these two questions, I'm reminded or my perpetual mantra that "ASL
>is a Language" People seem to pay lip service to that, but don't
>follow up on the ramifications.

It is refreshing to see someone other than me step up and say
this. Question is, do you get your head beaten for doing so as i have?

>> 3. What are the linguistic challenges or ramifications of sign

>SignWriting is the first writing system ever to catch on somewhat that
>has been designed to represent non-spoken language. That alone should
>make it of abiding interest to linguists. There is a lot of harping on
>the idea of iconicity in writing systems, most of it pretty
>The idea of a pictograph is well established, but what about a grapheme
>that represents iconically not the referent itself, but the linguistic
>sign that stands for that referent. Ain't never been done.

Actually, iconicity may be the original writing for any language.
Prehistoric people used pcitures to "record" history (hunting trips,
religious beliefs etc) on cave walls and rocks along trails. The
earliest writings are iconic. Even our alphabet has some relation to
iconic sturctures that have changed over time. The harpers against
SW must have a highly personalized agenda to continue their hrping,
I think.

o/ James Womack \o ,
<| Don't mince words |> __o/
/ > Say what you really think! < \ __\__

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