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From:  Angus Grieve-Smith
Date:  Tue Jun 8, 1999  12:33 pm
Subject:  Re: Need Your Advice on SignWriter Menus


On Mon, 7 Jun 1999, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> Thanks for this message. I just finished a long meeting with our
> programmer, and we decided to offer ALL options. People can choose to
> navigate with international icons if they wish, but they will also be
> able to choose to read their Menus in Signs, Words or Signs & Words.

Sorry, I wanted to get my $.02 in earlier, but I've been moving
around a lot over the past week, and haven't had much time to send email.

I'm very concerned about making too strong a connection between
the dominant spoken language of a country and the dominant signed
language, which it seems to me that you're doing by having one set of
"signs" and one set of "words" for each country. By doing this, you're
unintentionally showing disrespect for minority languages.

For example, in Quebec most Deaf people from English-speaking
families use ASL, and most Deaf from French-speaking families use LSQ.
But there are many exceptions. If people want to use the country
"Canada," are they required to have their menus in English and ASL? If
you have a "country" for Quebec, can people have their menus in French and
ASL, or English and LSQ, or are they required to have French and LSQ?

I could go on for a long time thinking of examples of this. I
think the solution is simply to be able to pair any signed language with
any spoken language, which seems like a fairly straightforward programming
task. Maybe that's what you had planned all along, and I misunderstood?

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

  Replies Author Date
1424 Re: Need Your Advice on SignWriter Menus Valerie Sutton Tue  6/8/1999

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