forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Roving Reporter
Date:  Fri May 22, 1998  1:35 am
Subject:  Re: Intro

Hi, I guess I better say something before someone wonders
what I'm doing here. (-:

I am hard of hearing, learned ASL late in life...I can still
vividly remember my first dawning wonder at finding out there
were other people like me, and that they even had a "secret"
language that no one in my family knew about! Talk about cool!
My upbringing was somewhat difficult, but not particularly
remarkable because I think most of us have these difficulties
who come from hearing families. And because I am hard of hearing,
I have a somewhat different perspective perhaps, than someone
who is deaf and knew of sign language all is more
hard-won I guess, and I also have to explain the unexplainable
-- why someone who can hear with hearing aids still prefers a
visual language. I really don't know.

I discovered SignWriting while attending CSU Northridge where
I worked for a short time at the NCOD's Library on Deafness.
There while filing periodicals, I came across this funny little
newsletter with what looked like little people figures in print!
Who could resist it? I even noticed that if I studied it a bit,
it made sense, even though I didn't have a dictionary...I just
had to think in terms of sign language. I later met an interpreter
who used it exclusively to take notes for herself of ASL signs. I
thought that was pretty cool too.

When I think of SignWriting, I am reminded of the story of the
man who "invented" a written system for the Cherokee language.
I don't remember his name at this moment, but he is still
honored by his people for his work, which led to the printing
of books in the Cherokee language, and helped also to preserve
it for future generations. I am sure some day that we will
similarly honor Valerie Sutton, right up there with others
such as Laurent Clerc! You see, with more deaf people being
mainstreamed, it's more important than ever to have some way
to document our language and easily transport it to many places.
For example, I'm looking forward to the day when I can buy an
ASL/English dictionary with the ASL printed in SignWriting. I
would even not mind helping with the ASL-to-English part, since
I am a writer. (-:
* Therese Shellabarger - *
* Shalom chaverot! *

* EFTC Inc. -- Dir. of Communications *
* See Deaf Expo at *

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