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From:  James Shepard-Kegl
Date:  Tue Aug 3, 1999  2:00 am
Subject:  Re: Acronyms for Signed Languages

Well, Bill, far be it for me to open up THIS can of worms....Although I am
not a linguist, as I understand it, a pidgin is not a language at all (not
to be confused with a creole). So, I should think that PSL does not belong
in the family of human languages, although it certainly is a communication
system. People frequently use the term "language" rather liberally,
sometimes to the point of absurdity (hence, claims related to animal use of
languages), and very frequently in reference to sophisticated
communications systems that lack the richness and specific grammar and
syntax structure of a true language. As you can imagine, this kind of
"talk" is bound to offend a lot of people. In any event, Signed English is
not a unique sign language, but a copy of english (and therefore, I guess,
a language but not a distinct one.) Anyway, LSN, or pidgin Nicaraguan
Sign Language, is not based on spanish -- it's really not based on
anything. It is a vocabulary system that lacks its own grammar and syntax
and doesn't copy the grammar or syntax of another language either. Rather,
it is words put together by each user in a hodgepodge. I have seen users
who won't say the same sentence the same way twice, they omit verbs
sometimes, they don't use classifiers, (at least not in the way the ISN
signers do), they simply are not particularly descriptive. Their language
lacks the richness that the rest of us language users take for granted.
Nevertheless, they can get their point across, and their communication
system works for complex, abstract topics -- just not in complex, abstract
ways and not in any distinct or rule governed way. (I assume CASE, as
english based, is in a wholly separate class.)
--James SK
> From: Bill Reese
> To: SignWriting List
> Subject: Re: Acronyms for Signed Languages
> Date: domingo 1 de agosto de 1999 18:05
> Hmm... this brings up a very interesting question, James. I'm late-deaf
> therefore combine my english with ASL to form CASE, Conceptually Accurate
> Signed English. It's also called PSL, Pidgin Sign Language. And then
> are the forms of sign language in the US in which we try to follow the
> English Language exactly, or near so. SEE, Signed Exact English, and a
> more abbreviations I'm not remembering right now. Obviously, this would
> up a Pandora's box if we were to try to include all the variations for
all the
> languages/countries on the list. Perhaps a grouping of languages would
> better. An identification of Country followed by a Particular Language
> Abbreviation. Sort of like: USA-ASL, USA-SEE, MEX-MSL, etc. It would
go a
> long way to using the same abbreviation for two different languages from
> different countries.
> Bill Reese
> James Shepard-Kegl wrote:
> > Nicaraguan Sign Language, at least in research papers, is called ISN,
> > Idioma de Senas de Nicaragua. ISN refers to the rich, sophisticated
> > language characterized by a developed grammar and syntax.
> >
> > There is, for lack of a better description, a pidgin sign language in
> > Nicaragua which is called LSN, or Lengua de Senas de Nicaragua. LSN
> > be considered a communication system, but not a language in the sense
> > ISN or ASL or english.
> >
> > James Shepard-Kegl

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