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From:  Michael Everson
Date:  Sun Aug 8, 1999  12:05 pm
Subject:  Re: proper names

Judy wrote:

>>This is a quickie and I haven't read all but here is the deal with Nicaragua
>>on the acronym front. Please, they use the term Idioma de Señas de
>>Nicaragua. When I speak of it in translation I use the term "Nicaraguan
>>Sign Language" but I NEVER use the acronym NSL. If an acronym were to be
>>used I would use ISN, but I prefer to avoid that. Why? If you look at the
>>Signed languages of the world most of them have had their SIGN supplanted by
>>a signed acronym from the dominant language label for the language.

But say a person speaks only English, and doesn't sign. What do you want
that person to call the sign language of Nicaragua when speaking English?

Darlene wrote:

>Thanks so much for saying to leave to Deaf communities to make decision
>with the proper names. It is Deaf's languages that we need to make our own
>decisions So, for America....American Sign Language (ASL) is a true language.

I'm not quite sure what the problem is. English speakers we tend to use
(for good or for ill) acronyms for long phrases. ASL and BSL are common
acronyms for "American Sign Language" and "British Sign Language"
respectively. In Spanish you might call them "Idioma de Señas
Estadounidense" and "Idioma de Señas Británico". One might, consequently,
expect ISE and ISeB to be used in Spanish, but as noted, Spanish tends to
treat acronyms as words, .

You can't expect English speakers to call Nicaraguan Sign Language "Idioma
de Señas de Nicaragua". What would you do if Welsh Sign Language existed?
You couldn't expect people to call it "Iaith Gymraeg Arwyddion, IGA", could
you? Surely "Japanese Sign Language, JSL" is preferable to "Nihon Shuwa" in

Maybe I've missed the point? Maybe the point is that in sign one can either
say a name in sign itself or finger spell the acronym of the name in
another language? Does the name for American Sign Language differ when
Signed (i.e., does it not contain the sign for "American" and the sign for
"sign language")?

An interesting note. We call French "French" and not "Français". Nobody
worries about that.... One of the languages of northern Europe we used to
call "Lappish" but they feel that name (at least the Norwegian version
"lappisk") to be pejorative so they prefer us to call it "Sámi". In doing
so we show them respect for how they wish to be called.

Sorry for the ramble.....

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478 2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478 2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

  Replies Author Date
1646 Re: proper names Valerie Sutton Sun  8/8/1999

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