Date: Fri Aug 20, 1999 5:34
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Acronyms - A suggestion
On Fri, 20 Aug 1999, Michael Everson wrote:
> I don't think that an indication of the dominant _spoken_ language in the
> region is a very good way of identifying a sign language. "sgn-eng-CA"
> would be Signed English used in Canada (and it refers directly to a spoken
> language), and so "sgn-CA-eng" is confusing. I specifically chose
> "sgn-fre-CA" for Signed French used in Canada as opposed to "sgn-CA-QP" for
> French Canadian Sign Language.
This is soooo true. To place the spoken language of a community as part of
the identification of a signed language is problematic and should be
> I have not endeavoured at this stage to identify dialects. There is some
> information in the Ethnologue for some countries. Shall we review that? The
> SIL may not be the best source for many entries.
I come from Newfoundland, Canada. Some of the spoken English dialects in
that province are difficult for other English speakers to understand - but
we still consider ourselves English speakers. Our many and varied dialects
are not considered when we tell people our language - it's Enlgish.
I'm not sure we are ready to identify dialects/variations of signed
languages when we are having problems identifying the name of the more
"standard" (only using this word because I can't think of another at this
moment) signed language in a sign community.
The majority of signers in Canada use ASL. Deaf people are involved with
"ASL acquisition programs" and ASL/English Interpreter Training
programs; and Deaf people refer to "their" language as ASL and they
discuss it as ASL. Whether or not it has local variations (which of course
it does, even within Canada), to identify it as CSL seems extremely odd to
me. (A couple of years ago there was a move to change the name to CSL; but
this has not taken hold in Canada as far as I can tell). Is there a
problem with designating two countries for the same language? Or better
yet, how about this SUGGESTION?
If the purpose of the acronyms is for identification, I propose the
That the signed language used by most Deaf people in the U.S. and Canada
be given the identification name - NASL - for North American Sign
Language. The countries using it could be identified as Canada and the
Other signed languages in North America could keep their identifications -
eg. LSM for Mexican Sign Language and LSQ for the signed language used in
parts of Quebec.
I have no idea how many signed languages exist in the Aboriginal
communities throughout Canada (or the U.S.). In a previous posting a
signed language for Nova Scotia was suggested. I've never heard of a
signed language paticular to that region (other than ASL that is) - but
hey, I could be mistaken.
Good luck with the project.