Date: Sat Aug 21, 1999 4:50
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Acronyms - A suggestion
Interesting, Barbara, the idea of using North America, a continent, a
geographical entity. Is there any problem with using a unique geographical
identifier? When defining where a language exists, I've heard them defined by a
geographical region located within a country(ies). A mountain blocking the
transfer of languages is a much more defining characteristic than an arbitrary
political boundary such as a country. But people can relate to countries.
Saying that a language is indigenous to the Sahara Desert gives people the vague
idea of North Africa, but by saying that it's in Libya, Egypt, Morocca, Sudan -
people get a better idea of its location. And for that matter, how would you
locate a language of a nomadic people? While it's true that there aren't many
those left, and perhaps none have a signed language, it still is an intriguing
barbara o'dea wrote:
> 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
> following change:
> 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.