|SignWriting List Forum|
William McGruder |
Date: Fri Aug 27, 1999 6:49 pm
Subject: Re: question to linguists...
In a message dated 8/27/99 6:15:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< On Thu, 26 Aug 1999, William McGruder wrote:
> So perhaps what's really needed here is a new classification of
> writing systems. Ideograms and syllabries and phonemes (root word
> phono, sound) and alphabets don't really apply, IMHO, to Sign
> Languages. Maybe we could coin a new word for a spoken language to
> describe this: Gesteme, using the root of Gesture. Obviously a word
> for the Sign Languages isn't needed as, AFIK, "Sign" is used.
Stokoe actually did this back in 1960, with his "cheremes" from a
Greek root meaning gesture. In the 70s people argued that what signers do
is cognitively equivalent to phonology, so they don't need a separate
word. Hence, "cherology" never took hold, and "sign phonology" became the
Well, what's one more oxymoron in English :)
Personally, I feel that calling the separate Signs by any word with "phono"
or any other variation of "sound" trivializes the validity of Sign Languages
as languages. That's just my opinion, though.
-William J. "Chip" McGruder