|SignWriting List Forum|
Date: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:41 pm
Subject: Re: From Linguistics to Animation...
Valerie and Joe,
I can think of two examples of DHH kids reading SW in parts and in whole
I'm working with elementary school kids in two different schools. This
is an example of reading 'parts of signs'.One 3rd grader...age 9...was
working with the SignWriter program...she was looking up in the SW
dictionary the English word 'girl'...when the Signwritten entry
appeared...she cocked her head to one side and started to sign 'sad'. I
accepted her 'guess' then started to articulate the sign 'girl'. She
paused a moment then giggled out loud....'oh yeah, girl'! After I
thought about her 'guess'...I'm 'guessing' that she first looked at the
face symbol with the semi-circle showing where the sign is made on the
face....I think she read only that one part of the sign and that
probably looked like a 'sad face' to her. (ie the tilting of her head)
The second example of reading signs as whole units with not all that
much attention to all sign parts...is the repeated 'reading' of a sign
that occurs in the SW materials about Goldilocks and the three bears'
'walking ventures'! Several students read the sign 'walk' but articulate
that sign with the two handed 'three' handshapes rather than the closed
palms as the sign is written. They don't seem to be bothered by the
handshape difference signed and printed. Some mis-reading of signs like
'run' and 'friend', 'hot' and 'mad', also demonstrates reading
'parts'...handshapes and placement but no attending to movement or
contact symbols yet.
There is one 6 year old Deaf of Deaf young SW reader who reads the SW
materials, the beginning levels, with such speed and automaticity that I
can't imagine she is reading sign parts. Her family and teacher report
that this little one loves books and is 'reading' English already.
Perhaps the reading 'whole words' was simple transfered to reading
As for the 'movie' like feature of SW...there was a middle school
student last year during our 'pilot' SW literacy project who followed
the directives and opened the SW dictionary. Once he was in the
dictionary, he kept his finger on the page up and sometimes the page
down keys and watched all the sign entries 'flash by'. He seemed to
enjoy the 'movie-like' scroll and kept it up for quite awhile, giggling
with amusement at his 'find'!
I'll be looking for some more examples....once my 'broken leg' heals and
I'm back with the kids and video cameras!
> In the beginning some people do break down each sign into parts, which
> oftentimes becomes confusing because they don't actually see the sign, they
> get so caught up in the details...
> But like words, after awhile you see the "whole unit" and I can tell you
> that I certainly don't feel like I am breaking a sign down into parts when
> I am reading - I feel like I am reading "units"....
> But there is another aspect to both SignWriting and DanceWriting that is
> important, and I cannot imagine it happening with any other writing system
> that I know of...and that is that the writing "comes alive" and starts
> moving before the eyes - not like real animation, but close to it..The fact
> that the signs or dance steps "move" as you read is really unique...
> You can actually take written signs or written dance figures, and place
> each one on the corner of a page, and flip them, and they look like true
> animation - so the signs move...I think that is part of the reason kids
> pick it up fast...and why maybe possibly Jerry Spillman was right, that
> there is an ultimate art or drawing aspect to it...
> Val ;-)
> Valerie Sutton
> SignWritingSite...Lessons Online
> SignBankSite...Databases Online
> Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
> Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA