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From:  Wayne in Maine
Date:  Mon Nov 8, 1999  5:53 am
Subject:  Re: Axial stationary movement "Reverse, opposite"

Valerie wrote:
>Remember that standardized spellings have not been established yet - those
>will come with usage and dictionaries. Right now, people are free to "spell
>signs" as they wish, just as long as it can be read and understood by
>others :-)

Valerie, just a note to say I like the spirit of your comment. It's
hard to come up with hard and fast rules when there are so many variables to
take into consideration. I believe that it will, with time, develop into a
more "standardized" writing system within each individual language.
I'm going to throw out a comment that might be "against the rules" of
SW per se. In the notational systems that we've developed for TSL over the
years, we've always used the ~ symbol to indicate alternating movement,
unlike the standard SW symbol for alternating movement. (I think Stokoe
also used this symbol.) I tried to use your standard symbol, but everyone
had difficulty relating to it and wondered why not just use the ~ symbol.
So I went ahead and did that. That means that TSL is now "out of line" with
other sign languages in the indication of alternating movement. That led me
to another thought:
When we look at writing systems developed for spoken languages, we note
lots of variation in the phonetic realizations for specific symbols. In
French, é is a particular type of vowel sound, as opposed to, say, ê. In
Spanish, the acute accent, e.g., é, would indicate where the stress is
placed within a word, e.g. teléfono. In German, the umlaut is used to
changed the quality of a vowel sound (das Haus, die Häuser), whereas is
Spanish the "umlaut" is used to show that a normally non-pronounced "u" is
now to be pronounced, as in "nicaragüense" (Nicaraguan), pronounced
"nee-kah-rah-gwayn-say". In spoken languages there is no "rule" that the
same symbol must be used in the same way in different languages. It seems
as if the Taiwanese Deaf relate more to the ~ symbol that the standard
symbol to indicate alternating movement. Should we cease and desist,
repent, and mend our ways, or should we allow the spelling to develop
- Wayne

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