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From:  Shepard-Kegl
Date:  Wed Nov 10, 1999  10:39 pm
Subject:  Re: Nice to know

I would predict...

ASL, like all languages, is dynamic -- the language continues to evolve, new
words come in, old words become obsolete, and regional dialects, not to
mention individual idiosyncracies, abound.

There is no "correct" way to spell a particular sign yet, but this may be
attributed to a paucity of ASL literature. SW is quite young, especially if
you discount those first two decades when the system had not yet caught on.
(Indeed, SW has not caught on even now. I like to think all of us are in
the vanguard in this respect.)

Eventually, there will be a lot more material produced using SW, which will
lead to disputes over how to properly write the word, particularly as
teachers (hearing or Deaf) and young students are going to want to know.
Eventually, a group of self-appointed linguists, educators, signers,
whatever will produce a "this is what you have all been waiting for"
dictionary, and suddenly you will indeed be wrong, out-of-the-loop,
illiterate, mocked, if you haven't yet learned out to correctly spell. If
SW really catches on, then prose ASL will become the language of the
"elite", with the illiterate inferiors among us stuck using street-ASL.
(That is to say, SW rather than merely representing ASL has the potential
to affect the development of ASL.)

Isn't this what happened after Sam Johnson (did I remember the name right)
and Noah Webster, and company, standardized English?

I am not suggesting that this is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm just
observing human nature.

-- James Shepard-Kegl
-----Original Message-----
From: Deborah Holden
To: SignWriting List
Date: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 1:30 PM
Subject: Nice to know

>Dear SignWriting List,
> What matters is what can be read properly...and writing systems
>historically have to go through this simplification process to get
>something that is easy to use on a daily basis....and of course it is
>confusing for the first generation of writers...
> When I read this yesterday and with all the other messages on the list
>spelling, I began to realized that I was not the only one who worried about
>writing signs wrong. I was also confused by the different spellings of
> I
>knew the sign and could read it but I thought that I would be writing them
>differently then how I saw them. I also thought that I could have been
wrong in
>my understanding of how to write SW. Now I know that I'm not alone.
> even
>more exciting is that SW is just like learning ASL. When I first learned
>every time I saw someone signing slightly differently than I was taught I
>"new sign?" Of course the signer would say no I'm just lazy or it was a
> regional
>difference. So once I knew that I relaxed and assumed that any sign that
>close to the one I knew would be right until it did not make sense. Then I
> would
>ask for clarification. So it is with SW. If the sign is readily
understood and
>readable, that's all that matters. I find this a real relief and now I can
>relax and enjoy the learning experience. It's so fun to see the students
get so
>excited about it too. Deb Holden

  Replies Author Date
2263 New SW Article in Silent News!! Valerie Sutton Thu  11/11/1999
2264 Re: Nice to know Valerie Sutton Thu  11/11/1999

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