forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Jul 1, 1998  7:31 pm
Subject:  Learning SignWriting :-)

On Tuesday, June 30, 1998, Anacorina Lola asked:

"I was wondering... Would you recommend a person who is not fluent in ASL
begin learning Sign Writing, or is it okay to start at any level? I
am a hearing person, and like I mentioned before, I will be starting the
Deaf Education program at CSU Fresno in August. My ASL is not as good as
I wish it would be, and as far as I know, Fresno doesn't offer classes
over Level 2. Do you think it would be better to start learning Sign
Writing now or until my ASL is at a more fluent level?"

Hello Anacorina and Everyone on the SW List :-)

You do not have to know ASL to learn SignWriting! In fact, if you know
SignWriting in advance, before you begin learning ASL, you will have a tool
to use in the classroom, that will be a great benefit to your learning ASL,
or any signed language, later. So I would suggest learning it as soon as
you have the time.

You see, the SignWriting symbols record "body movement". There are symbols
for handshapes, facial expressions, arm movements, torso movements ...all
the symbols needed for recording anything the body does. So it is not
dependent upon your knowledge of a signed language. If you learn
SignWriting without knowing a signed language first, then, when you see a
sign for the first time, you can record the movements on paper, even if you
do not know what the sign means. Then someone can tell you what it means,
and you have it written so you can remember it at home.

Later, as you become more skilled in signing ASL, we can teach you how to
write the intricacies of ASL grammar, which does take prior knowledge of

But for right now, learning the basic SignWriting symbols would be a
perfect tool for you.

So is OK to start learning SignWriting at any level!

All the best -

Valerie Sutton :-)

Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
(619)456-0098 voice
(619)456-0010 tty
(619)456-0020 fax

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