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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Dec 11, 1999  4:44 pm
Subject:  Literacy in SW

December 11, 1999

Dear SW List members:
I am posting this message for Hope Hurlbut in Malaysia. Hope describes how
hard it is for deaf children to learn to read spoken languages, by
comparing it to being forced to memorize numbers...

Val ;-)


Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999 22:33:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Literacy in SW

The purpose for this e-mail is to comment on Stephan's e-mail about
how readily his students learned and benefitted from SW. As you know
I work for the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), and it has long
been our policy to use the "mother tongue" (for spoken languages) to
teach people how to read and write. Quite a number of scientific
studies have been done by people outside of SIL proving that children
in school learn to read faster and better if they learn in their
mother tongue first. They realize then that reading has meaning. If
they are learning in a second language they have two hurdles to jump,
learn the second language and then learn to write in the second
language. It takes longer and is much more difficult. Some give up
in the attempt, because they never learn that those black marks on the
paper are supposed to have meaning. It is doubly so for a Deaf child
who has never heard a spoken language. I have heard it compared to us
going to school, and having to learn that the numbers 625 mean "cat"
and 318 mean "dog". Can you imagine what a heavy memory load that is
when a person has no help from the appearance of a word that there is
any reason for the series of letters? Every single word has to be
memorized in isolation. Kudos to all the Deaf who have managed to
master English with its abominable spelling system that baffles
hearing people let alone the Deaf. Languages that are spelled
phonetically at least have fewer letters to memorize!

Thanks again.
Hope Hurlbut

  Replies Author Date
2506 Re: Literacy in SW Hope Hurlbut Fri  12/17/1999

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