Date: Mon Dec 13, 1999 6:09
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: writing compounds
>If the language uses a compound, I would respectfully suggest that you take
>pains to respect the integrity of the language.
Of course. But what we assume are compounds may not be...we may be judging
signed languages incorrectly to begin with....after writing lots of
compounds I have found that many of them are really ONE sign.
This weekend I attended a special dinner in honor of Dr. Ursula Bellugi,
and her husband Ed Klima. I really enjoyed it. They had a big notebook,
which was passed around the restaurant, which was a collection of papers
and research done in connection with the Salk Institute lab in some way...I
noticed a paper co-authored by Judy Kegl! And there were papers on American
two-handed fingerspelling I enjoyed talking with an elderly Deaf woman who
had taught Ursula and the lab how to sign, many years ago, back when
researching signs was such a new topic.
Ursula started to tell us about the history of her work. I was really
inspired by it and I enjoyed the evening immensely. Ursula explained how
hard it was to research the grammar of signed languages back in the
beginning, because she and others had first assumed that the grammar would
be similar to spoken languages. But of course, through many years of work,
they learned that the grammar of signed languages are quite different than
So, I personally think that the jury is still out on compounds. After
writing down the page, I feel totally different about how to write them.
For example, in English, even though the word "fireman" is composed of two
parts: "fire-man", we still think of it as one word...(at least I do). We
certainly write it as one word.
That is what writing down the page has done for compounds in
SignWriting...the compounds are going from two signs with a hypen
(horizontal writing) to one sign that blends together by movement symbols
interconnecting the two parts.
I would be happy to create some diagrams to show you...would you like to
see some compounds written vertically?