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From:  Shepard-Kegl
Date:  Mon Dec 13, 1999  9:52 pm
Subject:  Re: writing compounds

Semantics -- gripes! My lay understanding is that when two words join to
form a single word, that word os a compound by definition (at least by my
definition.) Thus, FIREMAN is indeed a single word and it is a compound.
Right? So, is APPLE TREE in english a compound or two words? I think they
are two words, but APPLESAUCE is a compound. (I cheated -- used a
dictionary.) I don't know whether APPLE TREE is one or two words (or more)
in ASL.

In Nicaragua, gender appears sometimes as a suffix and sometimes as a
prefix. Hence, CHILD-MAN for boy. This is clearly one word, but it is also
a compound. (Two things mix together to form a new thing. Niacin +
cholorine = salt.) Sometimes, BOY and MAN appear together in the same
sentence (BOY HITS MAN), and the signs are distinguished in part by the way
they are set up in space (and I expect some pronouns would be thrown in:
BOY (ME) MAN (HIM) I HIM HIT). Anyway, as a writing convention, using the
hyphen seemed to make things easier -- there would be no mistake that
CHILD-MAN was intended as a single word.

I can see how vertical writing makes it easier to portray body shifts (which
are super important in Nicaragaun Sign Language.) So, my mind it is open.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> 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
> noticed a paper co-authored by Judy Kegl! And there were papers on
> 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
> spoken languages.
> 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?
> Val ;-)

  Replies Author Date
2497 Re: writing compounds Valerie Sutton Thu  12/16/1999
2499 ASL sign for "girl" Valerie Sutton Thu  12/16/1999

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