forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Cecelia Smith
Date:  Tue Dec 14, 1999  12:12 am
Subject:  Re: Writing Legs & Feet

Hello Fernando;

The sign that I described is not only NOT listed in any ASL dictionaries, but
I have been told that it is not really a sign. (I disagree with this...the
people who tell me it is not a sign are, in my opinion, biased towards the
concept that only signs made in the sign space are signs, and that everything
else is a gesture. When I have people from several different regions not
only use the same motions and for the exact same meaning...well, for me, that
makes it a sign.)

I'm just a poor hearing student...what do *I* know. <grin>

It is true that over time, signs in ASL have migrated towards the common sign
space. This tendency is natural to all languages. If you study various
spoken languages you will see that historically audible phonemes have shifted
from more complex to less complex ... more centered, and easily produced.
There is no logical reason why signed phonemes would be any different.

What handicaps many people in this area, IN MY OPINION, is the blind spot
that does not recognize that NEW signs may be developed that are outside of
the sign space. It will possibly take a few generations for the sign I
described to first become extremely well known, and then to begin to shift to
a different production area.

I am interested in other signs that are made well outside of the sign said that in your language, there are many? <grin> Cool!

As for the 2 cents.... nice to know the investment is paying dividends!


Does Cecilia, or Valerie, or any colleague from our list have any idea of
whether that sign described by Cecelia may be found
in any ASL dictionary (such as Costello's)?

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