forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Dec 14, 1999  6:04 am
Subject:  Re: Writing Legs & Feet

Fernando asked:
>Does Cecilia, or Valerie, or any coleague from our list have any idea of
>whether thal sign described by Cecelia may be found
>in any ASL dictionary (such as Costello's)?


Fernando -
Good grief, no! I doubt if most authors of ASL dictionaries can accept the
fact that lower body movement is a part of ASL, let alone tapping of the
feet on the ground. But I personally agree with Cecelia. I think she is
right, and I think that those who have been studying signed languages up
until now have been missing the forest for the trees. They have trouble
seeing the whole picture, because they are so busy looking at the details
of the parts.

And just as calling that "a sign" is controversial, so is SignWriting itself.

I know that a lot of you from other countries assume that the USA uses
SignWriting...but actually SignWriting is more accepted in other countries
than in my own country. There is more happening in Brazil with SignWriting,
for example, than in the USA.

Back in 1979, I was criticized for stating in a presentation in Rochester,
New York, that I thought that "the whole body" was used in some ASL signs,
and now Cecelia has validated that. But back in 1979 people weren't ready
for that idea yet. And the sad part to that story was this: an American
Deaf woman stood up and signed in ASL: "If we write our language visually
like SignWriting, hearing people will think that Deaf people are

I felt real sad when I realized she was right...most hearing people would
stand in judgement of them...assuming it could not be a written language if
it were written with arms and legs and feet.

The idea is more accepted now, but it still has a way to go....

Val ;-)

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