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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Dec 14, 1999  8:30 pm
Subject:  Re: writing legs & feet

Fernando wrote:
>Dear Val, would you say a language "evolves" or just that it "randomly
>changes over time"? I would say that, despite all random
>changes over time (that are actually noise instead of signal), there may
>be some lines of evolution that may be identified (for
>instance like that from pictograms to Rebus to syllabaries to Greek-Roman
>alphabet). If we agree on that, would you say that each
>language is a phenomenon completely particular or that languages may share
>some features and dimensions? (for instance the
>strategy they use to represent the sounds of language). In that case,
>wouldn't you agree it might be profitable to compare the way
>they change over time along those dimensions? I am not trying to adopt
>Procustus's maneuver and say that we should adopt the same
>criteria to all languages. I am just saying that such an heuristic
>exercise may yield fruitful hypotheses and refreshing
>discoveries, at least more than those accruing from assuming that each
>language is a completely separate phenomenon in itself.


Hi Fernando and Everyone....

Of course those are fascinating studies in the linguistic field, you are
right ;-)

I just come from a different world, since I am not a linguist.

But we do share the love of watching the natural evolution of languages and
writing you will see later, I will be showing the SW List the
evolution of writing compounds in SignWriting...

I guess from my perspective, "older" does not necessarily mean more
"sophisticated, it simply means "older"...that is all.

Sometimes, when I am working with Deaf people, I have noticed that some
Deaf people can feel hurt, when linguists judge one signed language as
being more sophisticated than another. That was what I was thinking about...

And meanwhile, the freer, more "Full-Body" signed languages are more fun to
write in SignWriting!

So writing legs and feet does have some value in some situations -

Thanks for your great input, and all the fine work you are doing in Brazil!

Val ;-)

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