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From:  James Womack
Date:  Sat Mar 11, 2000  11:20 am
Subject:  Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

The problem with English Gloss of ASL is it confuses
the kids. I know, I used it for several years with much

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Martin"
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

> On Fri, 10 Mar 2000, Don & Theresa G wrote:
> > This observation is something that concerns me. I do support,
> > the idea of a writing system for sign language that could help Deaf kids
> > learn to write in their own language. However, as we all know, Enlgish
> > the lingua Franca of our American society, not to mention the world.
> > able to use English through reading and writing is SO vital for them.
> > what I see from this comment, it sounds like they would rather do all
> > reading and writing in SW rather than bilingually switch between the two
> > (which would be just fine with me). We know how hard English can be for
> > deaf kids to learn, so it sounds here as if they're trying to "take the
> > way out" (I hate that phrase for its application to oralism and sign,
but it
> > is appropos here) by sticking with SW rather than English.
> I believe there are a number of studies now showing that L1 proficiency
> aids in L2 learning. Beyond that, .....
> my wife just came back from two weeks in Taiwan. Her report matches others
> I've heard, of being on the verge of tears the whole time she was there,
> due to being "illiterate." The simplest act of communication became a
> humiliating struggle to find a restroom, make a phone call, etc. She took
> the easy way out and fell back on English when she could....
> Somehow deaf people are supposed to be immune to all this? That's a
> little insulting.
> > I mentioned SW to my wife, who is an elementary teacher of the deaf at a
> > school for the deaf. One thing she said, in addition to the fact that
SW is
> > not "English" (as it shouldn't be), is that for her, she finds no way
> > could make room in her schedule to teach English AND SW, even if she
were so
> > inclined. How do the classroom teachers out there make time for both SW
> > English instruction? How do the classroom teachers help the kids make
> > connections and transitions between SW and English?
> I don't see why SW can't be English. Most of the SW I see tends to *be
> signed English rather than ASL.
> I'm studying Japanese in my school. It is very difficult for me to read.
> In order to understand a line of text, I sometimes write it out in the
> Roman alphabet; then I can translate it to English.
> For difficult passages, I have to write them out first in English, then
> change them to Japanese (Kana/Kanji) and then I can write them in
> Japanese.
> For easy passages I skip all that, which is the goal, but
> If I weren't allowed to do this, I would quit. Instantly.

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