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From:  Fernando Capovilla
Date:  Tue Mar 14, 2000  1:05 am
Subject:  (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-question-idea")

Dear Valerie,

This brief message is just to let you know that we have decided to include a new
item in our BrSL dictionary (in addition to the already finished
glosses-definitions-morphology descriptions in Portuguese, BrSL SW, real-life
illustrations of both BrSL sign meaning and BrSL sign morphology): English

The purpose is twofold:

1) helping Brazilian deaf kids to use BrSL not only as a bridge for expanding
their Portuguese vocabulary, but also as a bridge for creating their own English
vocabulary as well;

2) helping English-reading scholars and researchers who may be interested in
learn something of it, and start doing comparative research on it (thus helping
Brazilian scholars and researchers with their knowledge and expertise).

Of course, this decision is going to cost us at least another month's work (and
the editor is already about to jump on our necks), but its product will be
worthwhile, we are most certain of it.

So we're still alive, well, working and almost, almost there. :-) This was just
let you know about it.

Once a relatively large SW lexicon in BrSL is established, we may try to join
brilliant colleagues in the SW list, and start doing what they are proposing
already doing themselves): using SW to write lessons (in our case, lessons
in BrSL) about the grammar of a written-language (in our case Portuguese).

It is always nice to read there is a growing international effort towards using
as a bridge to literacy acquisition by deaf kids.

And by the way, experimental outcome research is instrumental in helping to
ascertain just how effective that may be.

We wonder if the efforts of colleagues who are applying such procedures are
object of outcome research conducted with sound experimental methods by research
teams of neighboring universities. That precaution would be very important if we
intend to help hard-headed academics (and the official policy-making
administrators who listen to them) to finally admit that SW may be a diamond
for literacy acquisition, and to give us (SW-researchers and SW-instructors) a
break (i.e., more class-time, more credits, more funds). That's the nice thing
about methodologically sound experimental research comparing outcome data from
different methods: little by little it helps replacing rethorical arguments
only convince those who share the same schools of thought) with compelling
evidence (whose cost-effective implications policy-makers and administrators are
usually sensitive to). (It seems that, once more, the old principle holds true:
order to communicate we are supposed to use the interlocutor's own terms and
language. And remember that terms such as "$", "cost-efficiency", "class time",
"school grades" seem to be the central to the lexicon of most administrators. We
believe that SW may help us with those also, and that it would be up to us to
to demonstrate that that is the case, or to remain for ever feeling like
beyond our time, preaching in the desert to the majority of disbelievers).

(Of course we also wonder just how linguistically fascinating would be analyzing
relationships holding among sign morphology and syntax, SW shapes, written
language morphology and syntax, and comparing those relationships in different
language pairs (ASL-English, BrSL-Portuguese, etc).)

We know there's a shining rainbow out there, but for now we just have got to go
through this cold rain. Raincoat, rainboots, umbrella, boat, anyone?

No need to reply to this. That was just another pair of cents.


PS: I would like to know if the colleagues know of an international scientific
periodical on Psychology, Education, Linguistics, Speech-Language Pathology,
Literacy, Cognitive Development, Neuropsychology, Special Education, etc., that
might accept studies (whether empirical, experimental, or theoretical) on
SignWriting. I would appreciate very much receiving some references, should the
colleagues be so kind as to help me with that. In addition, we might ask why
limit ourselves to eventual articles scattered in periodicals not devoted
specifically to SW and deaf education. Why begging for space in generic
periodicals? Why not having our very own official SW vehicle? Perhaps some
colleagues in the US, Canada, Europe or Australia (perhaps some other country
a strong tradition in publication) might want to start an international
specifically devoted to publishing papers on SignWriting (and its relationships
with topics such as sign language acquisition, literacy acquisition, cognitive
development, deaf culture, sign language impairment in neurological damage,
anthropology, speech-language pathology, school performance, etc. to name but a
few areas). When such a periodical (preferably in printed paper) is created
(pardon my ignorance, should there be already such a periodical), I think we
certainly draw the attention of more and more instructors and scientific
researchers, gather research and application funds from scientific and
agencies, start international cooperative research efforts, reach high and
consolidated scientific credibility and status, have our own international
biannual meetings sponsored by both government and educational-consulting
companies (which might advertise their products for deaf education in the
periodical as well - ISAAC is perhaps a good role-model), and thence convince
policy-makers to give SW a serious try in the deaf school system. Frequently
outstanding achievements have humble but solid beginnings, and I do think our
dedicated periodical would be just what we needed to go beyond at this point in
time. (Again, I sincerely and humbly apologize for my ignorance. There must be a
periodical that already does that even at local levels, and here I am babbling
about reinventing the wheel... In that case I apologize again and would
receiving some references.) That was just another cent. Fernando.


  Replies Author Date
3073 Brazilian Sign Language Dictionary Valerie Sutton Tue  3/14/2000
3077 Re: (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-ques Susanne Bentele Tue  3/14/2000
3115 Re: (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-ques Valerie Sutton Thu  3/16/2000
3103 Re: (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-ques Valerie Sutton Wed  3/15/2000
3104 Research Periodical Specifically devoted to SW? Valerie Sutton Wed  3/15/2000
3105 Re: (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-ques Valerie Sutton Wed  3/15/2000
3122 Re: (just a brief progress report, and a "PS-ques Stefan Woehrmann Fri  3/17/2000

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