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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Mar 14, 2000  3:52 am
Subject:  Re: The View from Ringside

> (another round of cheers and applause)
>May the best argument prevail!
> - Wayne in Maine (plain old ordinary language freak,
> top right corner, U.S.A)


SignWriting List
March 13, 2000

Wayne - this was really cute ;-)))

I have been so busy lately that it has been hard for me to follow all
the messages about English...

But I wonder.... isn't it just that people define the word "English"

It is just a matter of semantics really....

Let me give you an example. What does the word "English" mean?

1. a bunch of sounds that express concepts, uttered by groups of
people in the western world
2. the order of those concepts in a sentence
3. how the sounds change depending on past and present tense!!

So what is English anyway? smile

and if we don't know, how can it be signed? grin

Anyway, as a movement notator back in 1974 I had my first
introduction to the linguistics profession when someone said that a
certain sentence was "signed Danish" and I asked..."How can the
sounds of Danish be put into movement?"

And they looked at me and said..."No, not the sounds! The sounds
don't matter...we are talking about the word order is in
Danish"...that totally confused me until I suddenly realized the

Two spoken languages both use sound to convey because
they "share sounds"...people don't blend "Danish-English" or
"English-Danish" that much, because you can only express one bunch of
sounds at one time.

But one spoken language and one signed language can technically be
produced simultaneously - well - we all know not very well!

But you see my point...that because people can speak and sign at the
same time, they THINK they are using the same language simultaneously
in two different mediums...but actually they are not... because verb
conjugations are so different that - well - signing just isn't
English, even if the signs are placed in English word order.

I think we would find that Deaf people do not get the same
information from an interpreted lecture when it is signed in English
word order...they get more information from ASL...

That is why we are trying to write the best ASL possible, even though
we don't always succeed...

So SignWriting is not language....just as a, b and c are not - and
placing German words in English order would not be writing
English...would it?

Val ;-)

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