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From:  Joe Martin
Date:  Tue Mar 14, 2000  8:40 pm
Subject:  Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

This thread arose out of our desire to see SW used as a bridge to English.
How can this happen if we insist on forcing teachers to make a choice of
one or the other, by treating SW and English as incompatible? There need
not be a conflict between the two.

My linguistics classes included examples of many different languages;
Spanish, French, and others, including English. My interpreter regularly
signed them all. For those of you who insist that English cannot be
signed, how do you explain this?
How can a teacher communicate English to a deaf student?

Furthermore, if we had transcribed those classes, we would have to write
in SW; we would have French, signed, and written in SW; Spanish, signed,
and written in SW; ASL, signed, and written in SW, and English, signed,
and written in SW.

English can be represented by
the Roman Alphabet,
Gregg shorthand,
IPA transcription,
anything 2 people agree on,
maritime signal flags,
visual-gestural signs,

In the last case, although I know the term "signed english" has already
been taken--for something else--what else can we call this?

Also, Cecelia brought out a good point:
So.. when you use these made up symbols to add the 's to Father, and you


How do you tell the person watching you that THIS time, the sign MINE
means MY and other times it means MINE?

I don't know the answer to this; I assume it is a problem the designers of
SEE and other systems have dealt with. Maybe a special accusative case
marker??? I know that similar polysemy is
common--Chinese /TA/ comes to mind; it is articulated (signed/spoken) the
same for "he" or "her," but the written character is different. The
representation doesn't need to be perfect, as anyone knows who has ever
tried to spell English words.
Finally, word order is kind of immaterial; this example is better;

It total ly stink s.

5 morphemes, 5 signs (written or gestured) to represent it. (The written
ones can be Signwriting.)

Joe Martin, Plain Old Ordinary Student
Top Left Corner USA

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