forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  James Womack
Date:  Wed Mar 15, 2000  9:32 am
Subject:  Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

Charles Butler wrote:
> Folks, if you write fingerspelling, you are in fact wrting English in Sign
> Writing. No matter how you slice it, you have taken the English alphabet,
> an orthographic system for writing sounds and represented it in handshapes.
> Those handshapes when strung together form English words, ergo, that IS a
> Sign Written form of English. People, get over it, Sign Writing is a
> writing form, not English, nor ASL, nor anything else, it writes human
> motion.

True up to a point. However, fingerspelling is not signing,
its representation in SW is not SW. It might have to be given
anew name like
Fingerspelling Writing (FW). You see signs require that several
things occur.
Thehands must be associated with proper position, motion, shape,
all of which are
often accompanied by facials and body language. Combined, these
denote entire
concepts, just as a spoken term denotes a word as opposed to a
single letter.
Fingerspelling is the representation of single letters in which
finger (not hand)
motion and shape is essential but hand position is static.

> Signed English, when used as signed English in classroom situations does
> approximate English. The sentence given,

Approximate, I'll buy, "is English" I'll sell at a loss.

> Don't say that one cannot create a Manual English that uses signs as
> concepts where they exist, and uses fingerspelling when they do not. That
> is FACT, not Political Correctness.

Why not say that, we live in a country of free speech. Nobody
said we have
to be right about what we say.

> Sign Writing is a writing system which writes human movement, it is NOT ASL.
> One may want to say that English cannot be rendered into movement, but that
> is just plain not true.

You can "can" anything, doesn't mean it won't spoil.

> One may write English, one may write it using Roman letters, fingerspelled
> letters, Hindi sanskrit letters, korean letters, any way you want.

True. Now who would it make sense to? How beneficial would it be?

> Don't confuse the language with the transmission system in which it is
> expressed.

Gotta buy into this. Thanks for a truly informative post.
I enjoyed it.

Squirrel wisdom:
(\__/) .~ ~.))
/O O ./ .'
{O__, \ { Photons have mass!? I didn't know
/ . . ) they were Catholic!
|-| '-' \
( _( )_.'

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