Date: Sat Jul 1, 2000 8:25
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: wh-questions
Hi Joe , ;-) (I got it !) and listmembers
I would like to share my experience.
I am very happy. Yesterday I got teaching materials for DGS from the
University of Hamburg.
I couldnīt wait but browse for quite a long time through the materials. They
are a wonderfull source to discuss or to look at some critical issues
concerning DGS. ;-)
Guess what I studied : How to express Yes - No questions versus Wh-
If I would translate it they say :
Yes - No questions
a) eyebrowse up (eyes wide open)
b) head bends slightly forward/down
c) if necessary repeat the subject pronoun
Wh - questions
a) eyebrowse down
b) position of head neutral or slightly up
c) signing a wh- sign
Much to my surprise I read your message this morning dealing with this
question. Itīs kind of a miracle.
I neglectet this important "teeny-weeny phonetic detail" just because I
didnīt realize that as an important part . I guess that I did wrong and
wrote all kinds of questions with eyebrows -up -faces .
But Iīm not disturbed. In contrary your input allows me to keep this in mind
in order to do better !
On the other hand - I guess this is what Valerie declares of not being her
issue. And I can understand. SW doesnīt teach SL. We can write a facial
expression (if we can ,-) ) just the way we see somebody else or imagine
ourselves moving or expressing.
The interesting point to me is that you tried to understand this gif
(spelled eyebrows up ) as a sign - and not as a specific facial expression.
As soon as we switch to reading SL it might become a question of
"appropriate" spelling of a specific sign.
Your input helped to think about "teeny-weeny phonetic details" within DGS.
So it is very worthwhile to develop skills to detect the differences -
Itīs no good to do this job all alone. Iīm soooo gratefull for your
contributions and to learn from your experiences !
----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Martin
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2000 6:55 AM
> Message 2748 in the archives has a gif of the ASL sentence meaning
> "what is your name" written in the signWriting script. It shows raised
> eyebrows accompanying the sentence. I am confused by this.
> ASL--and I believe other signed Languages as well---raises the eyebrows to
> indicate a question that can be answered with a Yes or No
> However for other types of questions--ones that must be answered by giving
> information--the brows are lowered rather than raised. (in English we call
> these Wh-questions)
> So the rule is; Yes-No--brows up; Wh--brows down.
> For this sentence then the brows should be down, not up as shown. I can
> kind of see it being signed either way, I guess. I have wondered what
> other people think about this.
> Joe Martin, Plain Old Ordinary Student
> Top Left Corner USA