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From:  Bill Reese
Date:  Wed Jul 5, 2000  4:39 pm
Subject:  Re: Lucky

Less "difficulty" learning a language?!? I'm still not sure of the
intracicies of the English language. When people start talking about "past
participles" my eyes glaze over. ;-)

I'm not a linguist but let me make an attempt here at understanding a part of
language. :-)

There are many, many, many rules and associated exceptions of a language. If
we were to base our command of the language on knowledge of them many of us
would be woefully lacking. And yet they remain, for some people to understand
and define and for others as an exercise in using questions like, "What?",
"Huh?", "Who?", "Do you speak English?"

If we wait for a signed language to be defined commonly by those who use it
will we ever see a "past participle?" While I could study English a little
more now and more accurately define how I am using it, would the same hold
true of my ASL if I were to base my study on how it's commonly used without
using ASL concepts outside of that common usage?

I believe that we need to define that usage with the very same language by
using signs specifically designed for that definition. There is definitely a
need for rules and exceptions, an encompassing dictionary that defines
commonly, widely used signs as well as the signs used to define the signs, ad
nauseum. ;-)

How else, then, could a sign linguist, using his own signed language, learn or
speak of his language with other signed linguists without any intermediatary

What I would like to see would be an all-inclusive sign dictionary in
signwriting that would allow me not only to obtain a command of that language
but also the understanding and study of it, the same way spoken language
dictionaries do it now. The issue of variations should not be an exception to
using a dictionary but a reason for it, if nothing more to simply understand
that it is a variation and how it varies from a more widely used sign.

My two centavos.

Bill Reese
Little ol' commoner

"Angus B. Grieve-Smith" wrote:

> That definitely seems to be what's going on. But there will
> always be signs that aren't in the dictionary - regional signs, slang,
> intricate classifier descriptions, etc. And it's not a good idea for
> people to continue going through a spoken-language intermediary (the
> dictionary) indefinitely.
> Eventually, people will have to learn all the details of creating
> SignWriting. I'll bet that part of the difference between us writing
> signs and writing spoken-language words is that we learned to write spoken
> languages as children. Probably those children that are learning
> SignWriting right now, like Fernando and Irina, will have less
> difficulty...
> --
> -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
> Linguistics Department
> University of New Mexico
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Name: lucky2.gif
> lucky2.gif Type: GIF Image (IMAGE/gif)
> Encoding: BASE64

  Replies Author Date
3753 Re: Lucky Angus B. Grieve-Smith Wed  7/5/2000

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