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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Oct 7, 1998  6:07 am
Subject:  WEB ARTICLE: Interview Prince Aziz

You can access this article on the SignWriting Web Site at:

Denny Voreck interviews
Prince Abdul Aziz Al-Obaid
from Saudi Arabia

Hello, I'm Denny Voreck, and this is my name sign, "Denny": (diagram).

In today's interview, we will be discussing the topic "the Deaf Community
and Deaf Linguistics". Now, our guest with us today is an individual by the
name of Abdul Aziz Al-Obaid, and this is his name sign "Aziz": (diagram).

And he's with us from Saudi Arabia. And this is the sign for Saudi Arabia:
(diagram) because it represents the type of headdress that they wear.

Our guest is sitting right here next to me. Ok, I'd like to start off by
asking your thoughts on the American Deaf Community, Deaf Culture, and Deaf

I have done a lot - For 10 years I have not been working, but instead I've
traveled around the world.

From what I've seen - The Americans seem more fascinated and absorbed with
the Deaf Community, and with anything having to pertain to the Deaf,
especially with the hot issues and discussions dealing with the intricacies
and complexities of the language of ASL. It's impressive to see how the
interest in all of this has persisted even up till now, and including of
late the issue of SignWriting, of which I've come across this past month.

Well, welcome to America. Now, you mentioned SignWriting. So, I'm
interested in what your thoughts and feelings are about this SignWriting

Well, I think it's another sign or example of growth of the "Deaf
Identity". Similar to what has occurred with other ethnic groups in America.

Thank you. All right, I would now like to ask your opinion on how we can
get SignWriting to be officially recognized by the governments and deaf
educational institutions, and as a part of linguistics? Also, what about
in your educational institutions in Saudi Arabia?

Well, I think it has to happen at the governmental level. What I mean, is
that, if the people involved in politics and the rest of the American
people accept and view the Deaf as being like any other "ethnic entity",
then, and only then, will it be recognized and accepted by the governments.

Now, with regards to the educational institutions - I think you have to
begin the change with the politics in America. And then you'll be able to
bring about an acceptance among the various systems of education in America.

Ok, so when SignWriting is finally accepted and recognized by the you envision SignWriting beginning to blossom and flourish
and succeed to the extent, that perhaps by the year 2000, it will be used
in the various institutions all-over and perhaps internationally?

Well, I think for any idea to take root, you have to start with the place
or community from which it is stemming. Once you have it growing and
blossoming there, then you can begin to have it spread and flourish
throughout the rest of the nation.

So when SignWriting does grow and proliferate through literature and as a
writing system, what similarities would then take place, such as what
happened with your language, the Arabic language? Would you please expound
as to what has happened historically with Arabic.

Sure. Really what has happened historically with SignWriting is pretty
comparable to what the Arabic language has experienced over the years to
become a very strong and enduring language. You see, in the beginning, the
Arabic language started off as a spoken language only, without having a
written component to it. Quite similar to ASL today, where it is a
manual-visual language without a written form. Once a written form was
established, then Arabic was able to become a truly rich and fruitful
language. The situation today is no less similar for the Deaf. Where our
language is spoken or communicated only through signing, it doesn't have a
written form as of yet. So in order for the language of the Deaf to truly
become a rich and prosperous language it needs the written form.

You make a good point there. I can't argue with that. So now I would like
to ask you, how do you foresee SignWriting being transmitted? Through the
vehicle of huge bound volumes, or through the use of computers, via print
or electronically? Exactly what do you envision happening with SignWriting
in the future?

Well, I envision that in the future it will reach its highest potential
indeed. SignWriting will experience tremendous growth and popularity in
its usage. Just like for the hearing peoples in England and in France, both
populations have very strong and powerful organizations because in France,
they have the spoken French, and they have the dictionaries for the written
French, and the literature etc. And in England they have the same thing
for the same reasons. So in my opinion I foresee that the same powerful
growth will happen for the Deaf worldwide through the popularity and use of

Thank you very much for your thoughts about this. For your information,
there is already an organization established for SignWriting. It is the
Deaf Action Committee, or the DAC for short, and it has been in existence
since 1984. So we want to thank you for interviewing with us, and we really
appreciate you being here today!

Valerie :-)


Visit the SignWritingSite:

Valerie Sutton at The DAC
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
(619)456-0098 voice
(619)456-0010 tty
(619)456-0020 fax

  Replies Author Date
412 New SW History Video Valerie Sutton Wed  10/7/1998

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