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From:  Fernando Capovilla
Date:  Fri Oct 9, 1998  5:10 pm
Subject:  Re: SW-L Digest - 7 Oct 1998 to 8 Oct 1998

Dear Valerie,
Thank you so very much for your generous incentive and your precious
inspiring clues!
You are definitely right! Klima & Bellugi wrote about the important place of
mime and gesture in the signing flow in SL as a
powerful resource for storytelling (much more powerful than the metaphors and
other "figures of speech" of spoken languages).
Incidentally, that was beautifully illustrated by Gilbert Eastman (in his
precious book From mime to sign).
So you are beautifully right, once more! Thanks! We're going to write down
storytelling in BrSL using SW instead of merely
translating books in SL and then writing them down via SW. I still have some
thinking to do about how to operationalize that.
I wonder if that would entail some work on the cultural anthropology of BrSL in
order to raise stories that are naturally told
by deaf parents to their deaf kids. That would be nice (Grimm bros. did it, why
can't we?), but that would entail a lot of
hard hard work. Do you think that simply asking native signers to read stories
and then tell their own way would suffice for a
beginning? That would be quite simpler in the initial stages. Perhaps they would
need some training in new stories. They might
tell stories in groups over and over, taking turns as expressive and receptive
signers. That would guarantee deep processing,
thus increasing the chances that only the essential features of the stories
would be retained and become essential parts of
each tale). Of course, mime and pantomime would be most important in creating
the atmosphere of fantasy and enchantment
typical of good theatre. Gee! I think that would be a great success of public!
As with any true language, SL is mostly arbitrary (that helps to explain why
it is so hard to learn and differs from
region to region, etc.). SW, however, is mostly analogical (that helps to
explain why it may be used to record SL universally,
as well as mime, pantomime, gesture, dance...). When hearing parents discover
that their kids are deaf, and they start
gettinmg involved in learning SL as a resource for conversing with their kids,
some of them may feel frustrated by the
difficulty involved (in Brazil this typically happens, because there is no
systematic teaching of SL for hearing parents of
deaf kids). That is where I think SW could be helpful too. If the story books in
BrSL are recorded in SW, parents who are just
learning SL may use SW as a support for rehearsing SL story telling when
preparing to tell stories to their kids. They don't
have to enroll in an extensive training in SL before starting to use it to
interact with their toddlers. They can start
engaging in linguistic games right away! That is SW is an instrument to support
SL acquisition. We're talking about the impact
of SW in SL acquisition by adult parents, and in its impact on the betterment of
the quality of interactions between parents
and their kids. Great!
I'll look for Lopes Neto's (1994) dissertation, and for Dr. Garcia at the
School of Communication and Art at the U. of Sao
Paulo. But what really fascinated me was the work done by your student, Valerie,
who recorded classic mime (Marcel Marceau)
using mimewriting. We could really use this important work in our books written
in SW on storytelling in BrSL! Where was it
published? How can we order it? Do you thing the Deaf mime Billy Krahl would be
able to prepare an illustration of her work
that can be seen by the SW-L members? Perhaps someone might want to use
Eastman's book From Mime to Sign as a starting point
to illustrate how to use the writing system for drammatic impact in theater and
storytelling. It is a delightful book!
With great affection, Fernando Capovilla :-)

  Replies Author Date
427 SignWriting Literacy Project Valerie Sutton Mon  10/12/1998
429 Writing SW Literature Valerie Sutton Tue  10/13/1998
430 Recording Mime With SW Valerie Sutton Tue  10/13/1998
455 Re: Recording Mime With SW Valerie Sutton Tue  10/20/1998
456 Re: Recording Mime With SW Mark Penner Tue  10/20/1998
478 Re: Recording Mime With SW Valerie Sutton Fri  10/23/1998

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