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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Sun Mar 18, 2001  4:51 pm
Subject:  Re: your mail

On Mon, 12 Mar 2001, PATSY VAN ANDEL wrote:

> I write children's stories and songs (though not yet published) and
> would really like to learn to write them in sign writing. I have
> contacted the Dutch Sign Language Institue and requested information
> on getting started learning Dutch sign language. I would also like to
> learn American sign language.

Hi Patsy! One thing you should be aware of is that it is very
difficult to learn any second language well enough to be able to write
publishable-quality materials. Just think of all the laughs that we get
from reading instruction manuals written by non-native English speakers!

I know many hearing people who have years of contact with their
country's Deaf community and are fluent in the language, but do not feel
comfortable producing works for publication in the language. They would
never consider writing anything in a language signed in another country
that they've never had a conversation in.

That said, I'd really like to see more literature published in
signed languages (my personal preference would be travel essays or science
fiction in ASL, but children's stories are nice).

My suggestion would be to find a native speaker of ASL or Signed
Language of the Netherlands to collaborate with. That way you'd be sure
that what you're writing is fluent and understandable, but you'd still
have an opportunity to express yourself.

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

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