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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Mar 26, 2001  5:50 pm
Subject:  Re: German name sign for Ilker...

On 3/26/01, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:

>>>WE all - at least I do - are very eager to learn what you the
>>>inventor of this wonderfull tool has already understood - there
>>>should be the chance within this system to describe even
>>>complicated movements - if we are in need of that !

SignWriting List
March 26, 2001

Hi Stefan - and thanks for this comment. Actually you are unique. Not
every teacher wants to learn Sutton Movement Writing.

Here in the US and Canada, most teachers rely on our inadequate ASL
dictionary that comes with the SignWriter Computer Program. They cut
and paste signs from the dictionary, rather than typing the signs
from scratch....they do not learn to type signs themselves until they
finally can't find a sign in the dictionary!

That had never been my plan in the original design of the computer
program. Of course we have to have a dictionary. But I was
disappointed when I realized how dependent people are on "pasting
from the dictionary".

But you had no dictionary to refer to for German Sign Language,
Stefan, since you are the first to write SignWriting in Germany, so
you learned to write signs from scratch from the beginning.

Someday, after you complete your German Sign Language dictionary, you
will have the same experience in Germany. People will cut and paste
signs from the dictionary, rather than learning to write themselves.

When a person cuts and pastes from the dictionary, they are NOT
writing true American Sign Language or true German Sign Language.
They are placing American signs in a row...but that is not true ASL.
To truly write ASL, facial expressions must be added to most of the
signs, and each facial expression is unique to the sentence, since
facial expressions show the grammar of the language, and they will
change depending on the placement of each sign in the sentence.
Pasting signs also loses body shifting, and does not take into
account all the hundreds of detailed verb conjugations, and different
forms that each sign can take during a true ASL conversation between
two Deaf people.

So "pasting sentences" from the dictionary is better than nothing,
and it is an excellent way to get started, but to truly write good
ASL, we need to videotape Deaf people, and then write exactly what is
said, including facial expressions. Then in about a decade, we will
know enough to be able to teach people how to write the grammer
without video examples...but that time is a long way off.

One great side note to this: The Deaf students seem to be learning to
type in more "Deaf language" than the teachers - and what could be
better? I am sure they can teach us all!

Val ;->


Valerie Sutton


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