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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Nov 4, 1998  5:19 pm
Subject:  Phonetic-Phonemic

On Mon, 2 Nov 1998, Ulrike Zeshan wrote:
>But here comes my real issue now. I don't think that more or less
>iconicity in sign writing is an issue that challenges anything. What *is*
>the real issue in my opinion is in how far any sign language writing
>system is phonetic or phonemic.

>Let me explain what I mean by this: my point of view is based on my
>research on sign languages in India and Pakistan, which have so far not
>been researched at all as far as their grammar is concerned. If I wanted
>to apply sign writing to this 'new' sign language, what would I have to
>do? I could of course start right away and use the symbols to describe the
>sign as I see it (maybe I would need a few more particular handshapes
>etc). But wouldn't I put in too much information that is, strictly
>speaking, unnecessary?
>Ulrike Zeshan
>University of Cologne

November 4, 1998

Good Morning Everyone!
I have been having computer woes - my one computer is not working well and
I need to take it to the "computer hospital"...That is why I have not been
responding quickly to email....

In regards to writing new signed languages, Ulrike, we do it all the time
and with success too. may need new handshapes, which I can
provide for you. And yes, if a signed language has not been researched yet,
of course there will be questions as to what to write and what not to write.

I would suggest that you "take the risk" and try! Let us imagine that you
write too much information in a sign...later...when you read the sign
again, or when you show it to others, you will find this out...and then you
can improve the writing of that sign. In other words, you cannot know until
you try.

We are still going through this process writing signed languages such as
ASL too...we write as we feel it, and then place the document before
people. We find out through trial and error what works and what doesn't

Our DAC will be starting a new SignWriting Transcription Service. Because
we are low in funds, we must charge for the service. I will be posting
information about this new service shortly. People can send us videotapes
of signed languages, and we can transcribe signs for you. So we could start
writing some of the Pakistani or Indian signed languages from videotape.
That might get you started, and from there you could continue the work on
your own.

I would guess that by struggling to write these signed languages, you will
learn more about the languages themselves. In a way, the writing of the
languages, might speed your research process.

All the best -

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

  Replies Author Date
542 question Joe Martin Wed  11/4/1998

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