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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Fri Dec 28, 2001  6:32 am
Subject:  Re: ZURICH: Facial Expressions

SignWriting List
December 27, 2001

ZURICH project wrote:
>>>In our Zurich project, we are at this point making SignWriting
>>>notations of mouth gestures but not of mouthings. So I guess part
>>>of my concern in my previous email was that for non-native
>>>signers, it might be difficult to distinguish between what's a
>>>mouthing and what's a mouth gesture in a foreign sign language
>>>(and hence, what needs to be notated and what not).

Well of course, you are right, if the goal is to do linguistic
analysis, that may be true...And I certainly could not make such
decisions myself, since I do not know the language...

I guess it all depends on the purpose of your document...If Deaf
children and adults read the story of Noah in German-Swiss Sign
Language, directly, without the translation of another language, as
true readers in a language do...then they probably won't stop and say
to themselves "Is that a mouth gesture or mouthing?". More likely, a
Deaf child will want to know the end of the story about Noah...I bet
they will read the signs real fast, to find out the ending!

So from my experience anyway, facial expressions give the feeling of
the signing, without "getting in the way". They are pleasant and
helpful, without being hard to read. Most Deaf people read the facial
expressions faster than anything else...If the person mouths, they
will read it as it looks. If the person does a mouth gesture, they
will read that too...just as they would if they were in a real
conversation with someone...

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton


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