|SignWriting List Forum|
"Judy A. Kegl" |
Date: Mon Jan 7, 2002 4:22 pm
Subject: Re: Secret Life
Hi, Valerie, et al.,
I just received my complimentary copy of Richard Restak, M.D., THE SECRET
LIFE OF THE BRAIN, and I can only assume that you were issued a free copy,
Why, oh why, do editors refuse to submit drafts to their purported sources?
For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, this scholarly text
features two photos of a Deaf Nicaraguan child signing, with a chalkboard
covered in SW in the background (these photos also appear on the SW
website.) The article describes the emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language,
and more or less gets it right. The minor errors are bound to irk a few, so
please understand that I AM INNOCENT! First, this book says that the
Escuelita de Bluefields is "the national school for the deaf". I wish --
then we wouldn't be absolutely dependent upon private donations. Second,
the article says that ISN (Nicaraguan Sign Language) is used by more than
800 deaf signers in Bluefields. Actualy, I'd say about maybe 40 signers in
Bluefields would be more like it; 800 is the national figure with most
signers living in the capital city of Managua -- which is also where the
public school system for Deaf children is located, and where the language
actually emerged. Details, details.
Finally, while not definitively, one could surmise from the text that
SignWriting is the innovation of the Escuelita de Bluefields. Should I take
a bow? -- or duck for cover....
The text concludes: "The experience has convinced Judy Kegl that both the
ability to invent language -- and a driving need to communicate -- are built
into the human brain." This is, afterall, the point of the article and,
indeed, the correct moral of the story. The errors, then, are in some
background details. We should be grateful for the big picture and, sigh, we
ought to be tolerant of the "trivial"(??) mistakes.
-- James Shepard-Kegl
Ps, Anyway, the two pictures are wonderful.