|SignWriting List Forum|
"Judy A. Kegl" |
Date: Fri Jan 11, 2002 6:51 pm
Subject: Re: Questions for a Notation Comparisons Study
Just to weigh in on this...
In my opinion, at some point, speed is irrelevant. For example, if Johnny
takes 60 seconds to copy a paragraph in English, and Suzy does the same job
in 55 seconds, then obviously nobody would care about the difference. On
the other hand, if Suzy were to take 30 minutes to perform the same task,
then I guess that would be a difference of some significance. (We are
talking just copying here, not composing.)
Chinese does take longer, on balance, than English (I would speculate), and
English print takes longer than English cursive -- which takes substantially
longer than English stenographic notation, but so what?
But, when you compare across languages, it all becomes more complicated. I
can write D-O-G faster than Pedro can write P-E-R-R-O, but then his Y is
quicker than my A-N-D. I suspect the Inuit term for "granulated snowflake"
is much shorter than the English phrase.
In Nicaraguan Sign Language, it takes me longer to Signwrite "mountain" than
to write the same word in English, but I can SignWrite "He walked up to the
top of the mountain" faster than I can print the same sentence in English.
On the other hand, I can type the same sentence in English on my computer
keyboard faster than I can write it in SW. As a bi-lingual who is familiar
with the use of the SignWriter glossary, I can type this sentence in SW
pretty damned fast. Faster than English? Probably not, but fast enough.
The journey is not a race. The goal is to get to the destination.
I have not encountered a single Deaf Nicaraguan who can get to that
destination (the ability to access complex information or to express
sophisticated concepts in print) by reading or writing Spanish. Deaf
Nicaraguans who can SignWrite have achieved literacy. There are not many of
them, and their exists a paucity of material to read -- but that's another
-- James Shepard-Kegl
>From: Valerie Sutton
>To: SignWriting List
>Subject: Re: Questions for a Notation Comparisons Study
>Date: Fri, Jan 11, 2002, 11:37 AM
>>>Susanne Bentele wrote:
>>Is a writing fluency obtained or does it take MUCH longer to write a
>>sign in SW than an average word in roman letter? (NOT in SW
>>shorthand!) That's it for now - maybe i'll have more questions
>>later. Deadline...? asap... :-/Best, Susanne
>January 11, 2002
>Val's answer: YES! Writing fluency is obtained!
>Speed of writing is EQUIVALENT. Skilled Signwriters are neither
>slower nor faster than skilled English or German writers.
>In my terminology, a "roman letter" is NOT equivalent to a "sign".
>For me, a "word" is compared to a "sign", but a "roman letter" is
>compared to a "SW symbol". And writing an "a" from the roman
>alphabet, or writing a "hand with an index finger" is equivalent in
>speed for many SignWriting users...
>So SignWriting, for "skilled Signwriters", is as fast to write as
>writing a spoken language is, for someone skilled in spoken language.
>If you are not skilled in SignWriting yourself, of course you would
>assume that it is slower, because you are not skilled enough to make
>the comparison. Chinese can look frightening if you do not know
>We do not have scientific studies to prove any of this, one way or
>the other...I am only telling you from my experience with
>individuals. We need to study more students, over longer periods of
>time, to really know.
>In your notation comparison, be sure to explain that there are many
>ways to write SignWriting, just as there are in spoken languages...
>1. Typing SignWriting compared to typing English.... (speed depends
>on the software design)
>2. Writing perfect SignWriting symbols by hand (called Block Letters)
>compared to trying to write perfect English letters by
>hand...EQUIVALENT in speed in my experience
>3. Writing SignWriting Shorthand compared to writing English
>shorthand....I am not skilled in English shorthand so I cannot make
>I hope this helps, Susanne. I just received a comparison of notation
>systems written in Spanish, from Spain...they compared HamNoSys with
>SignWriting I believe, and I have been given permission to post it on
>the web, but I haven't gotten to that yet -
>If you have further questions, please post them to the SignWriting
>List, since I put List messages first, and private messages second -
>Good luck with your project!!
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