Date: Fri Mar 8, 2002 2:45
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Is SignWriting really a writing system?
Reposting, since the computer I was on had its calendar off-kilter (it
was the '70s all over again!)
A slightly more smart-alecky reply to the question is, "No, SignWriting
is really a fish sandwich; it just *looks* like a writing system." :-)
We now return you to your message...
This looks like some sort of alphabetic prejudice. Certain folks -- some
with impressive scholarly credentials in areas unrelated to
linguistics -- give alphabets credit for everything from the
technological revolution in Europe to the demise of earth- and
goddess-centered religious traditions. It's all rubbish, of course. One
billion Chinese, and millions of Japanese and (South)
Koreans use a non-alphabetic script, and use it to great advantage, with
high literacy rates.
Whether SW is pictographic or ideographic, or even alphabetic is beside
the point. It is a way of representing SLs, and so far the only one I
know of with any kind of following in any Deaf community anywhere.
Whether it's the best or most favored or "real" system is a question
best left to posterity. After all, Greeks don't write in Linear B, nor
Germans in runes, nor Tajiks in Cyrillic.