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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Fri Mar 8, 2002  3:05 pm
Subject:  Re: Is SignWriting really a writing system?

SignWriting List
March 8, 2002

This is so well described, Angus. Thanks for sharing the story about
Stokoe being compared to Chinese...I always thought that SignWriting
was compared to Chinese because we wrote down in columns, but now I
can see people can use that comparison whenever writing is
"different" or "confusing"...

The comparison to hieroglyphics does have a negative implication
hidden underneath... it feels like they are saying that writing
visually is "unsophisticated"....or that because heiroglpyphics is no
longer used on a daily basis, it somehow "was not good enough"...

But...having said all that...the real issue is that people have
trouble accepting new things immediately - it takes time to digest a
new idea and think about it a little...we have all felt that inner
resistence against something new...I know I felt that about the
internet, back in the 1990's, when I was first introduced to
it....and look at me now...I live on the internet - ha! ;-))

Val ;-)


Angus wrote:
> The ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics as a daily writing system
>for hundreds of years, so why wouldn't anyone want to use a system like
>it? How is SignWriting like hieroglyphics anyway?
> I got a similar response when I showed Stokoe notation to an ASL
>instructor once. He said something like "That looks like Chinese." I
>don't think he knew anything more about Chinese than Judy's student knows
>about hieroglyphics. It's a way of saying, "This doesn't look like
>anything I've seen before, and it confuses me, and I don't like it."
> How you deal with that attitude once it's explicit is another
>story, of course...
> -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
> Linguistics Department
> University of New Mexico

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