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From:  Stuart Thiessen
Date:  Fri Mar 8, 2002  4:45 pm
Subject:  Re: Is signwriting really a writing system?

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Parvaz
Sent: Friday, 08 March 2002 9:20
Subject: Re: Is signwriting really a writing system?

Not having an alphabetic script has not prevented the development of various kinds of technology and impressive engineering feats (explosives, the Great Wall of China, pyramids, medical traditions, astronomy), mass communication (the printing press), World-level religious and philosophical systems (Confuscianism, Taoism, and the heavy influence in much of Christianity from the cults of Isis and Osiris), or highly developed civilizations.
I would differ with your assumption about the influence of Isis and Osiris on Christianity, but your linguistic point is well taken.  I fail to see that "heavy influence" you mention and I have been studying Christianity for years.  At any rate, the point that a non-alphabetic script does not retard development of advanced civilization is undoubtedly valid.  I'm sure a Chinese or Egyptian might think (or have thought) that their logographic systems were more efficient than an alphabetic script.  I am not sure having not spoken with a Chinese or Egyptian to see their thoughts <SMILE>.  It seems to me that you simply exchange one set of efficiencies for another.
My experience with the objections to SignWriting has been that most people are simply reacting to an initial perception of complexity.  Once they begin to work through the symbols (if they are open-minded), they begin to get excited about it.  I have also noted that deaf people who struggle with English are more excited about this than deaf people who feel competent in English.  I honestly believe that those who struggle with English would do much better with English once they have a written context from which to master English.  Perhaps those who have learned English well feel they won't get a return on their investment in learning written SL like they can from mastering English.
I believe a lot of these objections might disappear once there are sufficient body of literature that they can actually read and that actually helps them in some area of their lives.
Just a thought.
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