Date: Fri Mar 15, 2002 10:59
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Is signwriting really a writing system?
March 15, 2002
> By whom? A number of people have used LSM to refer to Mexican
>Sign Language in the past. I'm curious about these "abbreviation
>namespace negotiations" that have been going on. I think that whoever
>named Auslan was on to something. I don't know about Ameslan though...
Hi Angus - Funny you mention the term "Ameslan"...a little like the
term "Libras" for Brazilian Sign Language, or "Auslan" for Australian
Sign Language, I always liked the term "Ameslan" for American Sign
Language, but when I used that term years ago, I was soundly
criticized by Americans, implying that it was not an accepted term.
My argument to them was that the acronym ASL was a concern, because
it easily could be "Austrian Sign Language, and that when we write
English or speak in conversation with each other, we do not say that
we are speaking "ENG" or "EN", we say the full name of the language
"English", so to base a name of an entire language, on the acronym,
was not a good idea - but of course I didn't win that argument!
Meanwhile, regarding acronyms for computer programming, or for
addressing mail etc, the abbreviated terms such as US for America is
used by the post office, and EN for English is used on top of email
messages to indicate accepted languages. BR for Brazil is a good
abbreviation, when it is used on correspondence...but we would never
say that we speak "BR"....that sounds funny - so people still type
out the word Portuguese...not PT....
As you know, we developed abbreviations "SGN-BR" for computer codes
for "Brazilian Sign Language" and "SGN-US" for "American Sign
Language" etc. which are good generic terms for language codes in a
computer program, but those are not the names of languages - they are
simply abbreviations used in some instances...
So I personally believe that Americans and others should realize that
there is a very big world out there, and there is no acronym that can
ever be perfect, since there is bound to be another language
somewhere that would normally take that same acronym...choosing real
names for languages in conversation is best - so I am going to call
ASL "American Sign Language" whevever I can, so that Austrians don't
feel like they are left out (smile, because they are not ;-)
And since both Maltese Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language could
technically be LSM, I think for my purposes I will just type out the
complete names, so that both are given equal status!