Date: Mon Apr 1, 2002 3:36
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Bible work started
Barney Vega and I just finished another adaptation (The Headless Horseman)
and I will send you a copy shortly. Also, the Portland Press Herald is
running a Sunday feature on our work with SW, among other things, so I will
send that to you, as well.
I don't want you to misunderstand. So far, we are the only ones actually
using SW in Nicaragua. The hearing mother of one of our teachers works very
closely with an evangelical group, and she appreciates the value of SW as a
writing system. She works as a teacher in another school for Deaf in
western Nicaragua, and she wants to learn the system so that she can teach
it to students there. I think this is fantastic, especially as we now have
books for distribution. (No way to pay production costs, but that is
another issue.) I also know that her evangelical group is distributing
Signed English dictionaries that have been published in Spanish, and these
books are entering into the public school system (in what quantity I really
do not yet know.) I have e-mailed this group and they ensure me that they
are using "Nicaraguan Sign Language", but my teacher informs me that this in
fact is NOT the case.
The ability of well funded groups (it is irrelevant whether they have a
spiritual focus or not) to undermine an indigenous sign language must not be
underestimated. Witness the damage in Costa Rica and Uruguay (or so I am
On the other hand, I suppose my own efforts in SW may help to preserve
Nicaraguan Sign Language in the face of an attack by outside groups seeking
to impose Signed English. But, ours is but a small project.
Anyway, my point to the SW group is merely that SW is a two-edged sword, and
must be used responsibly.