Date: Mon Apr 1, 2002 10:00
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: sw and writing Signed English
Hello James, Valerie and SignWriting List members,
I feel very astonished to read this comment about "the attack by outside
groups seeking to impose Signed English"
From my point of view SW is a wonderfull invention as a special branch of
the movement writing system . So in the first place it is a tool to write
any movement - does not matter ASL, Signed English - dance or gymnastics -
If people see an advantage to use SW for writing texts and documents in a
Signed Language - then they are welcome to learn to read and especially to
learn to write it.
From my point of view you can not distinguish between good SL-documents and
bad signed language documents (Most of my documents would be bad - ha. But
as a hearing person I do not feel secure enough to offer my "SL-products"
without the assistance of competent deaf signers to my students. On the
other hand - well people - especially hearing people can understand the
principles of SW without too many problems.
I have to admit that German Sign Language is so much better to clarify
things, to express new ideas or to teach new contents. But at school we have
to read and write many German written texts and therefore Signed German =
one word - one sign - is needed as well.
Here in Germany SL has not been used at schools for the Deaf for many , many
years. There are only *very few* teacher for the deaf who are actually
skilled enough to have a conversation with their students in German SL
Signed German - (LBG) on the other hand is very easy to learn for the
hearing teacher and for many parents who find their ways to a sign-supportet
communication with their hard of hearing or deaf children. It is often a
foot in the door.
On the other hand - it is a very big step forward for deaf students to be
able to read texts of the spoken language in SW or GebaerdenSchrift as we
call it here. For the first time we get a tool to improve grammar and
vocabulary dramatically. The students of my 9th class have become experts to
understand all the many difficulties that are connected with spoken German .
On the other hand - I am soooo interested in written documents in DGS as
well. So far I transcribed lots of videos. Creating bilingual materials for
school is on my "would love to get" - list on top.
Written SL - documents are so much better to teach or learn SL as any video.
In Germany more and more competent deaf signer become involved or interested
in GebaerdenSchrift and it will take some time until they will get skilled
enough to contribute their first written documents.
But you know - learning to read SW is so easy - but learning to write is not
! And that is the reason that I am so interested in any kind of spelling
And what about the sword ? I do not understand ! What do you want people
to figure out before they take the risk to read or write their first signs,
sentences, documents ??
If it is only for fun - to experience that you really can write movement -
it should be ok. From my point of view SW is a tool - a writing system -
and therefor you can use it just the way any other writing system has been
used in the past. No new or additional risks ??
All the best
----- Original Message -----
From: "Valerie Sutton"
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: Bible work started
> SignWriting List
> April 1, 2002
> James Kegl wrote:
> >> 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...
> Hi James - Your work, which is written, will last for generations, if
> it is preserved and published. The printed word (or sign ;-) has a
> lot of power in the long run. So if you are writing excellent
> literature, it will have its influence long after we are all gone...
> Meanwhile, the groups using a form of Signed English are not
> necessarily "irresponsible"...they may just be "uneducated" and might
> want very much to be responsible, if they understood the issues
> better...so it may not be a question of choice, but instead a lack of
> All the more reason for your Deaf teachers to visit them and discuss
> this with them - I know politics isn't always so easy, so if this is
> not possible, then your written documents will have to be the
> "teachers" ;-)
> Val ;-)