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From:  James Womack
Date:  Thu May 14, 1998  12:26 pm
Subject:  Re: Language History and Imperialism (Was: Standardization of ASL)

On Wed, 13 May 1998 15:22:00 -0500 "Karlin, Ben"
>bettibonni wrote in answer to -- I forget who -- sorry:

>I also have mixed feelings about it but don't spend much time worrying
>about it. English, for example, has had written forms for centuries
>but standardization of English is fairly recent.

English isn't standardized. If you venture among the various ethnic
groups of the USA, you will find many instances where the rules are
"broken" when compared to what scholars say English is supposed
to be as opposed to what people make it in real life. That's the way
it always was, that's the way it always will be. So these folks who
run around with an "The language bible sats. . . ." don't have a clue.

> Even still, although we value "standardization" in this current age,
most language-bound
>communities do not go to the lengths of establishing an Academie which
>rules on appropriate usage.

Oh, we have it, but sort of unofficially. It is usually confined to the
and higher education centers. It's that way because even they know that
trying to impose this on the masses is a waste of time.

> Growing up I remember reading the Chicago
>Tribune which had a wacky campaign to standardize spelling: Thru for
>through, etc etc. It still is the one voice in the wilderness. Let's
>not confuse self-expression, writing, literacy and standardization as
>the same thing

And that's why you're right on the money when you say you have
mixed feelings but don't spend much time worrying about it. It
isn't worth the neural impulses.

>BB> Somehow I get the feeling that ASL (or any signed language) is an
>inferior language and the purpose of any teaching technique would be to
>master a spoken language?
>BB> Or did I read all this wrong?

It's not inferior as no language is inferior to another. But we
will always have ego-centric people who insist on that and
things of that nature. When it coems to Deaf Education, we
have our versions of Nazis, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam,
and so forth, they are called Audists.

>I suggest you read it wrong. While this group seems more attuned to
>catching the implications that Deaf people are inferior to Hearing and
>Deaf Language is inferior to Hearing Language, I hope this will be one
>spot where we never duke it out on those issues. My reading is that
>since many children learn to read their own language by learning to
>associate certain arbitrary symbols with meanings (concepts, right?)
>that allowing Deaf children to do the same will give them a leg up on
>learning other / foreign / spoken-written / hearing languages. It
>will also allow them to learn other / foreign sign languages, won't it.

Right on the money again.

  Replies Author Date
74 linguists Joe Martin Thu  5/14/1998

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