forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 71  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Thu May 14, 1998  5:07 pm
Subject:  Re: Returned mail - nameserver error report

I know it's been a little while, but I'd like to take up
something Charles Butler wrote. I would have responded earlier, but
classes have taken up a lot of my time.

Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1998 12:34:25 -0500
From: Charles Butler
To: SignWriting
Subject: Re: Sign Notation Comparisons

> I would like to see a comparison using the same set of concepts
> between Sign Writing and the French system (which I have not yet
> seen) on line to see what each picks up and how intuitive they are
> to the "deaf person off the street" who has seen neither one. Given
> 2 hours of instructions, which will they walk away with being able
> to read a random page of.

Intuitively, this seems like it would be a good measure of the
usefulness of a writing system. However, studies have shown that once
people know a writing system, they tend to memorize images of whole
words, or even sentences. Your "two-hour" test would indicate
something about the ease of learning a system, but once the system is
learned, what is more important is its simplicity (for "sounding out"
(sighting out?) signs, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do
with its iconicity), and how quickly a reader can tell words apart.

One book I found helpful in discussing principles like these

Sampson, Geoffrey. 1985. Writing systems: a linguistic introduction.
London : Hutchinson, 1985.

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
The University of New Mexico

  Message 71  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index