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From:  Carlos Thompson
Date:  Tue Jan 5, 1999  5:15 pm
Subject:  Re: Bilingualism & SignWriting

Lourdes Tollette wrote:

> Carlos,
> Yes, You right.. That what I am trying to think how to say to people. I
> knew Bilingualism is not the same Signwriting. It same way like speaking
> spanish and writing spanish. It is same way sign languege and sign languege
> writing (signwriting).
> For example: Deaf people know sign languege and signwriting in english and
> also know sign languege and signwriting in spanish then they are called
> Bilingualism. Because both are different languege.

Well... A Deaf could know American Sign Language and SignWriting in ASL. I
wouldn't call it SignWriting in English due to the differences between English
and ASL. If the same person can also write in English s/he will be Bilingual,
at least in written abilities.

If this person know nothing about English, but speaks/signs in LSC (Colombian
Sign Language) too will also be Bilingual.

What I think the original question that was sent to Valerie is about the theory
and line of action that has been working many Deaf communities in USA, Sweden
and other countries (not shure about Colombia):
It begins when the Signed Language is recognized as the first language for
Deaf people, and it is promoted for them to lear a language using the SL (ASL,
BSL, STS, LSC, etc.)
When the Deaf children can comunicate in SL, then they are tought to read and
write in the spoken language they live in, and probably to mouthly speak in
that language. Because English, Swedish and Spanish are different languages
than ASL, BSL, STS and LSC, they become Bilingual.
This way the SL will be the Deaf's first language while the spoken language
would be the Deaf's second language.

The movements that promote this course of action are called Bilingualism
(capital B) and is different of how things were done before when Signing were
forbiden and the only language a deaf person should learn was the spoken
language of the country they lived in.

The role of SW in Bilingualism is that SW could enforce SL learning, giving
Deaf people a "more complete"* language because they could have writen
literature, between other things. It is also probably that for any person is
easy to learn to write and read in their own language before learning to write
and read in a foreign language, then SW could help for Deaf children to learn
to read and write before they learn how to read and write in English, Swedish,
Spanish or whatever.

* Obs: A language isn't less complete because it lacks of a writing system. It
doesn't means that a writing system is superfluous.

> Lourdes

Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzon
ITEC-Telecom, Colombia

  Replies Author Date
812 Re: Bilingualism & SignWriting Valerie Sutton Wed  1/6/1999

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