Date: Wed Jan 6, 1999 2:05
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: bye-bye lingual
I want to thank Carlos; before reading his post I hadn't realized that
some of the confusion could be because people mean different things by the
1. Knowing/using two separate languages (my "literal" meaning)
2. the educational model that uses two languages side by
side--(in Carlos' meaning)--in this case a signed language and
a national, spoken language.
Neither of these has anything *directly* to do with Signwriting;
they are about knowing/learning--Signwriting is to do with writing, which
is another topic.
And what you write *IN is something else besides. For instance, Japanese
in its written form uses four different scripts. Faced with a Japanese
word, you can choose to write it with a Chinese character for the whole
word, or you can sound it out and write one symbol for each
syllable--there are two separate sets of these syllable symbols---or you
can write it out in our English alphabet letters.
Reference was made to writing a language "in its own script." Well, if
such a thing existed, what would be the script of Japanese? Or, are all
Japanese bi-bilingual because they know all these different ways of
writing? As far as that goes, you can sit down and invent an alphabet
in about ten minutes; then you can use it to write English or whatever.
Doesn't make you bilingual.
What you CAN do is write pretty much any spoken language in any writing
system (alphabet or syllable-signs ).
What you CAN'T do is write a signed language in any of those same
You can't write English in Signwriting, and you can't
write ASL in the English alphabet. There are good solid linguistic reasons
why not--but since most people don't even know what linguistics IS, all
you can say is that ....well, what I just said, I guess; to write signed
languages, you have to have a different TYPE of writing system.
Which SignWriting is.
Joe Martin (^_^)