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From:  Charles Butler
Date:  Fri Jan 1, 1999  5:12 pm
Subject:  Re: Yeow!

Joe Martin wrote:
> Thank you Bill! I was hoping somebody would jump on that Chinese thing. A
question is--can you write Sign languae in Chinese characters? (I know, its a
weird question, but linguists are like that)

It's not a bad question at all. I have heard from a Tibetan Buddhist
friend of mine that Tibetan Monastery Sign Language may have formed some
of the basis for Chinese calligraphy, precisely because Tibetan monks
formed the backbone of the court system and wished a way to write ideas
down which would not be based upon any one of the many Chinese
dialects. Instead, they wrote the language of the monastery, Tibetan
sign language, and taught scribes the assignment of various
"pronunciations" of the characters. Mandarin is not Cantonese is not
Han, but they all use the same "character" meaning "horse".

The Tibetan sign language shapes follow the hands as they move in
actually writing some of the characters. Whenever I have given an
overview of Sign Writing, I have used that as an example, saying, "don't
anyone ever tell you that a civilization cannot be built on a written
language which is not a spoken one -- Chinese has been doing it for over
4000 years".

  Replies Author Date
824 Re: Yeow! Bill Reese Thu  1/7/1999
825 Re: Yeow! Bill Reese Thu  1/7/1999
867 Re: Yeow! esam gadallah Tue  1/12/1999
875 Egyptian Sign Language Valerie Sutton Thu  1/14/1999

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