forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 824  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Bill Reese
Date:  Thu Jan 7, 1999  5:57 am
Subject:  Re: Yeow!

Ok, that settles it. Let's drop signwriting and just learn Chinese...

Charles Butler wrote:
> 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
> 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".

  Message 824  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index