|SignWriting List Forum|
Charles Butler |
Date: Tue Jan 12, 1999 12:49 am
Subject: Re: Notation Systems
> is obviously used to actually write things down for people to read.
> HamNoSys on the other hand, and other systems too, are aimed more at the
linguistic side of the language. Its main purpose is to transcribe signs in
order to analyse them.
Actually, my personal experience is that I find sign writing to carry a
great deal of linguistic information that I'm sure that HamNoSys does
(not being familiar with it), but that Sign Writing does in a way that
even a person who is not a linguist can understand, precisely because
there is no intrinsic linguistic bias, one is writing what one sees.
Sign Writing started with a raw data bank, Danish Sign Language being
written by a person who did not know sign language at all and therefore
wrote everything down, variants and all. It has been the Deaf
themselves who have helped to strip Sign Writing down to its linguistic
essence, i.e., what are the linguistic necessities that Sign Writing
must convey in ASL, or DSL, or Nicaraguan Sign Language to be understood
Example, in some signs the letter "B" and the "flat palm" are
interchangable in some dialects of ASL, so writing a palm without a B
line is sufficient. In other dialects that single thumb line is
linguistically important. Only users of the language can decide when it
is linguistically important or not, and I'm not sure that HamNoSys or
Stokoe systems would be able to write one or the other without making a
fixed decision as to which the "correct" way is. Sign Writing, because
it does not have a fixed linguistic bias, can write either.