Children to children -letters?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Thu Jul 3 23:02:56 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
July 3, 2003

On Thursday, July 3, 2003, at 02:59 AM, Maria Azzopardi wrote:
> Last summer in Malta we had a workshop on signwriting and a small
> group of Deaf children picked up the writing system amazingly fast.
> Some time ago they even started to write letters to each
> other......what if we ask the children to write letters to each other?
> You know, like penpals from abroad? I know of a couple who might be
> interested.....

Hello Maria, Tini, Jerry, Angus, everyone...
I remember a couple of years ago, another list member, Joe Martin,
would have loved to have communicated with you and your children, Maria
- we had tried to stimulate a pen pal club back then, but I guess a pen
pal club is not something that can be has to be truly
spontaneous from the writers at that time, nothing
happened...but if you have some people interested, then it might really
work - and it is great news that your students learned SignWriting so
quickly...I didn't know you had taught some children ;-)

And Tini...regarding the point of the English gloss....although that is
one way to handle it, there are other ways too...Back in the mid-1980's
we published a newspaper called the SignWriter Newspaper...and it was
written in several languages...mostly English and American
signs...whether it was true ASL or not is hard to know....but we tried
our best...

The reason I bring that up is that inside the SignWriter Newspaper, we
had a "Pen Pal" column, where people from different countries wrote to
our newspaper as pen pals, plus we had around ten different pen pals
communicating with each it can happen and SignWriting was
written by these pen pals, who had no training in SignWriting...they
had received free copies of our newspaper - that is all - One Deaf
woman from New York City, wrote us volumes and volumes of
SignWriting...sometimes ten pages at a time..all by hand with full
stick-figures, because that was the way we wrote back then...I still
have her writing if you are interested, I could scan them and post

How did the Danish children who wrote to us, understand our ASL and how
did we understand their Danish signs? Well...the truth is...they copied
a lot of the signs from the newspaper and then scribbled their own
signs next to those, and it was a real hodge-podge- some letters were
not understood but amazingly enough, they seemed to know some American no matter what...we all had fun and learned from the
experience - We also had one pen pal from Sri Lanka, but they seemed to
know a few English words it may not be deep communication, but
on a superficial level, the SignWriting brought us all a little closer
anyway...  Val ;-)
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