Sign-language novels

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Jul 19 04:21:03 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
July 18, 2005

Yes, the first complete novel written in Spanish Sign Language in  
SignWriting, by Steve and Dianne Parkhurst, is certainly historic!! A  
beautiful book! And I believe it is the first complete novel written  
in ANY sign language, in history.

I have around 8 copies and I could sell one to you, but first, please  
write to Steve and Dianne Parkhurst to ask them if they wish to sell  
it to you? I do not know how much they charge, or if you should pay  
them directly? They are teaching linguistics at SIL this summer in  
North Dakota. Their course is the one that includes writing Mexican  
Sign Language in the Mexican SignPuddle (with Stuart Thiessen's  
teaching and assistance)...

So please write to:

Steve and Dianne Parkhurst
steve-dianne_parkhurst at

It is a mystery novel, with illustrations by Steve Parkhurst.

Val ;-)


On Jul 18, 2005, at 9:02 PM, Kimberley A. Shaw wrote:

Hello all:
never mind the ASL anthology I'm working on; *this* is very, very cool!
So, even if it is a couple years later now, and I don't know Spanish  
... how can a person lay hands on a copy of this book?
And if I can get a fluent-in-ASL collaborator, how about putting Wilkie
Collins' "Hide and Seek" (which involves a deaf heroine, as of the  
into ASL??
Kim from Boston

From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Mar 26, 2002  4:26 pm
Subject:  Re: SPAIN: Conference at Val's House ;-)

SignWriting List
March 26, 2002

Dear SW List Members:
Here is a summary of the Parkhurst's work, which I have excerpted
from a newsletter they gave me, written in March, 2002:


SUMMARY (mostly in the Parkhurst's own words):
We have lived in Spain now for more than seven years. During the
first two years, we surveyed the sign language (SL) situation. We
found that there are two main sign languages in Spain that are unique
from any other SL in the world. Our main focus for the past five
years has been SignWriting. Our goal was first to see if the Deaf
Community was interested in reading and writing their langauge. Once
they expressed the interest, our next goal was to make the writing
system available to anyone in the Spanish Deaf Community who wanted
it. That meant developing a literacy program and sufficient
literature for them to read.

We developed a literacy program with a 228-page manual, teacher
training materials, video and a few other projects. More than 300
people have learned SignWriting in Spain, and now we have turned over
most of the responsibility of distribution and publicity to a Deaf
organization. We hope that even more people will learn SignWriting on
their own.

We also have a small base of literature consisting of 24 issues of a
semi-monthly magazine (written in SignWriting in Spanish Sign
Language), distributed in Spain to the magazine subscribers.

We have written, illustrated and published the first mystery novel
ever written in SignWriting. It is a 142-page paperback-bound novel
written completely in Spanish Sign Language (with no spoken language
in the entire book). It is the retelling (in Spanish Sign Language)
of the mystery novel "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins, written in
1868. Steve did his own illustrations.

Altogether, we have produced more than 475 pages of reading materials
in SignWriting (not counting the lessons books). As far as we know,
that is the most published literature in written form in any sign
language in the world!

We have published two issues of a linguistic journal and our survey
report in Spanish. Steve has also published several other linguistic
articles here in Spain and in the US, as well as giving presentations
at a number of linguistic conferences. One of them was in Alicante
(on the southern coast of Spain). Steve presented a study about
syllable structure in Spanish Sign Language that he has been working
on (did you know that sign languages have syllables?)

> From June to August, 2002, we will be a part of a team, teaching at
the University of North Dakota, in the Summer Institute of
Linguistics (SIL)'s first sign language linguistics course set. Since
these are new courses, we will be spending a good portion of April
and May preparing the materials for parts of the course. SignWriting
will be included as a part of one of the courses, on orthographies.
There are urgent translation needs among the Deaf communities around
the world. We hope that this SIL course will help train a few new


Val again:
Many thanks, Steve and Dianne, for the great summary!

SW List members - You should see their mystery novel in SignWriting!
....It is amazing and I will try to give you a picture of it soon -

Val ;-)

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