SW Video Captions Receptive Expressive

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Apr 15 12:12:40 UTC 2007

This is fascinating, because of SW facility in changing points of view, we are able to even have this discussion.  This, to me, shows the flexibility of SW over any other sign transcription system, one could not easily show this is HamNoSys or Stokoe, though both would capture the sign, but not the point of view. 

I like the determination of "who is doing the signing", yourself or another.  If you are signing "aloud" from a transcript, then it should be expressive for you.   If you watching someone else sign and wish to capture what they are doing without mirroring, then you can use receptive. 

Receptive was how the system began and the internalization process got us expressive, so both are useful.  

In showing a video tape, having the receptive captioning next to the sign, for a learning exercise, and then showing the expressive for the dictionary entry is a good way to show the difference to a linguistics audience, such as TISLR.

I was so surprised that at TISLR, when a side-by-side comparison of video and multiple sign languages was present, that SW was not used more often as it is clean, compact, and taggable by any number of parameters.  

Walking through all of the poster presentations, I often found myself unable to follow a discussion clearly because it was all "words words words" in spoken language, without a single clear, compact illustration to show what they were tryjng to capture in "utterances".  

The use of the word "literature" for sign language narrative in isolation without transcription was also confusing,  The term is borrowed, one would not call a spoken utterance "literature", no matter how convoluted, but sign languages are presumed "non-written" and therefore "literature" is the term used for "corpus of a signing subject".  

We need to have so much real "literature" in signed languages, that that argument can no longer be made, and a class showing "development of sign language literature" by sign language users would be a perfect presentation for TISLR 10.  

It would then no longer be "Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research" but "Real Issues in Sign Languge Study and Production of Literature".  

Charles Butler

Adam Frost <adam at frostvillage.com> wrote: 

On 4/14/07, K.J. Boal <kjoanne403 at hotmail.com> wrote:
 I have one question about captioning signed videos... As a hearing person, I
know I like captioning on my favourite TV shows because I can read the
captioning if I miss what the actors said... but I can look at the
 captioning and listen to the dialogue at the same time because I'm using two
different senses.  With signed videos, you have to choose whether you're
reading the captioning or watching the signing.  Is it really that useful? 
I don't find it difficult to read the caption and watch the signing at the same time. I can view more than one thing at the same time.

 I like the SW captioning, don't get me wrong... I just think it would be
more useful on spoken videos than signed videos.  Just a thought...
You have a point that SW caption would be better used if it is used on spoken videos. In fact, that is where I hope that it will eventually go to. :-)  

As for receptive vs. expressive captioning (on the assumption that nobody
else agrees with what I said above - smile!), I personally like expressive 
because that's what I'm used to reading... even though it doesn't match what
I see the signer doing, it looks more natural to me.  Of course, for people
who are used to reading receptive SW like Val, Charles and some of the 
others... for you, it might look more natural to see receptive captioning.
I think that generally (especially with caption for spoken videos and of course, literature) SW should be expressive. The way that my brother (Deaf) sister (hearing) brother-in-law (also Deaf) and I were talking about this was that if you have the SW as caption with the signer signing, you are having the "story" read "aloud" to you by the signer. It is not your "voice" that is doing the telling. When you are reading something, it is your "voice" that is doing the telling even if it is just in your head. So we felt that it made sense that a general rule for receptive vs expressive would probably be best to ask the question, "Who's voice is telling the story?" If it is being "told" to you (ie from a person signing to you on a video), then the SW should be receptive. If it is being "told" by you as you read it, then it should be expressive. I hope that made sense. 

Now, the exception that I would see to this is if the writing is being read "aloud" to you because the common view is expressive. For example, if there was a video that was showing how to write in SW in Sign Language, and the signer said, "This is how you write this sign." 

What would be a reason for switching from expressive to receptive within a
 document?  I know there was a suggestion that in a conversation one
"speaker" might be written expressively and the other receptively, but
having the three lanes to mimic body posture would handle that more 
naturally than even quotation marks.  Are there any other reasons?
Switching??? I don't know. Maybe in the captions of a signed video SW lesson?


 Just asking...

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