common criticisms of signwriting?

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 23 17:19:45 UTC 2009

A joy from Brazil.

In a long conversation with a Deaf family at the end of the FENEIS (national association of the Deaf in Brazil) conference in 2000 when SW was officially adopted by that organization.

"My teacher has been wanting me to write Portuguese for so long, and it is so difficult, it is not my language."

"Well, do you think that SignWriting will help you?"

"Yes" (said the mother), "now I can say to him, "your language has 26 letters, and I'll be glad to learn yours, just learn mine, it's written down, too.  It has 54 letters, and they move!" 

From: SignWriting <signwriting at>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at>
Cc: SignWriting <signwriting at>
Sent: Mon, November 23, 2009 12:06:55 PM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] common criticisms of signwriting?

SignWriting List
November 23, 2009

Kim -
I am happy to know that your Deaf friends are starting to read some of your writing, Kim...despite their feelings of resistance...

Deaf people have been raised in conflict...on one hand they may use ASL, but there are subtle messages from society telling them that they are supposed to know English. All their lives they were told they have to learn how to read and write English better, and now people are writing ASL? It goes against everything they have been taught and many Deaf people are worried that somehow that doesn't fit with our society, and what is expected of that makes sense that they would make a disclaimer at the end...because as one Deaf person told me "I am afraid that hearing people will be angry with me if read and write ASL"...that was an honest statement from someone who was very ASL and had trouble reading and writing English, and could read and write ASL just fine, but was in conflict even if your friends are not in that situation, it just might be that deep underneath they were taught that English should be the focus...just a point...we
 all are products of our early training...

And your friends could do that, with training, but the question is, would they take the time to learn? it is harder for adults to learn something new, but you have, Kim - I think this is a great story!

Anyway - no is all good!

Have a splendid day!

Val ;-)


>     I belong to a women's chorus, and have begun to interpret some of
> the performances over the past year. Since I am not yet a fluent
> speaker of ASL, these particular Deaf friends have been advising me as
> I prepare ASL versions of the chorus' songs. And so, as we work out
> versions of the songs in ASL, I'm transcribing the translations into
> SW. Both of them are quite interested in what I do, and will follow
> what I write as I write it, and one of them has begun to notice when I
> *don't* write something correctly. And when someone else joins our
> song-translation sessions, she always shows off how I write down her
> signing. My other friend will sometimes ask to see the page after I've
> finished writing, and does a good job of reading it on the fly,
> without even had any lessons in reading SW. But then they will both
> almost always finish with some sort of disclaimer along the lines of
> "not for me, but if it works for you, great!" or "what chickenscratch.
> I could never do that!"
>     Best,
> Kim from Boston


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