Inspiring Stories About SignWriting

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Nov 24 17:46:42 UTC 2009

SignWriting List
November 24, 2009

On Nov 24, 2009, at 8:39 AM, Erika Hoffmann wrote:
> Val mentioned that it would be nice to move on to inspiring stories  
> about SSW. I'd second that! I started the "common criticisms" thread  
> because I'm interested in the ways that dominant language ideologies  
> in the US (and in other places) affect the reception of SSW. But  
> more than that I'm interested in the ways that SSW overcomes those  
> challenges, and helps create new ways of thinking about language and  
> writing. So I'd love to hear more about that as well!  Best, Erika

Hello Erika and Everyone -

Thank you for these questions...and the answers have been wonderful!

Life has a Yin and Yang, as they say, and without the criticisms, we  
cannot improve the writing system, so certainly the negative side will  
not be ignored, but instead learned from, and built upon, so we can  
find the bright side with improved new ideas...

And the answers so far have not just come from the US...there have  
been answers from Germany, the UK and other countries...So I would  
like to point out that these responses, Erika, are not all ASL  
oriented. Actually the US has its own unique cultural biases that may  
be different in other countries, and so this List may not be the  
perfect avenue for you, if you are trying to get responses from  
Americans only...

But let's look at the positive side, from all over the world for this  

I have found a rise, or an increase, in positive responses to  
SignWriting, no matter what the country the person comes from...this  
is not scientific, but just my experiences...I used to live daily with  
constant accusations that I was hurting people by "allowing them" to  
write sign languages (such a wrong idea!)...I remember once back in  
the 1980's I got a phone call, from a complete stranger, saying that  
Deaf people would never learn English because I was isolating them  
with writing sign languages...that kind of fear and negative thinking  
has melted away, and I personally am no longer receiving that kind of  
response...instead I find open thinking, flexible thinking and  
amazement, but not fear or worry...

So I feel a real positive change towards acceptance of SignWriting in  
recent years...

So now I am going to ask all of you to find inspiring stories about  
SignWriting, that will give Erika's research the other side of the  

What are some of your good experiences?...

Do not feel shy...We need your positive stories too, to help us  
improve and grow it is not bragging at all, if you are  
having success...share that success with us...we need to hear it!

The other day, Stefan and I spoke on the phone together. As you know,  
Stefan teaches Deaf children at the Osnabruck School for the Deaf in  
Germany. Years ago I remember Stefan had told me that the other  
teachers in his school were not interested in SignWriting...but on the  
phone last week, Stefan told me of something new...that now some of  
the other teachers in his school are beginning to become interested in  
SignWriting...can you tell us more about that story, Stefan? Are other  
teachers in your school using SignWriting now?

That will be a great start to talk about that inspiring story...;-)

Val ;-)


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