Mouthings- question for Stefan

Daniel Noelpp d.noelpp at GMX.CH
Tue Aug 19 07:35:33 UTC 2003

Hi Antony and friends

I am born deaf in Switzerland and educated the oralist method. Let me
tell you that in the Swiss German Sign Language mouthings are part of
the "real" sign language. I think mouth pictures are very much like
leaned words (similar to the Latin or Greek lean words you find in
English). So the Swiss German Sign Language is influenced by German and
borrowing many mouthings, but the grammar is very Deaf.

I was thinking why the sign language here relies so heavily on mouth
pictures. Maybe it is an effect of the oralist method. Some Deaf don't
master either langunage. They mix both languages. They talk aloud and
use the hands at the same time. Both languages are destroyed in this
process... (I even know a sign for talking this way.)

That has probably been an influence. But there is a tendency to get
away from mouthings. I was told once that I have nice signing with very
few mouthings. That means, even if mouthings are neccessary here they
are sometimes seen as foreign artifacts for the sign language. But as
every Deaf here learns lipreading mouthings are a lot faster than
fingerspellings. Fingerspellings are used for difficult or foreign
(non-German) names or words.

So, mouth pictures are a reality here in the German speaking part of
Switzerland. And Stefan might additionally use them as a teaching
method to show how to articulate a German word, and not as a part of a
language. I think mouth pictures are a legimitate counstruct (but not
liked by the Deaf very well) both in the language itself and as a
teaching help.


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