Mouthings- question for Stefan

signwriting signwriting at MAC.COM
Tue Aug 19 14:59:13 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
August 19, 2003

On Monday, August 18, 2003, at 09:05 PM, Antony Daamen wrote:
 >In Auslan and also ASL, we do make mouth movements, but these are 
unrelated to the spoken words equivalent of the sign.  We have a 
tight-lips mouth movement, which convey intensity.  If we use this with 
the sign for "near" then it meant "very near". we have a mouthing of 
the word "pah", which has many different meanings depending on the 
signs it is being used....


Dear Antony, Stefan, Ingvild, Daniel and Everyone!
First, before I go on, I must say that the Australian Deaf people are 
apparently similar to our American Deaf people, based on Antony's 
description...and perhaps similar to Irish Deaf people too, judging by 
my small experiences...

But it is important for you to know, Antony, that there is a cultural 
difference here...the northern European countries really are different 
than ASL and AUSLAN...I know this because I lived in Denmark and I 
witnessed how different it was in comparison to ASL...

The key to all this is how Deaf people sign to each other, when no 
hearing person is in the room...

When I say "hearing person"...I am referring to those hearing people 
who were not raised in the Deaf Community...who are not native signers 

In the US, when Deaf people are signing to each other, without the 
presence of hearing people, they sign differently, than if hearing 
people are in the room...and their facial expressions change to a real 
"ASL" that is hard to explain because there is no word 
that sounds a little like AUSLAN too...

We know this because of videotapes...Deaf people agree to be taped for 
research purposes, and their language changes the moment the hearing 
people leave the room...They use more mouthing while the hearing people 
are there, but drop the "mouthing" and revert to ASL mouth movements, 
when they are alone with each other...

The Danes have something called "the Mouth-Hand-System", a little like 
Cued Speech in the US, and the Danes relied heavily upon it when I 
lived there in the mid-1980's...And the movements of the 
Mouth-Hand-System had actually influenced Danish Sign Language as 
well...some of those movements of mouth and hand had actually become 
signs...a little like fingerspelling in the US...certain words are 
fingerspelled so much in the US, that they become signs in their own 
right...So while American Deaf people use fingerspelling more than in 
some other countries, the German-speaking, and Scandinavian nations 
tend to use more mouthing...

Mainly I am just impressed that Stefan used SignWriting to write those 
mouth movements...

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