Thailand...Question: Sign Language Literacy?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Aug 25 15:32:05 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
August 20, 2003

Dear SignWriting List members...
Back around August 20th, Suksiri from Thailand wrote this message to me
(see below), and then she joined the SignWriting List...I thought you
all might like to see Suksiri's original question, since the term "Sign
Language Literacy" is important here...

When we compare the research-oriented sign notation systems to
SignWriting, we often forget one important point: SignWriting's goal is
"Sign Language Literacy".... providing written literature for Deaf
children and for people who use a signed language on a daily basis...

There are Deaf people in Nicaragua who write letters to each other in
SignWriting....with or without spoken language...and with or without
computers...on a daily basis...

I have never seen a story, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, written
in ASL solely in the Stokoe system....And if there are complete sign
stories written in other systems, do Deaf children read them on a daily

Dr. Stokoe told me personally that he had not developed his system for
Deaf children...Has anyone ever seen written Sign Language literature
in another writing system, other than SignWriting?

So I believe that the idea of "Sign Language Literacy" and "Sign
Language Literature" is something unique to SignWriting...

Even when Sam Supalla started his school in Arizona awhile back (which
sadly has closed now), their goal was not to leave the Deaf student
with a body of Sign written literature in Stokoe or SignFont...instead
they used other writing systems briefly with the idea of dropping them
later, as soon as the child could read English...That is what Sam
stated in a presentation he gave here in San Diego last his
students were not left with a written form for their native signed

Since I do not make a living at SignWriting myself, I know how hard it
is for people to survive financially in this difficult subject, so I
was really sorry to hear that Sam had to close his school and I truly
wish him well...

Val ;-)


Suksiri in Thailand wrote:
My name is Suksiri Danthanavanich from Thailand. I've begun my work as
a lecturer for the Deaf for 2 years. I'm looking for knowledge on Deaf
in all aspects. One of my deaf colleagues hands on me your website. How
wonderful! It surprises me that Sign Language can write down. Then, I'm
interested in Sign Language Literacy. To systematically gain the
information, could you please suggest which the best start on Sign
Language Literacy is? It would be grateful if you allow me to ask you
questions on Sign Language Literacy?
Thank you very much in advance.
Best regards,

Suksiri Danthanavanich
suksiri_d at

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