SignWriting and L2 literacy

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Dec 19 15:52:20 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
December 19, 2003

 >>Tamar Bernfeld wrote:
So...assuming students are learning SignWriting as their first written 
language and are now attempting to learn to read an oral based language 
(and developing some sort of phonological awareness), I feel that it 
may be easier to make connections between SignWriting and a language 
like Spanish versus a language like English.  
Do you agree?

Dear SW List, and Tamar:
It is possible....and certainly I think the idea should be explored...I 
guess it is fair to say that we do not really know, without research.

Meanwhile, since we don't have such research, I would suggest that if 
you are writing about this in a paper, just say that you "feel or 
suggest that this might be the case because etc etc"...and just go on 
from there...suggest the hypothesis, and maybe someone can do research 
on it someday...

The practical fact is, that Deaf children are required to learn the 
spoken languages of the country where they are born, so very few Deaf 
children have much choice in the matter anyway...Even if English is 
harder for Deaf people to learn as a second language than Spanish, if 
you live in the US, most deaf children will be required to learn 
English the best they can it would be rare to find a study 
group of Deaf people who can choose which spoken language they learn as 
their second language...I guess if they come from Spanish-speaking 
homes in the US...that might be the group to study...

So why not try it with your students, to see if it seems to be 
true?...And then tell us what happens...I am really interested to find 
out too...

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at

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