Pronouns - English words and ASL grammar

Stephen Slevinski slevin at PUDL.INFO
Fri Mar 26 21:42:45 UTC 2004

Hi Val,

I think this is where our dictionaries will diverge.  I am not striving for
correct English, but for correct ASL grammar using English words. I've
decided this because of the translator tool on my site: it uses ASL grammar.
After the dictionary is bigger, I can then focus on explaining correct
English with SignWriting.

I am also trying for consistency and accuracy, so I may limit the pronouns
to the objective personal pronouns because of the confusion between I and
me.  So the dictionary will use (me, you, him, her, it, us, you, and them).
So I think I will rename "help_2" as "me-help-you".  I think I will also
apply direction to him and her.  Her points to the left and him points to
the right.  So her-help-me will start on the left and him-help-me will start
on the right.

However, if the pronouns are consistent, I should be able to upgrade the
translator to act properly.  So if someone enters "I-help-you", the
translator will be smart enough to exchange "me" for "I" and display
"me-help-you".  However, there will still be a problem with "she-helps-me"
because of the extra s on help.

Anyway, just some thoughts,
-Stephen Slevinski

-----Original Message-----
From: SignWriting List [mailto:SW-L at ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA]On Behalf Of
Valerie Sutton
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: Voting on PUDLs dictionary

SignWriting List
March 26, 2004

Stephen Slevinski wrote:
> Speaking of help, those 33 versions need to be renamed.  For help_3, I
> created a challenge to rename it to help-you.  You voted against that
> and
> suggested I-help-you.  But now I'm considering me-help-you.  This is
> not an
> exact science.
> Word to sign is a very messy business.


Yes! Isn't that the truth!

The reason I say "I help you."  "I help her." "I help them." and so
forth, is that the definitions that I am putting into our dictionary is
striving for two languages that are correctly written within each
language...meaning that each language is pure within the rules of their
grammars etc. So an English translation or definition would use the
word "I"...but in ASL glosses, which is not a pure language at
all...because it is using words from one language to describe the
grammar structure of another...The ASL gloss for "me" is not necessary
now, because it is written in SignWriting in the movements of
ASL and English both have their pure forms. That way a hearing person
with no knowledge of ASL, will learn how to sign "I help you." without
thinking that somehow the sign for Me and I are different signs...Val
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