Pronouns - English words and ASL grammar

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Mar 26 19:21:31 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
March 26, 2004

Stephen - These are good thoughts, and of course I see your points on
all this. The real point now is that ASL glosses will be needed less
and less, as ASL becomes a written language more and more...

I see the Translation Tool, and the definitions in a bi-lingual
dictionary, as two different things...They may not be different things
from your programming point of view, however, and certainly I can see
that you may not be able to do other things, because the way the
translation and dictionary are I understand and I am
happy with all you are doing...PUDL is a wonderful site.

At this time no software in the world is perfect with translations
between spoken languages or signed languages either, and since a person
who knows ASL gloss can get a good translation by typing in the English
words in ASL grammar order, and then get good ASL in
SignWriting....that is a great tool!!

 From my perspective, for our SignBank Online Dictionary, I am aiming
for an official bi-lingual dictionary where users are looking something
up to know how to say it in the other language...hearing people with no
knowledge of ASL, would not know why you used an ASL gloss when writing
English...And Deaf people should also be able to find out how to
correctly write that equivalent in English, without sounding like they
are talking in ASL

So if it is a help to you, let my SignBank Online Dictionary take that
approach for you, so you don't have to do anything more...and then
people will have several different sources on the web...what could be

Regarding my choices, I guess I am thinking about my years living as an
American in Denmark. I learned to speak Danish, and my little red
Danish-English, English-Danish dictionary became beat-up and ragged
from use...But when I looked up a Danish word, I did not find an
English definition in Danish gloss! I found the definition in true
English and vice no language was changed for the other...

I know that ASL glosses developed out of necessity because before now,
there was no way to write ASL...but with the work we all are doing,
that is changing and slowly the need for an ASL gloss will diminish is
my guess...

Val ;-)


On Mar 26, 2004, at 1:42 PM, Stephen Slevinski wrote:

> 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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