Advantages of ASL GLoss for SignWriting

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Mar 28 13:57:27 UTC 2004

I guess my short exposure to Libras in Brazil is showing.  With the use of Sign Writing there, it is direct experience of the kids using Brazilian Sign Language and Portuguese.  There is no "Portuguese gloss" equivalent, or not that I ran into.  One had Libras, and one had Portuguese.  One had several dialects of Libras, and several dialects of Portuguese, but one relied on mime and gesture to show the differences, not create a "written Portuguese gloss attempting to show Portuguese language but not grammar" as ASL written gloss does.

When my friends wrote Portuguese, they wrote Portuguese, clearly and grammatically correct.  When my friends wrote Libras, they did so in SW, not in a pidgin Portuguese.  This is a different educational effort that grew up through a different history.

If we did not have ASL gloss in this country, we could, theoretically, be using ASL written directly in ASL as SW.  One does not teach English to Spanish speakers by using Spanglish as a medium, why should one use ASL pidgin (gloss) as a bridge between two languages one of which is spoken and one of which is signed?  This is a question for educators and their own direct experience which will vary from country to country and situation to situation.

Charles Butler

Stephen Slevinski <slevin at PUDL.INFO> wrote:
Hi Dan,

Good points. Thanks for the feedback.

You are right... Once ASL becomes more standardized, ASL Gloss would not to
be needed. However, I think it may serve as a good tool for deaf to learn
English and for hearing to learn ASL

Another point questions linguistic change versus terminolgical change. This
is an excellent point because I have only accounted for terminology change.
This is an (incorrect) assumption that I made. However, some sophistication
could be build into the translation program that could handle some of the
linguistic change.

I guess my question is how ASL Gloss would have handled translating the
speeches from 1917 and 1970 and if the result would be any better.

And the last point about teaching children... That depends on the method
for teaching. I support ASL first, SignWriting by hand then SignWriter, ASL
Gloss, and then Written Communication to teach English.

ASL Gloss becomes an official subject. It will improve with time. It
should be understood as an attempt to capture a signed language in text
form, and so imperfect. It would be an easier way to teach English
vocabulary without teaching English grammar.

Written Communication is a method for teaching deaf students to learn to
read and write English by having them read and write English. It's a mix
between a classroom and a online chat session. The children communicate
with text: reading and writing. The teacher is present to correct the
students in their English usage. Over time, they learn English the same way
that hearing children learn English: they use it. However, for the deaf,
English does not sound right, but it reads right.

Thinking out loud,
-Stephen Slevinski
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