Advantages of ASL GLoss for SignWriting

Dando dparvaz at MAC.COM
Sun Mar 28 17:15:37 UTC 2004

> Another point questions linguistic change versus terminolgical change.
>  This
> is an excellent point because I have only accounted for terminology
> change.

I would go further. Some terminological change would necessitate
changes in the sentence structure, as my hypothetical "gospel" example
demonstrates. Another example would be something like "let this cup
pass from me" (John 17-ish?). A literal translation would mean that the
handshape used in the "passing" depends on the fact that we are talking
about a cup. How precise should the gloss have to be?

Also, the problem is that a straight-across word-for-word substitution
in a gloss does not do things like disambiguate for part-of-speech. So
a sign like CUP might be confused with a classifier predicate meaning
"put a small cylindrical object on a flat surface". So should the gloss
include part-of-speech information, or is a POS tagger needed to
"translate" the gloss into acceptable SignWriting?

In its own way, the seemingly trivial problem of gloss
"transliteration" may be every bit as complex as English->ASL machine

> 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.

Well, some things might be clearer. So the sign 1917 sign for "dollar"
(as used by Veditz, I think) involved drawing a coin in the palm of the
nondominant hand. So substituting the modern sign might be make the
message more understandable, but I would argue that something important
is lost in that process.

I'm finding this discussion useful, since it's forcing me to rethink
some transcription issues.



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