glossing/ SW, self-intro

Nancy Emery nemery at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Mar 30 03:53:21 UTC 2004

hi everyone,

I had a couple thoughts about the use of gloss and of writing in

The translation feature of the PUDL program could be useful as an
introduction to reading SignWriting - when people who are used to glossing
(from TTY etc) put in glosses and see the SignWriting that comes out, since
they already know what the signing itself looks like, they can associate
that with the pictures and probably pretty quickly figure out how to read a
lot of the elements in the SignWriting.  (I think that trying to come up
with something that would mechanically translate from written standard
English sentences into SignWriting would be really hard.)

But, a lot of ASL or any other natural signed language isn't very glossable
- like classifier use or role shift.   Those are the parts of ASL that
interest me the most, and I'm trying to learn SignWriting so that I can
transcribe, in a way that makes visual sense, narratives that include
classifiers and role shift.  That means including head turns and eye gaze
and other things.  So I don't think that glossing - or dictionary
cut-and-pasting - can substitute for learning to write.  I admit I started
with handwriting SW and haven't tried typing yet.

As for myself, I'm hearing, started learning to sign in my 30's, partly
because of a short course offered at my workplace but mostly because I met a
Deaf woman I wanted to be able to talk with.  Then, being someone who loves
languages anyway, I was hooked.  I actually went through a 2 year
interpreting program but realized that the high speed transliteration that
was mostly called for in my early (academic interpreting) jobs wasn't
something I liked or was much good at, and I soon left the field.  What I
really enjoy is ASL narrative, storytelling, poetry, language games, etc.  I
also used to be somewhat involved in Seattle's large Deaf-Blind community,
have done some tactile signing.  I'm pretty rusty now.  Have returned to
grad school in linguistics.  Interested, among other things, in classifiers,
in signed and spoken languages.

Nancy Emery
Seattle (University of Washington)

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