AW: [sw-l] Deaf opposition to SW

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Sat Aug 6 18:58:47 UTC 2005

Hi Shane - 

I do not see any fight! 

There is too much time needed to create teaching-materials, SW-documents,
graphics, .... 

No time to loose in useless discussions - 

All I see is a number of lucky people who will understand that SignWriting
is that "SYSTEM" there had been looking for without knowing. And they are
really lucky if they can participate in a workshop and/or can studdy well
prepared teaching materials ... ;-)) 

There will be a number of other SL instructors, deaf or Deaf or Hearing SL
users who do not need to learn anything else at this moment. Fine! 

I concentrate on people who would like to learn to read and write Sutton
SignWriting - smile.  

I am still a most interested student. Today I found numerous new symbols of
handshapes and additional symbols in the SignPuddle  symbol list! 

There is still so much to learn. Such a big difference between becoming a
quite acceptable competent reader and to become a competent scribe. 

Stefan ;-)) 

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Shane Gilchrist
Ó hEorpa
Gesendet: Samstag, 6. August 2005 18:33
An: sw-l at
Betreff: RE: [sw-l] Deaf opposition to SW


It was very interesting at the ESWO conference - some deaf participants
there were SO BENT on finding fault with SignWriting - Stefan said that the
ESWO conference is discussing and developing SignWriting in an European
context - we will have a very long fight ahead, trying to get the system
accepted - but I do think SW will be accepted in Northern Ireland very soon
- but we need to ask a trainer to come over and train my people how to do it
- I know they will do it shall they be given the right teacher.

Shane of Belfast

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-sw-l at [mailto:owner-sw-
> l at] On Behalf Of James Shepard-Kegl, Esq.
> Sent: 06 August 2005 15:22
> To: sw-l at
> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Deaf opposition to SW
> Sandy,
> Perhaps you might ask whether English should be written.  Of course, the
> response would be a bemused look at such a silly question.  Why?  Because
> everyone knows that English is written -- why my grandparents wrote it
> (and
> for those of us who can trace back to colonial America (not me) their
> grandparents, too.)  Why, English was always written (maybe not quite
> true,
> but who cares), always will be....
> It occurs to me that if Deaf schoolchildren learned SignWriting without
> realizing that their school curriculum was somewhat unique in that
> respect,
> well ... those children might also react in a with a quizzical, bemused
> look
> to the question of whether a sign language should have a written form.
> Old habits die hard.  And new points of view only become much later to be
> regarded as obvious truths.
> -- James
> on 8/6/05 6:39 AM, Sandy Fleming at sandy at wrote:
> > Hi Adam, Val and List!
> >
> > I've had a few discussions of SignWriting with Deaf people and signing,
> > hearing parents of Deaf children.
> >
> > I invariably find myself running straight into arguments against writing
> > sign languages - nearly everyone objects to the idea to start with - but
> > for those involved in Deaf culture I've discovered that one argument in
> > favour of writing sign languages always works, and that's the equality
> > argument. Recently I was trying to put the case for SignWriting to a
> > hearing woman who is learning BSL because she has a Deaf child who has
> > just started at a full-BSL school. She shot down every argument for
> > having SignWriting in the school, but once I started talking about it in
> > terms of equality she started agreeing with me and even wondered if the
> > teachers at the school might be interested.
> >
> > Why should the Deaf write their languages? ...because the Hearing write
> > _their_ languages. It's about equality.
> >
> > But written sign language doesn't capture the full aspect of the
> > language ...but neither does written oral language. It's about equality.
> >
> > But Deaf people can record their language on video nowadays would
> > the Heaing put up with having to use a tape recorder all the time? It's
> > about equality.
> >
> > But really, what's wrong with video?'s only one medium. Oral
> > languages work in all mediums, so should sign languages. It's about
> > equality.
> >
> > But Deaf children can learn from books in English would it be
> > better if English people learned from books in Chinese? It's about
> equality.
> >
> > ...and so on!
> >
> > I'm not saying that any of this is a new idea, just that I've found that
> > equality issues as an argument really work where other arguments fail. I
> > should emphasise the importance of actually using the word or sign
> > "equality" in such arguments! People support equality.
> >
> > Sandy
> >
> > Valerie Sutton wrote:
> >
> >> SignWriting List
> >> July 20, 2005
> >>
> >> On Jul 20, 2005, at 10:42 AM, Adam Frost wrote:
> >> I have actually done a research on this topic for a paper in school.
> >> I found that most Deaf didn't like the idea of SW not mainly because
> >> they feel that it can't capture the full aspect of the language
> >> (although it is a strong argument that some have), but that SW would
> >> cause hearing people to have a lessened view of ASL as a language,
> >> and it would also separate Deaf from hearing people even more. I
> >> personally don't agree with any of that (of course, or I wouldn't be
> >> here now would I. LOL!)
> >> -----------------
> >>
> >> Adam and Everyone -
> >>
> >> They are talking out of ignorance, Adam! I believe it is a weak
> >> argument. They obviously have not tried to learn SignWriting, and
> >> they are against the new idea, without really learning it first. We
> >> can write sooo much detail and capture the nuances of ASL far more
> >> than either the IPA or written English captures spoken English...and
> >> we are not hurting ASL to write it, only enhancing it...
> >>
> >> The only criticism that I care about, are from those people who
> >> really have taken the time to learn and use SignWriting - your
> >> opinions matter because you know what you are talking about...but
> >> anyone can criticize something they do not know, to avoid having to
> >> take the trouble of learning it...There are still people who talk
> >> against using computers, afterall, and it has been decades since
> >> computers have come into everyday life here -
> >>
> >> And I know some smokers, who still argue there is no proof that it
> >> can hurt your some people do not like change and they are
> >> afraid of it...
> >>
> >> An article to read about this issue...
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Val ;-)
> >>
> >>
> >
> >

More information about the Sw-l mailing list