private answers now on the List :-)

Lucyna Dlugolecka deafie at GMX.NET
Wed Aug 17 14:44:39 UTC 2005

Hello List,
Just for forms' sake I'd like to re-send my email sent to some of yoi to the List now as no-one of you mind it :-).

Dear Daniel, Ingivild, Shane, Val and Kathleen,

Thank you for your emails and replies to the issues I have raised. Well, you
wrote to me privately, so I'll reply the same way, and in one email to all
of you.

> For example, the SignWriting list. Only the Deaf people who master English
> can participate. Other Deaf people relay their meanings through people who
> can English (for example perhaps some Polish Deaf through you?) or are
> reduced to a passive role. I prefer the Brussels Symposium. (Not that I
> suggest to abandon the list. It is very valuable, but it has limitations.
> Communication only by the list is not enough.)

Yes, I sometimes relay the SignWriting List issues to other people, both 
deaf and hearing but I always encourage them to subscribe the List even if 
they are poor at English. But they are not interested. Perphaps, they are 
not interested very much in SW or they are ashamed of not knowing English. 
99% of the Deaf in Poland don't know English and many of them don't even 
know Polish. So, I established a separate mailing group under the name 
'signlanguages' where everybody can discuss issues regarding Deaf culture, 
sign languages, Deaf education and SignWriting, all in Polish. But the group 
is still young and have few participants. Most of them are hearing students 
who learn Polish Sign Language and are interested in SignWriting. If I know 
how I can help them, I write and explain their problems and I encourage them 
to enter new signs in the Polish SignPuddle, and if they make errors, I 
correct the signs and, whenever I have time, I explain the errors to them. 
And if I don't know how to help them, I ask you on the SW List :-). But now 
in the Summer I have limited access to Internet and I can't do too much on 
it, unfortunately. I use the Internet in cafes now. But in September I'll 
have a broadband connection at home back.

>You are right that if we use the SignWriting List, that can possibly 
>exclude Deaf people who do not know spoken languages. Now, if the 
>SignWriting List members chose to post their email written in SignWriting, 
>that would be different.

Sure, but that's not so simple. Well, Romuald Szurik can't write in English 
and, let's say, you'll write an ASL message to him. He won't understand it 
either even if he knows the basics of SW (and he really does!)
I was 4 years old when I learnt how to write and read in Polish and 8 when I 
learnt how to read and write in Russian, so I'm fluent in writing in 
languages that use the Latin and the Cirillic alphabets. But I will never be 
as fluent in SignWriting. At least not in 5 years.
But despite of that I learn how to use SW in order to teach others who would 
use it in the Deaf education. Deaf children, taught in SW from the beginning 
of their school education, will be true fluent SignWriters and the true 
beneficiaries of SignWriting.

>European Signs (International Signs) was like "wow! What's that? I
cant follow it!" - i do understand how you feel - at that time, my
NISL wasn't great because of my education at Boston Spa being oral.
But 10 years into my NISL proper, its as if NISL is always my first
language but when I was 17, NISL wasn't my first language...

Good that you understand how I felt.
My first language is Polish but when I was 20 (now I'm 30), I get into the 
Deaf community and I learnt PJM very quickly, just watching the Deaf sign 
and communicating with them. So I didn't deal with Signed Polish (System 
Jezykowo-Migowy, SJM). I have even worked in a local circle of the Polish 
Association of the Deaf for a year and I took to PJM like a duck to water at 
that time, but afterwards I worked at home only (in Tarnow), as a 
translator, I rarely met other people, either the hearing or the Deaf and 
when I came to Warsaw two years ago to start my PhD studies, I could hardly 
speak and sign. I understood then how important it was to be able to speak. 
Signing is not as important as no one will understand your sign when at 
shopping, at a doctor's, in public offices and so on. But now, after the two 
years of more frequent direct contact with people I can speak and sign as 
easily as I just used to :-).

Shane, I can't find your email now, in which you said I (or the Polish 
Deaf?) tend to use Signed Polish rather than PJM. No, I did not said 
anything like that to you or others.
I want to say that SJM is commonly used in schools for the Deaf in Poland 
and by Polish sign languages interpreters. PJM is used in one school for the 
Deaf in Warsaw - Instytut Gluchoniemych (Institute of the Deaf Mute). PJM is 
also researched at the University of Warsaw and at the Warmian and Mazurian 
University of Olsztyn. PJM is taught to hearing students at the University 
of Olsztyn and at the Catholic University of Lublin.
As you know, I'm not a native signer but I'm far from signing SJM. But it is 
to said that PJM has been influenced by SJM and Polish for years, and now, 
when we do research on deafroot PJM signers, we discover those impacts and 
loan words. For example, most Deaf signers use a sign order like this:

She's a pretty girl

But more and more native signers use the order that follows the Polish 


One can say it's SJM, not PJM. But I don't agree. Many Deaf sign this way 
now and I think it's just the linguistic development of PJM.

If you all don't mind, I'll send this email to the List too.

With very Polish greetings,
Lucy :-)

GG 3618151 SMS +48505273292   MSN deafie at
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