AW: [sw-l] Why Sign Writing?

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Thu Aug 18 09:47:59 UTC 2005

Hi Eyasu and listmembers, 


first of all – congratulations on your research on EMWA so far - ;-)) 


Regarding your question – how do others react if they are confronted with
this revolutionary idea – that Sign Languages  can be written now.


Well many of them get frightened and try to avoid a close look. This makes
sense! People do not like to change their perspective and attitude. 


More of that – imagine any SL –instructor or teacher who has to accept that
now there is a way to improve his competence by some 100 % if he becomes
skilled to offer better materials, -  that he can discuss SL – issues with
colleagues ., that he /she can offer worksheets for his /her students ... 


This person will get insecure because he/she gets confronted with his/ her
own lack of knowledge in this area. The easiest way to get out of this
trouble is to  avoid any interest in this new skill. They try to look for
arguments and discuss some why’s and discuss, and discuss – and offer doubts
and prejudices and believe-systems and ... all kind of reason that made them
confident that they do not need to learn that. 

I think it is best not to push them. Not to try to convince them. Not to get
into any emotional discussion – Save your energy for learning  how to read
SW. It takes a pretty long time to become a good scribe. So you need your
time and energy for that. (smile) 


I never ever tried to convince anybody that he/she has to accept SW. 


What I did on the other side was to allow them to have a look. I did a lot
of presentations, didn’t stop to create  new materials that would attract

The situation at Maastricht has been a wonderful proof of this method. Once
people saw how easily and exactly Ingvild and me could collect new
information on name signs  - people asked for having a look at my notes,
asked for some other notes, and .... s m i l e d  - when suddenly  they
found themselves reading the manual Alphabet (ASL) or the name sign of
Vietnam, or Denmark, or Tokyo, Kyoto, Germany, the numbers from 1 – 10, ... 


So I do not believe in questionnaires or other kind of interviews – kind of
“Do you think SW may be a useful development” 


The best thing will be to learn SW spellings as best as possible and just
offer the documents as a wonderful demonstration how useful this new skill
can be in any teaching situation that is related to SL. 


Stefan ;-) 


Back to the roots – let’s discuss hand shapes and spellings. smile 










Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von eyasu tamene
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 17. August 2005 08:01
An: sw-l at
Betreff: [sw-l] Why Sign Writing?


Dearest Val, all

I am curius to know new things I think that is way I became interested in
SW.  As to my knowledge Hearing impaired people are using the hearing ones.
They don't have their own writing system.  Haven't you every defended saying
what if , if they continue using the existing writing system? What big
challenge of the hearing impaired people was resolved as a result of Sign
Writing? Weren't they comfortable, is it a question of equality....?  I
would be happy if Val of any one in the list become interested in Sign
Writing to tell me why you became interested.


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