SignWriting, Mouth Movements, and Email in foreign signed languages ;-)

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sun Aug 21 18:17:54 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
August 21, 2005

Hello Stefan!
Many thanks for this insightful email message...Before I answer your  
message below (see below), I want to clear up the terminology for all  
of you...

Charles Butler wrote:
> i see GebaerdenSchrift as very parallel to Cued Speech.  With a  
> handful of handshapes, HoH people are helped to learn spoken  
> language fairly accurately by being able to divide sounds on the  
> face by articulators that don't appear on the face.  Best example  
> is that the words "red" and "green" look exactly the same on the  
> face to a hard-of-hearing person, but their internal articulators  
> (inside the mouth) are different.

Val answered...
Thanks for this message above, Charles...

It is my understanding, that the word GebaerdenSchrift means  
SignWriting in German...So GebaerdenSchrift (SignWriting) cannot be  
compared to Cued Speech! Ha!...I know you didn't mean that (grin ;-))

I believe this is the correct terminology?...Is this correct,  
Stefan? ;-)

GebaerdenSchrift....means SignWriting in German.

Mundbilder (I have just learned by reading Stefan's message below)  
means the mouth movements that are done as a natural part of signed  

Mundbildschrift (I believe) means the writing of mouth articulation  
when speaking German words, that assists Deaf students to be able to  
speak words better...but there are no handshapes involved like Cued  
Speech at all...just writing the way the mouth looks when you it is quite different than Cued Speech I believe, which is  
not written?... now...answers below from me too...

> Stefan Wöhrmann <stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE> wrote:
> Hi Valerie and list -
> no (smile) it is not possible to learn German words through the  
> Mundbilder
> in GebaerdenSchrift. There are many reasons for that. The most  
> important
> reason is that there is no distinct match between a given sound of  
> German
> langauge and a specific Mundbild in GebaerdenSchrift.
> But there is another notation system called "Mundbildschrift" -

Really! I didn't realize there was a difference between the term  
Mundbilder and Mundbildschrift!...Thanks for informing me...

> The difference between these two system is somewhat complicated.
> In my "Handbuch zur GebaerdenSchrift" there is a whole chapter only  
> about
> this aspect.

Ha! I need to read your wonderful new book!! I am glad you explained  
it there...and here too!

> Since SL does not care about sound and voice - but depends on  
> looking at the
> hands, body a n d mouth these "Mundbilder in der GebaerdenSchrift"  
> just
> give some impressions about the voiceless (silent) mouth movements  
> while
> somebody is performing a sign.

Of course. So your term Mundbilder means Facial Expressions or Mouth  
Movements in our English terminology. I never use the word Pictures  
in English, since that is looked-down on, in my culture, as  
unsophisticated, by some linguists here. Since we have a real writing  
system, I just say "writing Mouth Movements"...but leave the word  
picture out of it...but I understand fully what you mean! And I am  
sure the term pictures is perfect in Germany...

> A good example may be the video of "skola" we discus! sed in detail  
> - smile.
> Just look at the mouth of the performer.

I haven't been able to view the videotape, since I am only setup for  
quicktime right now...I have to get my avi viewer up and running...
> Well - the "internal point of view" tells the scribe that this sign  
> stems
> from Czech SL so he is going to move his lipse like saying the word  
> "SH" "C"
> "O - like in all" "L" and "A"
> In fact you can't identify all these distinct "stills" and of course -
> Charles - it has something to do with your knowledge in before -
> But nevertheless it is up to the skilled SignWriting scribe to  
> accept a
> performance just as it is - or to neglect or to suppress some of the
> information that is offered.
Yes. Sure. Knowing the sign in advance helps!

> Contrary to that the "Mundbildschrift" is a system that supports
> articulation. But this is not a question most people of the SW -  
> list are
> interested in. It is not a matter of SW but much more a typical  
> educational
> matter if teacher try to support deaf children to improve  
> articulation. If
> so - "Mundbildschrift" turns ot to become a wonderful support.

OK. Well...Mundbildschrift is not SignWriting...because it is not  
writing signed languages, but Mundbilder (in German) are a part of  
SignWriting...I understand (I hope! ;-)

BUT....Mundbildschrift is using symbols from the general Sutton  
Movement Writing system, and then you applied those symbols to a  
specific use...what I used to call Speech Writing... what you call  
MundbildSchrift...and that is wonderful!

So I still have this question...

1. Since Mundbildschrift supports articulation, could I learn how to  
pronounce German words from it, as a foreigner to the spoken language?

2. When you read a sign in the German SignPuddle...a sign that has a  
lot of Mouth Movement symbols from SignWriting on top of the  
sign...are we reading Mundbilder, or Mundbildschrift?


I will change the subject soon...I just want to learn how to read  
your German Sign email - that is all! I am enjoying learning to read  
German signs!

Val ;-)
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