[sw-l] brother and sister

Sandy Fleming sandy at FLEIMIN.DEMON.CO.UK
Wed Feb 2 09:18:46 UTC 2005

Hi Suzanne!

> I think you are true about the brother-sister thing, but
> in Dutch sign language (NGT) this is not the only example
> where one sign with a lot of meanings. And it doesn't
> really have to do with gender. For example in NGT there
> are different signs for 'mother'/'father' or 'man'/'woman'
> or 'aunt/ucle' etcetera... But there is for example only
> one sign for 'job'/'to work'/'to make'/'to build'/.... or
> one sign for 'neighbourhood'/'room'/'garden'/'park' or

Hmmm... I wasn't expecting that!

In BSL we have separate signs for "work" (which can be distinguished as noun
and verb, though these are very similar), "make", "build" and even
"assemble". We also have a BSL sign for "hard work", which English doesn't
have a word for (or at least, not in common use).

Similarly, we distinguish between neighbourhood/room/garden/park. Perhaps
the NGTers have overdone it a bit with oral and lost signs which might have
been kept if not for the ability to fall back on oral methods?

Even so, I'll bet the native NGT vocabulary would have been a lot stronger
if it had always been a written language. It would be tragic to use SW as a
way of preserving oral dependency instead of a way of enrichening the

Some of these were hard to write! I probably made plenty of mistakes  :)

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