[sw-l] mouthing in the EU

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Feb 25 20:21:55 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
February 25, 2005

On Feb 25, 2005, at 11:51 AM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> It is my understanding that the primary difference in mouthing between
> ASL and some European sign languages is that in most cases in the US,
> the sign can be understood on its own separate from the mouthed spoken
> language. Naturally, we do have our facial expressions which add
> information, but I am focused on where the mouthing matches English
> itself. Offhand, I can't think of an ASL sign that must have an
> English mouthing to distinguish its meaning from the same exact sign
> but a different English mouthing. Can any other ASL users on the list
> think of an example?  I know some ASL users will mouth a specific
> English word as they sign to indicate the English word they want to
> convey, but the ASL concept is usually sufficient to understand the
> sentence without the mouthing.

Stuart, Shane, Stefan and Everyone -
I believe, Stuart, that you are correct that there is a difference. Let
me tell you why...

Instinctively, as a non-Deaf person (smile....Shane likes the term
non-Deaf rather than hearing person)....I know, that if a Deaf ASL
signers starts mouthing English words while communicating with me, that
they feel, that because I am hearing, I need that or I will not
understand them...But as a person who wants to learn ASL, I will ask
them to turn off any voice, and please don't mouth English to me,
because I want to learn ASL, and they immediately say...wow! so great
to know a person who wants to learn ASL, and then they turn off the
mouthing of English words, and I can understand their ASL much better
then...the mouthing confuses me because ASL is not English...that I
think is proof that ASL does not have to have mouthing English words to
exist...The facial expressions in ASL are important to the grammar, but
they are not mouthing of a spoken language...

Val ;-)

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