[sw-l] mouthing in the EU

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Feb 25 20:33:48 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
February 25, 2005

I just looked at our second video in the Deaf Perspectives on
SignWriting video series...and Butch Zein, from a Deaf family of
5-generations Deaf, and Kevin Clark, three generations Deaf
family...they both did not mouth as much as I did, when I signed on the
video! Shame on me! Obviously I am a non-Deaf person...but the born
Deaf native signers were using mouth movements related to ASL, but not
to English mouthing...I wonder what native signers do in Europe, when
no hearing (non-deaf) people are in the room, and they are signing to
each other?...do they mouth spoken language?...Val ;-)


On Feb 25, 2005, at 12:21 PM, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> 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 ;-)

More information about the Sw-l mailing list