AW: [sw-l] non-deaf people and mouthing

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Sat Feb 26 21:12:07 UTC 2005

Hi Valerie and all,

I felt astonished to read so many messages about mouthing -
and I feel irritated to see that this or that seems to be better ...

Just watching at a variety of SL-performances on TV, in internet -
video-clips, or ... I see a lot of people who are moving their lips in order
to clarify their message.

Of course there are mouth gestures in German SL (DGS) as well ... but
besides that very, very often the mouth supports the hands - (not only in

The only way to find out how important additional Mundbilder are is to write
long stories as SW-documents in a given SL and ask a person- who is a well
trained SW-reader and a well informed SL-user of this given SL - to read and
to translate this document. --- I have to do this every day!!!

Well from my point of view - I do not care - I just look at what I see and
if I see a person signing with some degree of mouthing I prefer to accept
that as one style of signing. And since this is a part of the performance
there is no sense to neglect or to ignore that!
As a hearing person it is not my task or right anyway to judge any sign or
signing performance as adequate or non adequate.

So all in all - this debate is somehow not a matter of SW per se.

What is important to me is that if we would like to include this voiceless
speaking ( often only parts of words in DGS!!) it would be helpful to
understand these symbols.

On my website I published my development of
Mundbilder  - (please don´t confuse this with the Mundbildschrift which was
invented for articulation training)

So the signs like pah, mmmm, or deeee or whatever could be written with
these symbols without any problem, ...

Stefan ;-)

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Valerie Sutton
Gesendet: Freitag, 25. Februar 2005 22:48
An: sw-l at
Betreff: Re: [sw-l] non-deaf people and mouthing

SignWriting List
February 25, 2005

On Feb 25, 2005, at 1:15 PM, Shane Gilchrist Ó hEorpa wrote:
> I believe non-deaf signers CAN mouth in ASL/NISL/BSL/VGT/DGS/PJM as
> good if
> not better as deaf fluent signers :-)
Yes, Shane, but I think you are missing the point...Of course people
from other cultures, such as non-Deaf and Deaf cultures, can learn each
other's languages, and some can do it so well, that they sign like
natives or speak like natives...

But my point is that here in the US, a native ASL signer does NOT mouth
in English with other native signing people...mouthing in English
versus mouthing that is associated with ASL grammar are two very
different things here...and it was my understanding from my Deaf
friends, that if people mouth in English while they try to sign
ASL...that you can't because that is not real is something
inbetween English and ASL...and there is nothing wrong with that...but
it is not pure can't mix the two...and ASL definitely can
stand alone without mouthing specific English words...the mouth
movements are different in true ASL grammar...Stuart is Deaf from the
US and just explained the same thing...

Meanwhile, Stuart and I are wondering if it is different in Europe?
When two fluent signing Deaf people in BSL sign to each other, without
any non-deaf people in the they mouth every single word in
English while they are signing in BSL grammar? Have you ever videotaped
the differences when a non-deaf person suddenly enters the room? How do
the native Deaf signers change their language to accomodate the
non-deaf person?

We have done that study here, and there is a difference like night and

Val ;-)

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