[sw-l] Writing Mouth Movements in Different Cultures

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Thu Jan 27 18:01:09 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
January 27, 2005

Stefan Wohrmann wrote:
> I use SW as a tool to support deaf children in their efforts to learn 
> German....
> According to your other question - if I understand that right - well 
> all I can tell is that in German Sign LanguageĀ the mouthmovements are 
> a very important part.

Dear SW List and Stefan and Charles -
Thank you Stefan for your interesting discussion...SignWriting is used 
in different ways for different purposes. A lot of these issues are 
cultural, and also related to the purpose of the document you are 

I know, Stefan, you told us once that when you are writing true German 
Sign Language (DGS), that is signed by Deaf adults in the German Deaf 
Community (not related to children or teaching spoken German)...that 
you also write the specific facial expressions needed to write the 
grammar of true DGS...and that some of those facial expressions are not 
exactly the same as mouthing German words...So I know you have 
experienced this too...

So we are talking about two different worlds...the world of a teacher 
with Deaf students, and the world of Deaf poetry and literature that is 
not connected in any way to the spoken language of the country...

Or perhaps it is in Germany, but not in the US...so that is why Charles 
asked the question...because as Americans we have had different 
experiences...Plus neither Charles nor I are teachers of young Deaf 

We all would write differently in different cultures and that is 
perfectly ok! SignWriting is flexible enough to meet everyone's 

Here in the US there is not as much mouthing as you have in Northern 
Europe...so each culture is different...I am curious what it is like in 
the Philippines, or in Malaysia or even other European countries? I 
suspect facial expressions vary widely...depending on the surrounding 

And meanwhile, Stefan, I commend you for creating a bridge for the 
German parents of Deaf children into the world of signed 
languages...and giving a bridge to the Deaf students into the world of 
spoken languages...That is a true gift! And your Mundbildschrift is 
really working in Germany. I suspect it would not in the US...but you 
never know...it has not been tried yet!  smile...  Val ;-)
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