[sw-l] Signed English, not English Sign Language?

Sandy Fleming sandy at FLEIMIN.DEMON.CO.UK
Mon Jan 31 16:53:53 UTC 2005

Hi List :)

Just for further thoughts on this...

In the UK we say "Signed English" to mean BSL signs that correspond to
English word-for-word. New signs are made up for words like "the", "a", "to"
and "and" that aren't used in BSL, and also for inflections such as "-ed" at
the end of past tense verbs and so on.

This is useful (I guess) for teaching English but obviously very tedious as
a means of communication. So we also have SSE - "Sign Supported English" -
which continually glosses spoken English or spoken English mouth movements
with BSL signs - so words like "the", "a", "to" and "and" are dropped, as
are English inflections. This is still not very satisfactory - you need to
know two languages to use it and you can still misunderstand due to failing
to lipread inflections and so on, but it's often used by deafened people who
don't want to learn proper BSL.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
[mailto:owner-sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu]On Behalf Of Tini Pel
Sent: 31 January 2005 15:21
To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Signed English, not English Sign Language?

Thank you Charles, you made a lot of sense
I have made a print-out of  Valerie's, Shane and your messages and I will
show it to the teachers here.
I understand Valerie's explanation to called it  "Signed English"
Thanks for showing interrest, I really appreciate the help
----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Butler
To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 12:29 AM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Signed English, not English Sign Language?

Some generally used terms.

ASL - a signed language with its own grammar, which uses some nouns and
verbs which have Englsh equivalents, but has, as any other language, its own
idioms and expressions that are not "one to one" correspondences.

PSE - Pidgin Signed English.   The words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) of ASL
in a more English grammar order.  This does not include noun endings like
"ment" or "ed" but more like "my judge faulty" for "my judgement is faulty"
which is sort of middle ground between ASL and Signed English.

SEE - Signed Exact English - This is an invention of the public school
system to teach children who use ASL the words of ASL in English grammar
order complete with English word endings.  Because ASL has different words
for "bear" and "bare" (for example) it really does require a knowledge of
both languages for "meaning".  They fingerspell "ed" or "s" or "the" or lots
of the other little words that make English verbs make sense.  "Have" (as
the helping verb), I have told you so (meaning past tense) is often signed
with "have" (possession) sign from ASL, so there is much confusion on a
grammatical level.  I am NOT an expert in SEE.

I think it is likely, Tini, that you are using some variant of PSE because
you don't use all the little "particles" that make English grammar English,
but signs in English grammar order.  I tend to use SW in that way myself,
with sometimes leaning more toward ASL and sometimes more toward SEE
depending on the audience.  Some late-life learning users of Signed Language
have more English grammar, some less.

Make sense?

Charles Butler

Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org> wrote:
SignWriting List
January 30, 2005

Hello Everyone and Tini -
I am no expert, but I thought that when you are signing in English word
order, that that is called Signed English. Not English Sign Language,
which would mean a dialect of British Sign Language to me! But it is
not for me to say. Here in the US, ESL stands for ...English as a
Second Language.. and there are ESL teachers who teach English to
native Spanish speakers...smile...It is ok, Tini - If it is not true
ASL it is good that you have at least differentiated from that...Val


On Jan 30, 2005, at 12:03 PM, Tini Pel wrote:

> Hello Valerie,
> Thank you for the compliments and mentioning on the list about the
> poem. It has been a long time since I did Sign Writing a poem. It made
>! ; me sit with my dictionary again, which was a very good exercise.
> I am still working on your family poem off and on. But I will
> eventually get it.
> You wrote:
> I have a question about your term CESL...for
> Canadian-English-Sign-Language...That is usually called ASL, is it
> not? Or is CESL a separate and unique Sign Language? I never heard
> that term before...
> The reason I said Canadian English. Over the years I have noticed that
> ESL from England at times, is slightly different, as is the Quebec
> French with the French from France
> I have been working together with a deaf person who was at Bellville .
> You may remember me talking about him. He use to correct me often by
> saying that a certain word in ASL was different from his language and
> at times became upset about it. Ofcourse I was taking lessons from him
> ! so I had to follow his language.
> I am also working with a group of school teachers. Since deaf children
> are now schooled in the elementary schools, the teachers want to learn
> to sign in English for the purpose  of the children to learn to read.
> They don't want ASL because of the grammar.
> I had them read the poem and they loved it.
> I did not know what else to call it, so therefore Canadian English. If
> I am wrong I am open for corrections. Please do so.
> I have been following your latest lessons and printed them all out, so
> when I have time over week-ends I will try it out.
> Thank you so much for that !!!!!
> L.I.F.E.
> Tini.

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