[sw-l] SW system type... alphabetic vs. others ( pictographic, ideographic, logographic)
chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jun 22 00:54:14 UTC 2005
Would the term "featural alphabet" be a good
compromise to show the depth of what is written here?
Stuart argues, and rightly, that linguists want an
exactic term, which "featural" writing system shows
well, helping Sign Writing to be compared to Korean.
Steve proclaims success in explaining IMWA as an
alphabet with an order of its own, paralleling the
English alphabet, the fingers used and their
particular features as one part of it.
"Featural alphabet" would be both accurate and
understandable by the professional linguist and the
--- Stuart Thiessen <sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG> wrote:
> Hi Steve!
> I understand what you are trying to express.
> However, like any field
> of expertise, it contains technical terms to help
> the specialists of
> the field understand exactly what they mean.
> Computer programmers have
> their technical jargon, and so do linguists. I
> don't agree that we
> need to throw out all the technical terms to "reduce
> bias." If one
> reviews the research being done in sign languages,
> it is easily
> apparent that there is a lot to learn about our
> ability to learn
> language through either modality (speech or sign).
> Also, like any specialists, we need to consider our
> audience and the
> purpose of our discussion. If we are discussing the
> proper linguistic
> definition of some aspect of sign languages, we
> should use the proper
> terms. If we are only have a "lay" discussion of
> the topic, then using
> "lay" terms is appropriate.
> In my case, I prefer the technical term "featural"
> to describe what
> kind of writing system SignWriting is. To me, it is
> the most accurate
> term available for the writing system. For "lay"
> terms, an alphabet
> may be one way to describe it, but it is not
> necessarily the best
> technical term. If we explain the terms then it has
> meaning. For
> hearing, once they know that the Korean writing
> system is similiar in
> approach as SignWriting (because the symbols in the
> Korean system
> correspond with how the sounds are produced), then
> that helps them to
> see that SW isn't so strange after all. For ASL
> deaf, I tend to point
> out some of the non-manual markers we tend to use in
> our conversations.
> I explain how those can be included in our writing
> ... oh, yeah and by
> the way, we can write the signs clearly too ;) .
> Most alphabets,
> syllabaries, abjads, etc. are symbols that represent
> the final product
> of the articulators. SignWriting goes one level
> deeper and actually
> shows the articulators in motion (in a manner of
> speaking). So does
> Korean as I understand it or at least that is the
> closest analogy we
> have from spoken languages.
> I'm less inclined to "throw out the technical
> terms". I think it is
> better for us to help clarify the terms and
> illustrate where sign
> languages are similar or different than spoken
> languages. Over time,
> the bias will disappear. If one studies the
> professional literature on
> sign languages, then it is next to impossible that
> they can truly
> retain the bias against sign languages. And if they
> have the bias
> anyway, changing the wiktionary isn't going to do a
> whole lot to change
> things in my opinion. Personally, the more we use
> SignWriting to
> describe sign languages and the linguistic
> properties of sign languages
> _and_ to develop literature in our sign languages,
> the more people will
> begin to see the value of both sign languages in
> general and
> SignWriting as a system to record sign languages.
> When they see our
> professional discussions of the terms, then they
> will be more inclined
> to listen because we are pointing out clarifications
> in how they use
> their terms rather than simply throwing out the
> words because we don't
> like the meaning they attach to those technical
> But again that's my opinion. ;)
> On Jun 21, 2005, at 18:53, Steve Slevinski wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > I love the term IMWA for many reasons. I'm a
> self proclaimed IMWA
> > snob. The IMWA is a true alphabet even though the
> > definition of an alphabet is outdated.
> > Outdated Webster's definition of Alphabet - the
> letters used in
> > writing a language, arranged in a traditional
> > The IMWA does not contain letters, it contains
> symbols. The term
> > "character" is sufficient to represent either a
> letter or a symbol.
> > So the new and improved definition of an alphabet
> should be...
> > Alphabet: the characters used in writing a
> language, arranged in a
> > standardized order.
> > And that's the IMWA. Sorting a sign language
> dictionary is only
> > possible because of the arranged order of symbols
> in the IMWA.
> > As a lay programmer, most of the mumbo jumbo of
> academia is difficult
> > for me. If you want to discuss "morphological
> sign primitives" I
> > immediately stop listening and try to figure out
> what you're talking
> > about.
> > I prefer simple and direct terminology. However,
> all of the simple
> > terminology is biased towards spoken languages.
> This is a problem
> > that we do not have to accept.
> > When I was discussing the ASL hand alphabet with
> a Deaf friend, he
> > immediately thought of fingerspelling the 26
> letters of the English
> > alphabet.
> > <unknown.jpg>
> > Then I explained the 74 symbols of the ASL hand
> alphabet as a subset
> > of the IMWA with their own standard order.
> > <unknown.jpg>
> > His idea of an alphabet expanded and his respect
> for SignWriting
> > increased. And there was pride in his new
> > Lucyna had a challenge for programmers. Well, I
> have a challenge for
> > linguists. Update the spoken and signed languages
> of the world
> > without making it more complicated. We need to
> eliminate the bias
> > against signed languages. This will do more for
> our cause than
> > defining exact terms that describe exact meaning
> using fancy Latin
> > derivatives. We should have an active campaign to
> update the
> > wiktionary dictionary..
> > I believe we do more if we challenge someone's
> preconceived idea of
> > an alphabet than if we try and get them to
> understand the terminology
> > that linguists use when writing peer reviewed
> > But that's my opinion,
> > -Steve
> > Marc Girod & Anne-Claude Prélaz Girod wrote:Hello
> >> I don't know if you've read the work of Joe
> Martin who writes on the
> >> different notation system that do exist for sign
> languages... and
> >> compares
> >> them (Stockoes...) with SW
> >> (you can find his article on the web on:
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