AW: [sw-l] Writing mouthing of words with SSW

CWren at DOE.K12.GA.US CWren at DOE.K12.GA.US
Mon Feb 27 13:40:38 UTC 2006

If a teacher with ASL background wants his/her students to
translate/understand the two sentences  - 

The ship is blue. The boat is white.

I don't teach Deaf children, but I work in a school that does, so let me 
take a stab at this.  First off, what is the goal of the teacher? Teaching 
vocabulary would have to come first.  At that point, you might show 
pictures of a ship and a boat, preferably side by side to show the size 
difference.  ASL does not differentiate the two, except perhaps with 
mouthing of the English words if the teacher is using Signed English. 
Signed Exact English probably uses a different sign, but that system is 
becoming less common, thank goodness.  The other way ASL might 
differentiate the two words could be with ASL "non-manuals", that is to 
say facial expressions.  IF you sign BOAT, and mouth "Cha," that means in 
ASL "really big boat" or ship...  if you sign boat and mouth "mmm"  that 
means regular size boat.  If you sign boat and mouth 'oo" that means 
small/tiny boat.  The hands are signing the same thing throughout, but the 
different non-manuals change the meaning.  If the teacher is just talking 
about a picture or a story and assumes the children already know the 
vocabulary, then she might or might not need to differentiate.  If we're 
talking about two different things, its easiest to set them up in space... 
 The boat would be placed to one side of the signer, the ship on the other 
side, then talk about them.  That would be done with the lanes in SW.  If 
of, course, we are doing some sort of English based test, and the 
difference between those two words is critical, then I would probably 
spell them.  The are both short easy words to spell...

My husband was in the Navy and they used the words boat and ship pretty 
much interchangeably...  He was on an aircraft carrier, so no way would 
that be misconstrued as a 'boat', but they often talked about which 'boat' 
they were on...  Of course, if =I= said 'boat, I would be corrected most 
adamantly that it was a ship, but THEY could call them boats...  ::smile::

Cherie Wren
GSD Staff Interpreter
232 Perry Farm Rd
Cave Spring, GA 30124
706-766-0766 Cell

This message and any included attachments are from the Georgia School for 
the Deaf and are intended only for the addressee(s). The information 
contained herein may include privileged or otherwise confidential 
information. If you have received this message in error, please contact 
the sender immediately, and delete it from your system.

"Stefan Wöhrmann" <stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE> 
Sent by: owner-sw-l at
02/26/2006 06:42 AM
Please respond to
sw-l at

sw-l at

AW: [sw-l] Writing mouthing of words with SSW

Hi Valerie, Erica, Cherie  and friends, 

I am so sorry - but somehow it is difficult to explain - because of the 
complete different systems - but similar terminology. 

Let us forget about "Mundbildschrift" within the context of SW !! 

I agree that within the context of SignWriting this is what I do: 

I look at the mouth of the signer and try to describe what I see with the
symbols from Your IMWA symbol set. 

Besides voiceless articulation we observe mouth gesture as well a great 
and I agree that that part is very important in DGS as well. 

There has been a severe and pretty heated discussion about this aspect of
"voiceless articulation". I do not want to open that can of worms again. 

The step aside - smile- is that I made some decisions that had not been 

With my pre-knowledge of German Language and German Sign Language I can 
different observations /interpretations of what is being performed. 

Since this voiceless mouthing is a part of some  SL performances (smile)
in some SL of the world it should be important to find a way to document
these information. 

Without knowing the spoken language of that given country it might be
difficult or even impossible to capture the important aspects of this

But as an informed observer there is now a possibility to provide at least
that bit of information that allows the reader to understand the written
document without any doubts. 

If you compare the SW spelling for ship and boat in the US - puddle - you
find no difference. 

If a teacher with ASL background wants his/her students to
translate/understand the two sentences  - 

The ship is blue. The boat is white.

What would they write? How do they know that the nouns are different? 

All the best 

Stefan ;-)) 

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Valerie Sutton
Gesendet: Samstag, 25. Februar 2006 19:42
An: sw-l at
Betreff: [sw-l] Writing mouthing of words with SSW

SignWriting List
February 25, 2006

Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:

> Valerie - I think it is very important to understand the difference 
> between
> "Mundbildschrift" and  Mundbilder in SignWriting /GebaerdenSchrift)

Perhaps I get the German terminology incorrect...I am sorry!

Mundbilder is what I call SignWriting Facial Expressions, I guess! It 
is funny because we never created a term specifically for the facial 
expressions used in the grammar of signed languages...they are simply 
SignWriting symbols that are applied by the writer to write that, if 
they wish...

Mundbildschrift is what I used to call SpeechWriting, years ago, 
writing the movements of speech specifically...not involved with any 
signed language at all... but of course Mundbildschrift is your 
invention, Stefan, when specified for writing German speech...

What is so fascinating about your work, Stefan, is that you have 
actually used Mundbildschrift combined with the writing of basic 
signs in DGS, haven't you at times? Giving the Deaf students the 
mouthing of the words plus the basic signs...which is different than 
a Deaf person signing to another Deaf person, when some of the mouth 
movements change to reflect the grammar of the signed language and 
have little or no connection with the speech of the spoken language 
in the country...

Here in the US there are some Deaf people who mouth words when they 
sign with hearing people, but when they sign with other Deaf people 
and the hearing people leave the room, their mouth movements change 
from mouthing speech to the Deaf facial expressions necessary for ASL 

> Love to read more messages about this problem. I understand that 
> some or the
> majority of ASL - signers do not use these lip-movement 
> information ...

This is a little complicated, but we did some research on this when I 
worked with around 10 Deaf people, called the DAC, or Deaf Action 
Committee years ago...Kevin Clark is born several generations Deaf, 
and obviously so was his sister, Darline (grin)...but they are two 
very different kind of signers when it comes to mouthing words...

Kevin has literally no hearing at all and cannot use hearing aids 
because the nature of his deafness...this means that sound is really 
not a part of his world. His Deaf sister Darline would be completely 
deaf without a hearing aid, but with a hearing aid she has some sound 
coming in...

The difference is night and day, when it comes to mouthing 
words...Darline mouths some, but Kevin simply does not...They are 
both strong ASL people, but there is a difference the way they use 
mouthing...and what is really important here is that Kevin is totally 
understood clearly, without the mouthing of spoken language, for 
anyone who knows the mouthing is NOT essential for 
understanding ASL...but certain ASL facial expressions ARE essential 
for understanding ASL grammar...

So that is why we do not write as much mouthing in our ASL 
SignPuddle, as you have in your German SignPuddle...the facial 
expressions specific to true ASL change, depending on their placement 
in a sentence, and so to place that in the dictionary is hard, 
because there is not one facial expression that it always connected 
with each ASL sign...and we know that mouthing the English word is 
not necessary, in fact, it can hinder the reading of ASL grammar...

So you are right to separate the writing of mouthing and the writing 
of grammatical facial expressions...we need better terms in English 
for this! You have terms in

Congratulations on your great work!

Val ;-)

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Sw-l mailing list