When are Sign Languages considered written languages?

Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 27 13:19:45 UTC 2006


there will be always people who wont accept the fact that ASL/NISL can
be written down - they will argue that it can be noted but it cannot
be used every-day.

Another reason why that happens is that signwriting isnt used in ASL
lessons (at least most of it) - Thierry from Belgium was saying that
he used that in his teaching - and he found that learners learn faster
and more effectively using that.

I must ask him if he can do a parallel research i.e. he teach LSFB
using SW to one class and another class without SW.

in the UK, the CACDP (www.cacdp.org.uk) is the main examining board
for BSL & ISL - if they even say "oh you need to teach sign writing",
England will enter the golden age of British signwriting - but until
then, we have to do it in bits and pieces.


On 27/01/06, Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Just for comparison.  You'd be hard pressed to say that Brazilian sign
> language is not a written language with more than a dozen Web sites devoted
> to it, five dictionaries, an encyclopedia, and the backing of FENEIS (the
> Brazilian national association of the deaf) endorsing it, and having it
> taught in Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Pelotas, and Florianopolis schools for
> the deaf.
> Adam Frost <icemandeaf at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> I totally agree with you about English. That is a very good point because
> people considered Enlish as a written language during the Middle Ages. It
> was the majority that was illiterate. So that is what it is, the majority of
> the deaf are illiterate in ASL. They may not be illiterate in English, but
> that doesn't mean the are skilled with English. ;-)
> Adam
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Valerie Sut! ton"
> Date: 01/26/06 07:05 PM
> To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
> Cc: albert_bickford at sil.org
> Subject: Re: [sw-l] When are Sign Languages considered written languages?
> SignWriting List
> January 26, 2006
> Dear SW List Members:
> Today, a native ASL Deaf signer wrote to ask this question...Is ASL
> really a written language yet?
> That is an interesting question...How many people have to read and
> write a language, before the language can be called a written language?
> And this question was then discussed very nicely on the Sign Language
> Linguists List today...smile...
> Here are my thoughts on this topic...
> When Sequoyah, the Cherokee Indian chief, wrote letters to his
> daughter in the symbols he invented, and she understood his messages,
> and they wrote back and forth...they were using a written language
> that no one else in their tribe used...over time, more and more
> people starte! d using the writing system....but even when it was only
> the two of them, it was still a written language...for them
> only...not for others who didn't want to write.
> If there are only two people writing to each other in ASL, then for
> them, it is a written language...maybe others will never choose to
> read and write, and maybe it will change enormously in the next
> decade, or maybe no one will ever use it, or maybe it will become
> widespread...I have no idea...but I do know that there are some
> people writing to each other in ASL right now, and for those people,
> it is a written form...
> I know of hundreds in the US and I know of thousands world wide who
> read and write signs daily...and so for a very few people...there is
> a writing system that is working and is being used as a part of their
> lives...
> So when people say that ASL is not written, that is not accurate...It
> may be the truth for the majority, but the minority who! DO write have
> a right to be acknowledged too...
> So for me, a language can be a written language, even when only a few
> are reading and writing it...English was only written by the educated
> elite for centuries...Everyday people, in the Middle Ages, did not
> know how to write. But English was a written language in the Middle
> Ages, nonetheless, even though only a small group knew how to read
> and write...
> My thoughts for today...smile...and I would love your feedback!
> Val ;-)
> Valerie Sutton
> Sutton at SignWriting.org
> Tech support by voice or video...
> Make an appointment by email ;-)
> 1. SignWriting
> http://www.SignWriting.org
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> 4. MovementWriting
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